Today we rode a couple of bikes (courtesy of our hotel) into the city, the round trip is 6km. People here drive on the left. Cycling to town was very enjoyable, it gave us a chance to see everyday life. Passing by the market you could see all he traders with their home grown produce in front of them, a long basket of chickens literally overflowing from the basket, yet they put more in. Children and monks going to school. It also gave us a chance to actually see litter. We rode over a small bridge and the litter was thrown over the bridge. We started from the hotel and headed east onto Lao-Thai Friendship Road then headed north on Phothisarath Road which turned into Chao Fa Ngum Road that turned into Sisavangvong Road and finally turning into Sakkarine Road.
People here are curious as I do not think they have seen many people with turbans if any at all. They will look for literally two seconds before getting on with their everyday lives. People here unlike most other people elsewhere in the world do not involve themselves with other peoples business. It does not matter to them how people look. As long as people are friendly to them that is all they ask. They say ‘sabaidee’ (hello) to you with a smile without any ulterior motive!
Whilst on Sisavangvong Road we enquired at various tour companies for a boat trip to the caves, prices varied from 50,000 kip to 60,000 kip….I know only 10,000 kip which is about 80pence but I am a Scrooge!
We then headed onto Souvannabanlang Road, parallel to the Mekong River.
On the side of the road we could hear men laughing and what sounded like jesting at each other. We stopped to see what was happening and they were playing French boules. The game looked like fun, just wish we knew what the guys were saying. The atmosphere was amazing and very jolly.
We walked up some stairs to
Wat Xieng Thong
An amazing temple. Wat Xieng Thong (or Temple of the Golden City) is a Buddhist temple (wat), located on the northern tip of the peninsula of Luang Phrabang, Laos. Wat Xieng Thong is one of the most important of Lao monasteries and remains a significant monument to the spirit of religion, royalty and traditional art. There are over twenty structures on the grounds including a sim, shrines, pavilions and residences, in addition to its gardens of various flowers, ornamental shrubs and trees.
Back down by the main road there are a number of steps leading down to the Mekong River. We walked down to see this amazing river. The Mekong is a river in Southeast Asia. It is the world’s 12th-longest river and the 7th-longest in Asia. Its estimated length is 4,350 km (2,703 mi), and it drains an area of 795,000 km2 (307,000 sq mi), discharging 475 km3 (114 cu mi) of water annually.
From the Tibetan Plateau this river runs through China’s Yunnan province, Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. In 1995, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam established the Mekong River Commission to assist in the management and coordinated use of the Mekong’s resources. In 1996 China and Burma (Myanmar) became “dialogue partners” of the MRC and the six countries now work together within a cooperative framework.
The extreme seasonal variations in flow and the presence of rapids and waterfalls in this river have made navigation difficult. The river is a major trading route linking China’s southwestern province of Yunnan to Laos, Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand to the south, an important trade route between western China and Southeast Asia.
I am in need of a laundry, yes it is time for washing again, in an alleyway I saw a laundry service which just looked cleaner and more professional then the others, there charges are 10,000 kip for a kilo….will pop back later as I do not have my the laundry with me…….well what do you expect, me cycling around Luang Prabang with my dirty clothes?!?!
We then cycled towards Kingkitsarath Road, which runs parallel to Khan River. Here we stopped at
The Varanda by Villa Nagara
For a can of sprite…..we were overdue a trip to the ATM so only had 20,000 kip. The can cost 10,000 kip, about 70p.
Afterwards we cycled back to the hotel so we could pick up the clothes for the laundry.
Back at the hotel we spent a few minutes where I devoured some ritz crackers…..damn they are good!
We then got a tuk tuk back to town, it dropped us off near Wat Xieng Thong, we walked through the temple to the other side which is closer to the laundry. After dropping off the clothes we walked towards the night market. Yesterday I was fortunate to hear the monks chanting and I wanted Sangeet to experience this. So we walked to the temple and caught the last few minutes of the chant. The monks came out all looked at us and one said “Indian?”, I said Sikh. He was intrigued and sat next to me. His name is Kum Chi….not sure on the spelling. We chatted for a while asking each other questions…us about him being a monk and he asked us about Sikhi, England and football! He could tell I do not like football. He said he loves the sport and supports Arsenal. After about an hour of chatting we said our byes and carried on walking towards the night market. Sangeet browsed the stalls whilst I went to the ATM. We met back at the stalls and decided to go to the vegetarian stall for dinner. I really enjoyed.
Before entering the shops, people leave their shoes outside
Chatting with the monks
Afterwards we took a tuk tuk to the hotel, the driver asked for 40,000 kip I said for the last two days I have been paying 20,000 kip. After playfully trying to negotiate more knowing it was not going to work, he agreed 20,000 with a smile.
Later I decided to go for a walk. It was dark but it still felt safe. I walked passed shops shutting up, families gathered around the television, other families around a big dinner table just talking, stalls holders cleaning up their area. Also a sports club where people were playing badminton and pool. I wonder if Singapore was like this 30 years ago.