Friday, September 12, 2014

16days in Luang Prabang

It has been 10days in Laos and I have not been so happy with the balance of what I am seeing and what I have been spending.

Honestly, I was not so impressed with Luang Prabang on my landing; I've seen the colonial setup, but couldn't quite see as yet what was in it and why people even bother.

I have actually booked through Spicy Laos Backpacker, but is nowhere to be found. My booking and Passbook application on my iphone pointed me to Luang Prabang backpacker which, upon my arrival, said it is not the same. I had no choice but to give it up, and look elsewhere. I found Merry II Guesthouse, and got a good price (same as what i booked with Spicy Laos), so settled with it.

Meantime, at night, i walked towards the night market, and discovered the 10,000 LAK ($1.20) buffet; On my way back to my guesthouse, I spotted a sign pointing to Spicy Laos.

At that time, I was not really thinking of staying beyond 3 more days, but thought about checking out my booked accomodation anyway, just to see what it's like. 

Upon my arrival, I asked if there's a dorm available and was told it's 25,000/day (half of what is in the booking). Apparently, just like the case in Easy Go Backpackers in Vang Vieng, during low season, they seem to lower their regular price.

I picked up my bag from Merry II and moved to Spicy Laos.

I roamed around town, and was happy to know that most of the destinations were just a walk away. Majority were temples which don't really strike as much appeal to me, so decided to skip paying entrance just to see what's inside.

Meantime, I visited the Kuang Si waterfall without a concrete plan, but was amazed at the sight on my arrival. It seems it's a lot better during rainy season when there's plenty of current.

On another day, I was allowed to do some painting for the guesthouse. I saw the owner doing some painting work, and asked if there's anything else; The next day, he asked me if i'd like to do some painting, which i firmly affirmed.

I bet he was a little satisfied with the work, and so, at that same night, he asked if I would be interested in visiting some remote village, which I did not refuse of course.

The next day, he walked in to my bed to wake me up. 7am it is, and I was told we're moving at 8. It was way too early to get some food somewhere. 

Much to my delight, we are actually attending a Rasi Ceremony which he is a sponsor. I've not had any meal, and we drank as early as 9am. For such, I was drunk by noontime. 

The following day, I woke up with one of the walls suddenly painted white. He asked if i'd like to paint again, and said yes. It was all I did the rest of the day.

For the other day, we did some volunteer work at the Big Brother Mouse; It is basically a center where keen students can have a conversation with interested english speaking volunteers so they can practice their vocabulary and pronunciation. I did it for 2 more days after.

In that same evening, there was this woman in the food market who'm i've been wanting to help for the past nights that I have been eating at the buffet food market. 

Of all the buffet stalls in the market, she does not have any assistant, have less selection, is at the end, thus last to be checked out, and so felt I can probably try to do something at least for a night.

I asked these travellers I am with if they'd be interested, and were happy to go with me. We made such a scene in the night market with a co-traveller's accordion, and glad that for a night, we pushed her average income.

One day, we also thought about doing barbeque or picnic somewhere. I told the owner of the guesthouse about the plan, and  agreed to get us to some place. He owned some land outside the town, and this is where we went with the guesthouse service truck.

For the coming days, it was just lounging around guesthouse. My day was just basically have lunch from food bought from the nearby stalls, borrow the guesthouse's laptop and sit at it the whole day, and at night, take the night market buffet, and chill a bit at Utopia perhaps.

The next thing I know, everyone I know in the guesthouse has left, and I am approaching my visa's deadline and have to move.

One thing that made me stay so long in Luang prabang is probably the cost of staying; Accomodation and Food, which is the basic, can fit a $6 a day budget.

There is not much around Luang Prabang, but the fact that i can stay and eat cheap, have places to chill if i'd like too, and around cool people, thus it was worthwhile spending more time than necessary. Indeed, with 15 days in Luang Prabang, I was hit by the "one more day" bug.

This post is part of the #limbonisASIA tripSee link for more stories, detailed expenses and itinerary

For more detailed info about Laos, visit
Laos Guide 999 : or Laos Tourism for information about public transpo, destinations, etc

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