End of the Ride: Luang Prabang

Back on to highway 1C and then 13 South towards our final stop: Luang Prabang – a lovely little town in the hills with temples, restaurants and bars, crescented by the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers.

Bike hand-over works like a charm with the guy from Jule Classic. It’s hard to part with the machine though after ten days of intimate riding together. 🙁

As in Vang Vieng there are plenty of outdoor activities on offer. As for night life though, by about 23:30 everything is shut aside from some club down by the stadium and The Bowling Alley (no comment).

Beautiful though it is, we immediately notice a change in attitude of the local pople, sadly not positive. The reason for this seems plain: LP has been more and more overrun by tourists in recent years, and especially since attaining world heritage status it’s become a popular destination. Where there is money there are wealth and prosperity, but also greed and all the other associated side effects; where there are tourists there is ignorance and unacceptable behaviour.

It’s easy to have a nice time here and there are plenty interesting things to see. Sadly many rather spoiled by a abundance of tourists not behaving in a dignified manner. It is really a shame.

One evening we go to the temple up on the tall hill in the middle of town at sunset. There’s a boat load of tourists there, chatting, laughing, snapping away. What they don’t seem to take notice of is that there are also a number of worshipers and a monk kneeling there, hands pressed together in evening prayer, the monk chanting away in Buddhist ritual. On they go – the tourists – chatting, laughing, shouting, beeping and clicking with their darned cameras. The poor worshipers trying to contain their frustration at the ruckus and sheer disrespect around them. Some goofhead even goes so far as to start photographing them in prayer. One of the ladies in the worshiping group is clearly annoyed and waves at her to stop but on she goes clickitty-beep…. makes you want to shove their cameras down their throats.


There’s a beautiful alms procession early every morning where the monks walk through town and the people give them their food for the day. It’s a unique event but sadly I find even this is somewhat spoiled by hoards of tourists arriving on golf carts and going bleebleep-click, bleebleep-click…. did I mention there’s a MUTE function?

Anyway the main street market in LP is great. There’s good food to be found at the food market. This dude’s papaya salad is the best we’ve tasted so far (of course without the fish sauce).

And this lady makes the best value for money chicken-mayo baguette ever! Delicious!

But we avoided the all you can eat buffets as they’re apparently quite diluted in taste. You can’t go wrong with the fish, chicken and pork ribs straight from the BBQ though.

We spend some time floating around various monasteries and sitting in the peaceful shade of the trees in the courtyards.

On one occasion we meet some monks and we spend the afternoon helping him with his English studies. Also he tells us some interesting information about the Buddhist faith and his duties as a monk.

There is a huge waterfall and bear park a few kilometres out of town which you can easily reach by tuk tuk or scooter and it’s breathtaking. Delicate rock pools cascade through the jungle, filled with sky-blue water which you can swim in. How delightful!

You can also walk up the steep dirt paths and follow the great waterfall to its origin. You’re surrounded by jungle and ancient trees that must be hundreds of years old, and between the trees there are pools of water slowly flowing toward the steep edge of the waterfall.

Luang Prabang is incidentally also the venue for our tree latest tree planting expedition (check out Planting Around the World – Mission 4 & 5).

– For crying out loud, behave yourself. This is not Disney land, people LIVE here.
– Visit the big waterfall near LP and take your cozzie.
– Visit the stupa on top of the hill in LP for sunset but shut up, mute your camera and take photos of the sunset, not the worshippers.
– If you get up to watch the alms procession but try to keep a low profile. Too many tourists gloating and bleeping make it hard to recognize anything sacred about the affair.
– Spend some time with the monks and help them with their English studies, they’ll really appreciate it. If you have old school books they are in need of these too.


SEE PHOTOS OF “Kouangsi Waterfall near Luang Prabang, Lao …”

SEE PHOTOS OF “Tree Planting, Luang Prabang…”