Luang Prabang, City of the Golden Buddha

Buddha smiled and rested for a day in Luang Prabang. He prophesised it would become a rich and powerful city.

Luang Prabang

This place is my absolute favourite in the whole of Asia. JP thought it was too trendy because it has lots of handicraft shops and cookery schools. Actually its just heaven on the Mekong. The sunsets are spectacular although I never got a photo to do it justice. The food is fabulous and its relaxing and exciting at the same time. We stayed in a guest house next to the river with our meals taken outside watching riverside life.

City of the Golden Buddha

Once the capital of Lan Xang and a Buddhist centre it remained an important place for royalty until the communists dissolved the monarchy of Laos in 1975. There are Wats of different sizes and monks wandering the streets everywhere you go so you don’t have to go anywhere special, you just have to be there.

Every morning at sunrise the local monks walk the streets collecting rice and fruit for the day. You must kneel to present your offering.

Mount Phousi

Three hundred steps to the top with lots of stops on the way. A buddha for each day of the week and  Wat That Chomsi at the top. This is a lovely if steep climb with a fabulous view at the top.

Pak Ou Caves

Although this is a tourist attraction it is not really very touristy. There are four thousand buddha statues in two caves at the confluence of the Mekong and Ou rivers. They have been left over the years by local worshipers. Different sizes, and made of different things, many of them are damaged, missing arms or feet. This is a short boat trip from Luang Prabang. From the boat  you enter Tham Ting, the lower cave, you can see well in here. You climb steps up to Tham Theung, the upper cave which is very dark. Once the caves were visited every year by the king and regularly cleaned but now the back statues at least are pretty grimy.

Kuang Si Waterfalls

The tour guides always want you to visit these waterfalls. They are pretty but not wildly exciting. There is a trail up to them and bridges and walkways. You can swim if you want to except in the sacred pool.

The local villages were more fun. We visited a couple to see handicrafts and paper making. But mostly this place is somewhere to just sit outside and watch  the world go by.