Our quick stopover in Laos…
With the clock seeming to tick faster than ever and less than three months before we get home, we knew that any time spent in Laos would have to be restricted. We couldn’t bring ourselves to just skipping a country though, so made the most of the time we had instead.
Day 290 – Wednesday 8th March 2017
Being our first day in Laos we thought we’d make it a DIY day and take things as they come, so took advantage of the free breakfast at our hostel and asked a few other travellers for tips, then walked to Haw Pha Bang, a Buddhist temple on the grounds of the Royal Palace, which was built back in 1904 during the French colonial era:
From there we walked across the road to Mount Phousi, the sacred mountain of Luang Prabang. It was a 300 step climb to the top (where I’m sure views of the Mekong River would have been better on a nicer day) and then about the same one the other side where we found a grotto of Buddha statues:
We had to return to our hostel for a break after that having used up every ounce of energy that we had in us, but made time in the evening to visit the night market to grab something to eat:
I know that when we stayed in Penang I was raving about how incredible the street food was, but in comparison, that didn’t even come close. We had an all you can eat buffet which cost just 15,000₭ (that’s less than £1.50) and it was incredible!
Our last stop of the day was at a tourist center where we booked an excursion for tomorrow before getting an early night. You see, Luang Prabang isn’t massive, but certain places can only be reached by particular modes of transport, so we had no choice really!
Day 291 – Thursday 9th March 2017
A tuk tuk picked us up at 07:00 this morning and took us straight to the Mekong River (which actually runs through six different countries!) where we were ushered along a particularly questionable pier on to a long boat:
We had a quick stop after an hour or so at a local village called Ban Xang Hay, then carried on to Pak Ou Caves where we found thousands of Buddha statues, some of which are said to be more than 300 years old:
The only other way that we could’ve reached the caves was by tuk tuk, but given that the journey along the Mekong River was equally as impressive as the Pak Ou Caves themselves, I’d say that we definitely made the right decision.
We swapped the long boat for a minivan after lunch and made our way to Kuang Si Waterfall, which was a slight risk given that it’s currently dry season, but one that definitely paid off! The minivan dropped us off a short walk away from the falls, and on our way we visited Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre, a sanctuary for black bears who have been rescued from poachers who hunt them for bile:
For me, a guy who absolutely loves bears of any shape, size or species, it was a truly magical place to visit, but the fun didn’t stop there! We carried on to Kuang Si Waterfall, which was picturesque on each and every level (even those that you could jump into):
We had a nice swim and even got our feet nibbled on by god knows what while we were in the water, which I probably would’ve been alright with had we not already spotted some giant mutant-looking spiders amongst the trees around us:
It wasn’t until nearly 19:00 that we returned to our hostel, by which point we were more than ready to get into bed. We didn’t go to sleep straight away, but had no intention of going out again, so watched a movie and made plans for the tomorrow when we’re returning to Bangkok and moving on from there. Although it’s a shame that we don’t have the time to stay in Laos for any longer, both of us were left more than happy with how we’d spent the little time that we had. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever used so many photographs in a single post, so surely that goes to show for something?