Nick Curry

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Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Luang Prabang

I arrived in Luang Prabang yesterday, taking the plane from Chiang Mai. I therefore skipped the Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai - Huay Xai (Laos) - Luang Prabang trip most backpackers do, the last part of which is normally travelled by boat. So, Luang Prabang is the first I see of Laos, and I must admit I am a little disappointed - the scenery around Luang Prabang is amazing, with the Mekong rever running by it and the lush green karst mountains surrounding it, and the city itself is a collection of mostly tradition wooden housing, but most of these have been converted to guesthouses. The town is almost entirely geared towards the tourist trade, the night market contains nothing but tourist fare (no food or other catering to locals, except a couple of stands selling Thai CDs). There are a lot of theravada monks in orange robes running around, which makes for great photos, but it’s hard to get a feel for a place which seems like it only exists for tourists.

So, the main thing to do here is see the sights (the beautiful Wat Xieng Thong and the surprisingly understated Royal Palace), eat baguettes and coffee, and shop - there is not much else to do (although it might be possible to illegally rent a moped and explore surrounding villages, will have to check that out). Might as well take advantage of what there is though- I’m planning to leave on Friday, making it three days here, which sounds like just about as much baguettes and coffee as I can eat…

posted by Nick at 11:41 am  

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