It was another long and painful journey South toward Luang Prabang as we winded our way up and down the bumpy mountain roads, that’s when we weren’t waiting for them to be built! The local bus we opted for wasn’t the comfiest choice as we had the tough decision of having the windows open for some air but getting tonnes of dust blown in off the road or having the windows shut and not being able to breath for the heat. Decisions decisions. After 10 hours on the road we arrived at our destination and were instantly greeted by the bustling night market, a place where myself, Iida and Eileen were keen to spend a bit of time! However it was late and our journey had been a long one so we opted for bed on this occasion.
The next day the five of us were keen for a day of relaxation so time was spent wandering around the quaint town and then playing some intense games of ‘Shanghai’ at a cafe overlooking the Mekong. Day well spent (as I won the card game- yippee!) Dotted around Luang Prabang are many massage parlours which me, Iida and Eileen went to try out that evening whilst Chris and Joona drank beers and what not. I wouldn’t recommend a Lao massage to anybody anytime soon, think thumbs being planted into your muscles whilst the masseur is on the phone. It was an hour of pain. Luckily the night market was all set up for some retail therapy! Chris and Joona even joined in and purchased a couple of bottles of Lao Lao, one bottle complete with scorpion inside. We found a reggae bar to end our evening although we later found out that everyone in Laos has a 12pm curfew so our arrival time of 11.30pm wasn’t the most ideal. Our walk back to our hotel was filled with Tuk Tuks stopping every now and again and annoying Brits shouting at us asking if we wanted to go bowling as apparently this is the only place open past midnight in the area. Their shouts of “you can’t go to Luang Prabang and not go bowling” and “don’t be boring” were reason enough for us to not go bowling and be boring. Such a bunch of killjoys!
Day two was spent at Kuangsi Falls which is the most impressive waterfall we’ve been to so far. Imagine rice paddies of crystal blue water flowing into each other, surrounded by trees and rocks leading to a dramatic 100meter drop. It was a beautiful place and such a nice way to spend the day. At the entrance to the waterfall was a bear sanctuary which was as equally amazing. Bears that had been captured and tortured by poachers who would use their bile for Chinese medicines had been rescued and put into the bear sanctuary as they are not fit for the wild anymore. They were such amazing animals to watch, to see them playing and bathing and eating. It was surreal to be so close to them.
After securing our bus tickets on the final day we decided to have another day of relaxation as we knew we had another dreaded bus journey the following day. We ended the day with a stroll up to the temple on the hill that sits in the middle of town to watch the sunset and a final stroll through the night market making our last purchases.
Next stop Vang Vieng!