So, after shuffling off the torture machine (i.e. the slow boat) we stepped out into....France?
Seriously, the architecture is straight out of Europe. Laos was an old French colony many years ago, and it looks like they did a great job of building the cities and leaving.
Small coffee shops, fancy bars, it's home away from home. As always we were dashing so would only have the evening of our arrival, and up until 7pm the next day before we had to leave again. Time was running short.
As always, there was the Asian night market, and we topped this off with amusing ourselves walking around amongst all the package-tourists. This was most definitely not a backpacker-only joint :) With direct flights from the Laos capital, Vientianne, it looked like this World-heritage-listed site was firmly on the map again for tourism.
In between all this, and from sitting down for three days on buses and boats, I was getting itchy feet so had a moment of silliness and went for a run the next morning at 6am. We don't know how lucky we have it back home, as, when I ran by the local university, locals were all out washing their clothing in the river.....
As a side note, the forest fire pollution is still here, and with poor light and sore chests, we made the decision to head straight south to escape the smog.
For anyone going to Laos, make sure to check out The Gibbon Project. It's an ecovillage that has been built IN the trees of a national Park in northern Laos. They've built all the huts into the trees about 20metres off the ground and you get around by sliding along zip lines between the trees. Unfortunately, you have to book at least 2/3 weeks in advance due to it's popularity, and it's about $150 for a week (expensive for here), but it's meant to be fantastic. definitely on the list for next time I'm here.
What I spend my day doing in Luang Prabang? drinking coffee and eating croissants. Awesome :)
The view over the Mekong River, Luangang Prabang