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Luang Prabang

September 8th

After checking into the guesthouse (Pa Phai Guesthouse), I went for a walk down by the Mekong to see the sunset. Although not overly spectacular it was pretty enough

Fishing on the Mekong

 

 

Sun setting on Mekong

 

September 9th

Got up early to visit the Royal Palace since it was due to close at 11:00. The palace was constructed for the Kings of Laos in 1904 but since Laos is a people's republic it is now a museum

Haw Pha Bang Pavilion. Royal Palace, Luang Prabang

 

Royal Palace, Luang Prabang

King Sisavangvong and I

Afterwards we rented songthaews to take us to Kuang Si waterfalls which are famous for their 'cool turquoise green pools'. However due to the large amount of water they were brown and muddy (but still cool). In any case it very refreshing to swim in the pools given the heat and humidity

Kuang Si Waterfalls

Swimming at the falls

Roadside advertising, Lao style

On the way back we got a puncture. On checking the spare the driver found that this too was nearly flat. This of course didn't present any problems we just had to sit on the other side of the truck

Fixing the wheel

 

On our return I climbed Mount Phu Si to look at the view and then see the sunset

View from Mt Phu Si away from town

 

View from Phu Si looking towards Royal Palace (and Mekong)

 

The sun setting as seen from Phu Si

 

September 10th

Went on a little trip to visit the handicraft 'factories' which are in the vicinity of Luang Prabang. Visited the 'blacksmiths' village where there make mean looking knifes, the weaving factory and the paper making factory

Making knifes the old fashioned way

 

Children in the blacksmiths village (shame about the Man Utd shirt)

 

Me with paper

 

After returning to Luang Prabang we went up to visit a tiger and sun bear which had been confiscated from animal traders in the local market and were now being cared for (at least to some extent) by the Laos government. When I was there they were housed in very small cages but efforts were being made to relocate the tiger (Phet) to a much bigger enclosure.

Phet the tiger

 

Sun bear

 

 

And now for some more nice pictures of sunsets over the Mekong

September 11th

There are a large number of Wats and thus monks in Luang Prabang. As is Bhuddist tradition, the monks walk through the streets early in the morning to collect alms (their food for the day). So I got up at 6:00 to watch the procession.

Unlike the monks I then went back to bed. On getting up again later I wandered round some of the Wats and met a nice young monk keen on practicing his English on me

 

Traditional Lao longhouse on stilts. Currently being restored with funds from UNESCO

 

 

Today was the birthday of Jonathon (one of the people that I was travelling with). Therefore we had a little cocktail party before dinner to celebrate

September 12th

Time to leave Luang Prabang. We caught the short flight to Vientiane with Lao Aviation. This airline has got a bad reputation for safety but didn't seem too bad to me. However a few weeks later one of their planes did indeed crash - though not on this route

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