Day 18: Sabaidee, Luang Prabang!
We like this hotel. If only their wifi liked us. Located on the old town's peninsular we overlook the Nam Khan river, a major tributary of the mighty Mekong.
We decided last night we love Luang Prabang and it's a high contender for our favourite place yet... big claim after Pai, I know! It's heavily Western influenced (which makes me feel a slight cheat for loving it so much) as it was once a French colonial town. The beautifully kept villas on the palm lined riverbanks certainly give it a French Riviera feel, but with fusions of Asian influences and local Laotians selling their sticky rice.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995, the town was described as "an outstanding example of the fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with those built by the European colonial authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its unique, remarkably well-preserved townscape illustrates a key stage in the blending of these two distinct cultural traditions."
Gav was a happy chappy today as we found him a laundry service (there's only so many ways you can wear a pair of pants) and we also found him a burger! I had my first salad in over a fortnight. And I had my first lunch without beer in a fortnight. Go me! (the buddha belly is really starting to show).
We spent the day meandering the town — lapping up the lovely atmosphere, crossing bamboo bridges, browsing the boutiques and sipping coffee at the riverside. Ahhh...
- Luang Prabang is bang on. Laid back and charming in all the right ways. I guess because it's so French, all the European tourists don't feel so out of place.
- We paid money to walk across a lovely little bamboo river bridge. We reached the other side and walked miles in baking heat to the other bridge that would carry us back to town. That bridge had part sunk. At that moment, my motivation to carry on also sank.