We left the hustle and bustle of PP and landed in the sleepy little town of Luang Prabang. We were shuttled to our small Colonial hotel in an old fashioned Mercedes. LP is a Unesco World Heritage site so is protected from large multinationals – no Starbucks even! (the coffee here is fabulous!) LP truly has a sense of place, and a unique quaintness that the travel magazines and websites describe.
The chocolate covered Mekong and the vibrant green trees and shrubs make a beautiful back drop for the thousands of saffron clad monks that walk about all day long. Every morning, around 6am, the monks and townsfolk line the streets. The monks receive their alms. This is a religious ceremony for Buddists. (the way I see it, it is much like Halloween…..except it is daily, they are all dressed the same, it isn’t scary, it is quiet, and rice replaces candy!)
Our small resort was wonderful. We ended up spending a lot of time just hanging around there. Although this colonial resort has 20 rooms, we rarely saw anybody else there. Most days only two other rooms were filled. Our suite was the “Henri Mouhot” suite- named after the explorer who discovered Angkor Wat covered in the jungle. (view from our terrace)
During cocktail hour we thought we would play some cards we were in the library and found a strange deck with 72 cards. We spent quite awhile making up what we would consider a full deck. Bevan asked, “what shall we play?” and we both started laughing as the ONLY game we know with one deck is “fish”! So we taught ourselves how to play “Gin”, but accidentally shouted out “Jim”!
We did end up doing a couple of touristy things. We climbed to the top of the tallest mountain in town (about 270 steps) which was very difficult in 35 degree weather and full on humidity.
We went on a private tour to a village that makes whiskey from rice and weaves beautiful scarves. We visited a cave where for hundreds of years Buddhists come to pray, many leaving statues and ornaments of the Buddha in position of the day of the week that they were born. The cave was amazing but the further in we went, the fewer Buddhas and the more bat poop. Another day we hired a tuk tuk to drive us all around the town and the outskirts.
Other than that we rode bikes around town and relaxed!
We asked some of the staff at the resort if they swam in the chocolatey river. They said that is why their skin is so brown! They loved the paleness of our skin. We asked if there were any dangerous fish or snakes in the river. They thought that was quite funny, so we asked about hippos and crocodiles. We stumped them on hippo, until one lady, who maybe weighs 80-85 pounds said that the Loatian word is “water elephant”- which is her nick name! Bevan and I must have looked shocked, because her helpful friends explained that she is called that because she is fat!
Because we had the resort to ourselves I decided to join Bevan in the beautiful pool- edged by Lilly ponds and palm trees. I am pretty certain I heard the staff giggling and taking photos…just as I did when I spotted the hippos in the Zambezi River.
( cannot add more photos as computer keeps crashing!)