Luang Prabang is probably the most laid back and quiet vacation spot I have been to. Everything closes early, and there aren’t too many things to do. But, the reason Luang Prabang is too good to be true is because you are constantly surrounded by nature. This trip was definitely a reminder for me of how wonderful the nature and being out there is. It allowed me to appreciate the untouched and preserved beauty.
First night we arrived, we were supposed to find New Daraphet Hotel but we couldn’t find it anywhere so we decided to just stop at any guest house we see that looks relatively decent. We stopped at Kammany Inn – 100,000Kip ($12.50?) per night – no customers, clean, with AC and free wifi. Not bad. But on the way to the night market, we found New Daraphet and decided to move there the day after. BAD DECISION. Most likely, if you find a travel agency, they’ll try to hook you up with New Daraphet Hotel and the hotels around it. My Lao Home is the company and it owns 4 hotels, a restaurant and a spa. I thought it was very expensive and the service was really bad. (Not to mention, it only ‘looks’ clean because it was the first time I saw cockroaches in a while – and I saw 2! Not fun.) They also tried to over charge us when we had already paid for our hotel saying that because we have three people in the room, we have to pay the price of an extra room. Ridiculous since they already knew from the beginning that there were three people. I had to call the manager and talk to him personally. Unnecessary stress. Their breakfast ‘buffet’ was also non-existant.
The best way to learn about a place or to find out its culture/norm is to walk around. So, just like I always do, I woke up in the morning, got ready, grabbed my camera and decided to walk around aimlessly. No destination, no sense of directions, just a determination to discover new things and places. I walked down the main road, stopped by at the Tourist Information Center. All maps in Luang Prabang were on sale and you couldn’t get a hold of a free map. I looked at one on the wall, got a sense of where I was, what was around, and headed out again — this time with a destination. I was going to find the Mekong River.
On the way, I saw a lot of street vendors selling fresh fruit shakes, and baguette with all sorts of stuffings – from Nutella to chicken salad. I asked for a mixed fruit shake which was basically mixed fruits with milk, sugar and ice. It was only 5000Kip and also pretty good.
There were a lot of tourists in Luang Prabang but not as many as I thought there would be. Every thing closes really early so nothing too crazy. The food was superb. Not the cheapest but still very cheap. It was definitely worth the 10 hour trip but you have to look at the drive as part of the trip too. There aren’t too many things to see in Luang Prabang itself but the scenery on the way is gorgeous so appreciate every moment of it!
Look out for my next post where I’ll be going into detail on the places we went to in