Luang Prabang, Laos
17 to 20 Dec 2016
17 December 2016
Check-in and flight was uneventful. We stopped over Vivienne to re-fuel for about 20minutes. We arrived at Luang Prabang on time, 5pm. I was excited to get out of the airport because I wanted to attend the anticipated mass at 6:30pm.
But, oh, where’s my luggage? Unfortunately, it decided to stay a little bit more at Changi Airport. I had to go to Silkair office, waited for the stuff to get processed and out by pass 6pm. By then, I’ve already accepted the fact that I wouldn’t be able to attend the mass.
I bought the shared taxi ticket from the airport for 50,000 Riel. We waited a little while for other passengers to arrive but none seemed to get in and share the taxi with me, hence, at about 7pm, we drove to my accommodation, Soutikone 2 Guesthouse.
It was a nice room, not too close to the center, hence quieter. I like it that way. I spent my first night shopping for clothes and toiletries. I was kind of sad that night. I had a thought that, travel when one is brokenhearted is a good idea, but being in that position, that night, it felt like a bad idea.
Last night went relatively ok. I had those moments but I slept through it and woke up fresh. I must have my coffee, hence, I went out and walked towards the Mekong River and looked for a breakfast place. I saw this line of crepe and sandwich stalls. They looked cheap enough at 10 to 20,000Kip. I ate there.
After walking around, I went up the Phou Si Hill for a view of the river and city from a top. It’s a relatively easy hike up with concrete staircase. One can go up from the side of the National Museum and come down the other way, via a small temple, hidden in a small alley. Hiking up and down, there were small temples and Buddha statues on the trail which I though were interesting.
I then, went into the museum which was opened again after lunch. The good thing about their museum was that, they wouldn’t allow bags and cameras inside but, they would provide free lockers for people to use.
After about an hour inside, I decided I should try watching the sunset along Mekong River on a boat. I asked around, but it’s too pricey for one person. It is one of the disadvantages of traveling solo. I even found the local boat terminal but that would only make me cross the river to the other side of the island, no sunsets.
I gave up bargaining and decided just to find a place to watch my sunset. After walking endlessly, I serendipitously found a nice river bank by Mekong River. There was a bamboo bridge that one can pay to cross, which I didn’t do anymore. I settled along the riverbank and watched the show of the sun setting. Air was fresh, I was alone in this natural cinema. I loved it!
While going up Phou Si hill in the morning, I saw this Lao story-telling event being advertised. I wanted to listen to stories, hence, I looked for the place. Show would start at 6:30pm and I was there rather early. They asked me to walk around first and come back closer to the time because show would only proceed if there’d be minimum of 5 people in the audience.
I again, just walked around by the river and came back closer to the show time. By then, there were more people interested in watching. For 50k Kips, I listened to the origin of a Lao musical instrument called Khene, Origin of Phou Si Hill (Which was from Sita’s name. Story included my favorite character Hanuman), and the origin of the Rivers (I forgot the names but I somehow didn’t like the story because it involved taking eyes and hearts of people; and re-organising people’s dead bodies based on gender..haha) I was tired. I was starting to feel this while listening to the third story. I greatly apologise if I couldn’t really get hold of the whole concept. I just remembered parts of it.
After the story-telling, I walked to the Night market. I just bought some finger food for dinner and decided to head back home. I was excited because I was expecting to be reunited with my luggage by that day.I went home, and realised that the luggage was still not there.
I tried searching for Silk Air’s number in Luang Prabang, but even the website wasn’t working. I again, had to go out and buy some stuff ,to again, use that night!
19 December 2016
I had to take the matters into my own hands. I decided that I had to go directly to the Silk Air office before I do anything that day. I went for breakfast and looked for a tuktuk to bring me to the airport, to Pak Ou Cave and back to the center. For 180K kips, I was able to get one.
At the airport, I saw my luggage alone in a public area below Silk Air’s office. I went up and spoke to the staff. I didn’t make them deliver my luggage anymore. I took it with me going to the cave.
The road going to Pak Ou Cave was unpaved and rough. I wasn’t expecting that. We reached the area and I had to buy ticket for a 3-5minute boat ride to the 2-leveled religious caves. The first level was crowded with tourists during the time of my visit. The second one was completely dark, hence, I needed a torch light to see the inside of the cave. I liked the feeling of being alone in the dark, exploring all these sites. Then suddenly, I remembered that snakes love to stay in caves, I literally rushed out of it.
We headed back to the center. I knew that I had to see Kuang Si waterfalls as well. I saw in photos and I thought it was so beautiful. The tuktuk driver said that if he’s able to find a group, I could join in for 50k kips. So, I waited with him by the center while I was having a milk shake. Yey, luckily, we were able to find 3 more people.
It was about an hour away from the center. Below the waterfalls, there was a bear sanctuary. I enjoyed watching them being fed. As I head up, I could hear the sound of the water. I was excited.
There were 3 tiers and every level just kept on getting better and better. First, people could swim, level 2 and 3, weren’t open for public to swim. 2 and 3 were beautiful. Kuang Si falls was one of the prettiest waterfalls I’ve ever seen my whole life. Well, I haven’t seen a lot.
I went up a little bit more, hoping to get a little bit more of work out on the trails in slippers. I thought, maybe there’s a loop somewhere. Unfortunately, I walked for about half an hour, but there was none. So, I decided just to head back using the same route. We had to meet below and head back to the center at 5:30pm.
Walked around one more time by Mekong River. I finally had a taste of a Lao Dish, fish with sticky rice. Wandered around the Night Market, had a Lao Full Body massage for 40k kips, which felt like combination of pressure point and Thai massage, then, headed home. The next day would be my flight to Siem Reap. I had to rest early.
20 December 2016
I didn’t go anywhere anymore. I asked the tuktuk driver who drove me through everywhere the day before to take me to the airport for 30k kips. He agreed. I was at the airport at 9am.