So after 3 weeks of travelling we are reaching the end of our journey as we have now arrived in Luang Prabang in Laos. Our journey from Cambodia was a little delayed but we made up the time with a speedy passage through the visa process in Laos.
As it was around 2000 by the time we got settled in our room, we decided to have dinner in the hotel before starting our sightseeing the next morning.
Our first stop was Wat Xieng Thong which means “Temple of the Golden City” and which is a Buddhist temple located on the northern tip of the peninsula of Luang Prabang. Wat Xieng Thong is one of the most important of the Lao monasteries and remains a significant monument to the spirit of the religion, royalty and traditional art.
Near the eastern gate stands the royal funerary carriage house, which contains (unsurprisingly !) the royal funeral carriage, standing some 12m high. It also contains various urns for the members of the royal family.
After this we visited what used to be the Royal Palace and which is now a museum. Following the overthrow of the Laotian monarchy in 1975, the King, the Queen, the Crown Prince and the King’s brothers were taken to a remote location to a “re-education camp”. The King and Queen died some 4 years later, still in the camp. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures inside so you will just have to use your imagination to picture to Laotian Crown Jewels and the solid gold statue of Buddha !
Our next stop was the Stupa, or place of holy relics, at Wat That Chomsi. Built in 1804 during the reign of King Anourouth it is located at the top of Mount Phousi in the heart of the town and can be reached after climbing 300 very steep steps, where you are afforded a magnificent view of the river (when it is not too hazy!)
Next up was the Wat Wisunalat which is Luang Prabang’s oldest temple. The temple, also known as Wat Visoun and Wat Visounnarat was founded in 1512 and houses an important collection of ancient Buddha images.
And with that we ambled back to the hotel for some well earned refreshment, followed by a trip into town to view the night market. Whilst some of the food on sale looked lovely, I wasn’t at all tempted by the suspicious sausage looking thing !
The next day we took a river boat up the Mekong to visit a small village who make their own whisky ! Our boat, as you can see, was not really an ocean going liner….
Enroute we passed lots of folks who live their lives and make their living on the river
before stopping to visit the Pak Ou caves, where the local people sheltered many statues of Buddha during the various conflicts that used to rage in the area. There are over 5000 statutes split between two caves.
and the view from the top was lovely.
We then carried on up river until we reached our village destination. It was a simple, quiet place with a few kids who were excited to see us, as well as two ladies who were the whisky master brewers !
The whisky is made from first fermenting rice and water, before distilling it down into various strengths. It is a clear liquid sort of like tequila, sort of… !! But it wasn’t too bad and I took some home in a plastic bottle pulled from a rubbish bag !
We then stopped at a local restaurant for a spot of lunch before heading back to the hotel.
This morning was our last before heading out to Bangkok for our flight home. Our last outing was a 0500 start to watch the daily alms giving to the local monks.
and that concluded our little adventure 🙂 We then headed off to Bangkok for our flight back to London !