Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

luang prabang

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:55 PM
The Night Market was fantastic! Laos coffee, lemongrass tea, small purses in multi colored patchwork design that sold for less than 2 dollars, tshirts, trousers, shirts and skirts, every nik nak in shop after shop. shopping heaven! We've stayed at the Legend hotel which was small but the rooms were nice with wood paneling, and there's a garden in front. Really enjoyed this hotel. Best one on the trip.

We all bought tickets to see the laotian traditional dance at the Royal Palace museum. There were 3 types of tickets. We bought the middle tier ones. But after seeing the show, I regretted paying as much as $15. The show was so boring that only after it went on for a little while, half the audience left. The traditional dance was no more than hand movements with fingers and palms curved backwards. But the costumes and headgears were bright and colorful. It was episode VII that we saw, a long running show that retold the stories of the Laos kings. In between the dances, the king and queen and entourage plus the monkey warriors just sat and a singer from the band started signing and absolutely nothing much was happening on the stage. When the monkey dance started, I'd wanted to leave also.

Doing laundry here was cheap. Nai took us to a laundy place 2 blocks from our hotel. My 1kg laundry cost me just $2.

The morning walk took us through a morning market where we observed fried riverweed, local fruit and produce. The Phusi temple on the mountain offered grand views of the town. In the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center we've learned the Mo tribe's courtship ritual included the couple staying 2 nights in the jungle alone. Hmm. In the afternoon we drove to the Kuang Si Waterfalls. The falls were spectacular and the cascading water clear and blue but not very clean. the place was packed with tourists and back packers and people swimming. clara accidently photographed a man sitting on top of the falls stark naked showing off his weenie. There was also a bear refuge which had about 4 or 5 black bears.

Dinner was at an open air restaurant by the river Khan. There were small outdoor fires in the pits, and the ambience was quite nice, like you're eating with campfire. Except I've ordered the wrong dish. The buffalo orlam which was supposed to be a stew, came watery like a broth and the meat was tough and chewy. didnt like it. Made a mental note to not have orlam again.

We woke up before sunrise to go see the monks receiving alms. Some of us bought the sticky rice to offer the monks and sat down along the road with the other locals and waited for the monks. Soon the floating orange garments arrived and one by one we scooped the rice for the monks. I felt sorry for them. they were nothing but a tourist spectacle. they're being photographed, some with flash, some right at their faces. They've learned to ignore the tourists and just went about collecting their breakfast. Not really a scene I've enjoyed. For the rest of the day, I went to the Royal Palace museum (small nothing spectacular and the entrance fee cost too much), visited the Wat xieng thong temple which was extraordinarily gorgeous, with walls of colored glass mosaics, gilded figures,chandeliers and intricate carvings, the most beautiful temple on this trip, and had a drink with M and L in one of the outdoor cafes by the confluence of the Mekong and Khan rivers. Then it's all shopping for the rest of the time. Found a cute silk purse in lime green in a store but the owner wouldnt bargain and only came down 20000 kip in price so I walked. Later Clara went back and bought it for me.

Dinner was at the famous Tamarind by the Khan river. I finally sampled the water buffalo laap, which was minced buffalo meat in a curious sauce. I had it with tripe but no bile. It was tender and heavenly delicious. Not like the buffalo orlam that I had for dinner the night before which was tough and chewy. The orlam was a watery stew, more like a soup than a stew. The laap was ground meat and it was cooked properly at the Tamarind. The restaurant was very tiny and every night fully booked. Best restaurant in town and in Laos. Best meal of the trip, no doubt.

More shopping at the colorful night market and back to comfy hotel for another enjoyable evening and good night rest. Really liked Luang Prabang.

Luang Prabang photos:

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