When Alex and I were planning about the renew Thai Visa trip to Laos, it was too many things going on in my mind and I had done something that making this trip mess.
For some reasons, I bought a round trip air ticked Bangkok – Vientiane in advance. Hoping that we won’t loos money from buying ticket in the last moment like many flights before. But then, this time I called it’s a mistake.
Firstly, when we were planning a trip – we didn’t want to stay too long in Laos due to our wish to get some job done before new year. We thought, a week would be enough for this trip.
Secondly, we were planning that we will go to Luang Prabang in Northern Laos after Vientiane if the visa will be finished properly. So, in case of something go wrong, we will have to remain in Vientiane and will not go to Luang Prabang.
However, the visa was approved next day after applying so we had 3 days free in Laos which we couldn’t stand killing it in Vientiane anymore, so as we wished, we went up to Luang Prabang.
We took an overnight sleeper bus to Luang Prabang. The bus left the station at 8.00 pm and arrived at 8.00 am, wasn’t like the promising that it will be arrived at 4.00 am but we didn’t mind. Sleeping in the bus’s bed might be better than tugging our sleepwalking body in very early morning.
It’s a 12-hour bus ride with a real crazy mountain road one. So many curves, so cold that we didn’t expect that it would be so cold and the thin blanket didn’t help that much. The return ride even worse, the road seemed like more curves for some crazy reason or just because the bus moving crazier. I felt really terrible after trying to get to the toilet once and come back to my seat almost blackout. My back was sweating and I felt so whirly trying to not vomit and make everything worse.
Once I thought, why wouldn’t I buy the air tickets back from Luang Prabang to Bangkok instead of returning to Vientiane again?
That wasn’t enough! Our good time in Luang Prabang made us wonder if we could stay longer. We had just 2 days 1 night there. I really think we should have at least another night there instead of running around catching the buses here and there.
So, you get what happened, right?
Lesson Learned :D
Arriving in Luang Prabang
At 8.00 am we arrived in Luang Prabang. We took a share Tuk Tuk to our hotel, Peninsula Villas, which is located at the end of town on Sakkaline Road. We love this area, it’s quiet within walking distance to everything.
After checked-in and then a hot shower, we rented out a motorbike from the hotel and heading straight to the breakfast at Le Banneton on the same street. I had a cup of Matcha Latte, Alex had a hot cappuccino with croissants which was a perfect breakfast for us that day. Yeah, we love croissants. I’d say, Le Banneton cafe serves pretty good croissant and pastries. A café is good for people watching and just letting time pass by. But not now, we were too excited to go to Kuang Si waterfall. So after finished breakfast, we couldn’t wait but heading toward to the falls.
Tat Kuang Si or Kuang Si waterfall
We rode a motorbike through a rural road. It’s 30 km from Luang Prabang to the south. The traffic was mostly free. The path was paved but there are many caveats. Anyone consider this way; it will be fun but please be careful.
After arriving and paying our entrance fee, the bear sanctuary was the first thing we saw and stopped by on the way to the falls. It’s a new home for Asiatic black bears rescued from bile farms and they are now allowed to roam and enjoy life outside a cage. They were so cute and funny.
We continued walking toward the waterfall. I’d say, Kuang Si waterfall is one of the most impressive waterfalls I’ve ever been to. A large cascade tumbles from the jungle feeding a series of falls and turquoise pools. It’s a perfect place to jump in after a short hike to the top of the falls. Sorry, there weren’t any breathtaking views up there but we just felt so good to finally got some actions again after, as I mentioned in the earlier post, I had a problem with my feet recently (Plantar Fasciitis).
But to get to swim in this crystal clear water, fortunately, we couldn’t go together in the same time, as the staff at the hotel had warned us to take care of our stuffs better. There were so many people out there after we returned down from the hike. But we couldn’t skip doing this. That water looked too attractive. So, Alex needed to watch out for our belonging while I was happily dipping down in the blue hole and waiting for his turn when I’m done. That’s suck, right?! Not really!
We spent our time at the falls until late afternoon. Fun time and never be hungry? Haha. We pigged out on grilled chicken, larb chicken, papaya salad and sticky rice at the small Lao restaurant outside the waterfall before heading back to Luang Prabang.
Slow Life in Luang Prabang
The day was long and the sunset watching was necessity. After returned back from Kuang Si Waterfall and after a hot shower, I asked Alex if he would love to go for a sunset watching at Mount Phousi which isn’t far from our hotel, just 1 km away and a few hundred-meter walk. He said “why not” so we went there on time.
The panoramas from the top of Mount Phousi overlooking Luang Prabang Town at golden time was beautiful and charming. But due to the crowd which was madly crowded there, we left the place after 5 minutes. I could say it wasn’t a good idea to go there at sunset but couldn’t say that it wasn’t worth it.
The following day, after the lovely breakfast – hot tea, boiled eggs, croissants and fruits on our laid back balcony, we gave back the motorbike as we rented only for a day because we’re leaving to Vientiane in the evening (We wish we stayed longer in Luang Prabang…).
Anyway, we had the entire day to slow things down. We went for a walk in the morning before checking out from the hotel. We walked to Wat Xiengthong which is just 3 minute-walk from our hotel. Wat Xiengthong or Monastery of the Golden City was built in 1559-1560 in the classic Luang Prabang style, and is the most historically significant and impressive of Luang Prabang’s temples. It’s beautiful and fascinating one.
After Wat Xiengthong, we went down to the Mekong River. Spent a while watching Laos long boat, it’s remarkably long but narrow.
We continued wandering through small alley, we passed by some tradition Lao house and talking to some locals. And then visiting the Royal Palace which was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. And also stopped by the Royal cars museum which was very impressive.
We returned to the hotel and checking out on time. We then again started to wander. We went for Lao food at Bamboo Tree Lao Cooking School and Restaurant and the food was amazingly delicious.
Everything was slowing down right there, after lunch, we went to sit and chitchat beside Nam Khan River with a beautiful vista to let the food digesting before relaxing with the 2 hours Lao massage.
That was awesome!
We understood now what “slow life” means…. Haha
That wasn’t the end of our slow life in Luang Prabang. After an incredible 2 hours Lao massage, we went for a cup of Matcha Latte and cappuccino, and people watching at Le Banneton. Remember how we were in rush yesterday…
We wish we stayed another night in Luang Prabang instead of catching the bus back to Vientiane!
- Sleeper Bus Vientiane – Luang Prabang: 150,000 kib / one way / person ($18 USD)
- Share Tuk Tuk from Luang Prabang bus station to town: 20,000 kib / person ($2.5 USD)
- Renting Motorbike: 120,000 kib / day ($15 USD)
- Kuang Si Waterfall entrance fee: 20,000 kib / person ($2.5 USD)
- Mount Phousi entrance fee: 20,000 kib / person ($2.5 USD)
- Wat Xiengthong entrance fee: 20,000 kib / person ($2.5 USD)
- Lao Massage for 2 hours: 110,000 kib / person ($13 USD)