The second part of our trip to Laos was to the incredibly beautiful Luang Prabang. This tiny town is encircled by mountains and sits on the banks of the Mekong and Nam Khan River. We flew Lao Airlines from Vientiane and had arranged for a driver to take us to our hotel. We stayed at the very elegant Belle Rive Hotel just across from the river. It is an old French colonial building with rooms that are more like small apartments with your own private entrance. Luang Prabang has such a lovely laid back atmosphere. Hardly any cars on the roads, people cycling by and boats meandering along the river makes for a very relaxing time.
The hotel offered a free sunset cruise which we just had time to board. It took us on a leisurely trip along the Mekong. Below is a slide show of some of the shots I took.
We had dinner that night at L’Elephant, a beautiful French restaurant not too far from our hotel.
The next day we were picked up by our driver – a cousin of our driver in Vientiane – at 10 a.m for a river trip to Pak Ou Cave, including lunch on the river. Then onto to Kuang Si Waterfalls and the Bear Park with a short stop to a paper making village. Luang Prabang is very famous for making paper. Some photos below of our day.
Kuang Si Waterfalls
I managed to get some clear shots but there were actually many people swimming in these water falls, although it was extremely slippery.
I just managed to get two shots as the Centre was closing. Very cute baby bears.
For our final day we had our driver just for the morning where we were going to Mount Phou Si, which is a 100 m high hill in the centre of the old town. Today was also the end of the Buddhist Lent and all the young monks were getting ready to sail along the Mekong that evening in the lighted boats.
Our last night in Luang Prabang was spent on the river front at our hotel having dinner and watching the Lighting Festival. “The day is celebrated by illuminated boat processions handmade with bamboo and banana trunks, colourfully decorated with candles and money. Each family has to make one, each person has to throw out one illuminated little boat on the Mekong, wishing good luck for the future and paying respect to the spirit of the waters. There are more than 20000 boats sailing slowly down the river during the night” from the website www.luangprabang-laos.com/Festival-of-lights-209. We didn’t actually see 20,000 boats but saw a few.
This is where I needed a more professional camera to catch the brightly coloured boats.
So that concludes Luang Prabang. The thing I liked best about this wonderful city was the absolute serenity and peacefulness of it all.