D5-6 Wed & Thur 12-13/1/2011 Luang Prabang, Laos
Hostel: Xayana Guest House – US$4.50×2 nights (dorm)=US$9.00
Bus: Vientiane>Luang Prabang-B600+B580=B1,180 (plus a free lunch voucher)
Bangkok>Kuala Lumpur – B450
Food: 81,000kip (B327)
Entrance fee: 50,000kip (B202)
Tuk-tuk: 15,000kip (B60)
Total expenses incurred: B2,629 + US$9.00=Rm303
The arduous bus journey through mountainous roads from Vientiane to Luang Prabang took a full day so by the time I checked into Xayana Guest House (US4.50 dorm), it was late evening. After a warm shower, I had adinner in a local noodle stall and spent sometime at the Handicraft market – all within walking distance from the guest house.
The following day, I spent my time exploring the Luang Prabang town, the former royal capital now a UNESCO site and visited the morning market, the Royal Palace museum, Phu Si, Wat Pao Phon Phao, the Mekong river banks, temples & stupas etc.
Foreign tourists mainly from Western countries were seen in most of the tourist sites in Luang Prabang. I must confess I thoroughly enjoyed my stays in Luang Prabang – no regret coming here!
1) Scenic landscape from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, the moutainous northern Laos – an 11 hr bus ride (380km) through winding hilly terrains; sea of clouds enveloping the mountain range in the early morning
3) Talat Dala, Luang Prabang oldest market – not a bad start for a morning walk to get a feel of the hustle and bustle of the place
4) Handicraft Market – long stretch of stalls selling handicaft items, T-shirts, souvenirs etc
5) Mekong river – for those who are adventurous, you may opt for a Mekong river cruise to nearby villages on the banks of Mekong or limestone caves upstream; enjoy a cup of coffee or local meal at a riverside restaurant
6) French colonial buildings vs locally built houses alongside the Mekong river banks & down town
7) Royal Palace Museum & Haw Prabang – entrance ticket (30,000kips=B120) – shoes off and no photography, built in 1904 during the French colonial era, artifacts, gifts, art , royal portraits, elephant tusk objects etc were on display
9) Wat Pa Phon Phao – a forest meditation wat, impressive architectural design
10) Wat Visounnarath – built in 1513 and rebuilt in 1890’s
11) Wats, temples & stupas in Luang Prabang – a class of it’s own
I spotted this World Peace Gong behind Patuxai (Victory Gate), Vientiane. May peace continues to prevail in this earth. I really enjoyed my stay in Laos – a peaceful country in the making !
Hopefully with the completion of the tran-Asian rail links from China>Laos>Thai, this will bring faster economic progress & developement to Laos & Northern Thailand.
After Laos, my next target is Myanmar, the last of the Asean country I yearn to see.
“The secrets of life: Life is an echo; all comes back, the good, the bad, the false and the true. So give the world the best you have and the best will come back to you”.