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life's adventures This is the story of my wanderings through Asia

Luang Prabang – Ancient capital of Laos

LAOS | Saturday, 30 October 2010 | Views [925]


What a stunning place. Very posh in some respects, thriving on tourism from France, as this place is teeming with French money, buildings, people and history. The streets are few and the layout of the town is very simple along the banks of the Mekong, and a large tributary, the NamKhan.

We spent a quiet evening drinking a few beers at a river side bar with Eric, French guy we met on the boat, and two Ausies who were recovering from Tubing adventures to the south.

 

30th Oct.

 

Epic adventures today, we set out this morning at a modest hour, blue skies above, to find decent coffee and cheap breakfast. After wandering the main drag, we were approached by a local guy organizing a mini van to the nearby waterfalls, highly recommended. We calculated this as the cheapest way to get there (as Im not one to opt for the 29km road on a bicycle).

So with a little time to spare we sat down to some Lao beef noodle soup which was the best Ive had so far, and only about $4nzd, before heading to gather necessities at our guesthouse. Along the way we find Eric; from the boat, and convince him to join us. The ride took around half an hour, and as we started up the hill toward the sound of water, we find a seemingly frozen lake, the colors were incredible, and the water not too cold.

We continued to climb, stopping at each level of pristine lake and falls to snap photos and wonder at the fairyland like area. The clay steps grew steeper and more leaf covered, we trudged on, occasionally wondering where we were headed apart from up. At long last we arrived at a glade of sorts, turned a corner and there in the sunlight, before a small waterfall (not the origin of the larger one we had just been admiring) stood a large grey ox. Eyes staring nervously at us as we again gathered photographic evidence we had been there and seen that, before turning around and heading back to the main (and obvious) path.

Eventually we came across the ridge of the waterfall, wide and about knee deep, we make for the other side, gingerly using the wooden fence craftily and only just itself clinging to the edge of the falls. The colors of the rock, grey blue, and the clear fresh waters rushing over bare feet, gripping for hold in the path across the top.

At the other side we crane our necks, perched from the outstretching arms of trees looking down into the waterfalls valley, we glimpse people swimming in a hidden pool a ways below the top. So on we go,, in search of this magical swimming spot. At the wooden stairs I walked right past the sign saying ‘do not swimming’ in large white on blue. Another tourist told us he saw the others head straight on across, rather than down as the stairs were leading us. Hesitant moments later we were going straight on past that sign, into the waterfall.

Bag and body getting drenched, clinging to the surprisingly not so slippery rocks that maintain a serene color while water hurries over the smooth curved surfaces, we made it through some of the main streams of water. At roughly 300meters above where we started, we spied bags, shoes and other signs of habitants. Over the lip of another rock we hear ‘jump, do a bomb’, and so we did. Into the frigid starry blue water of a hidden, deep and breath taking (literally got winded from that jump) pool.

After spending a while soaking in the surroundings, we made our way back to our soaked bags and back to the stairs. Shivering and elated at our adventure, we walked back to the main viewing area, necks bent looking up into the curtains of water fidning where we had just been, a mere dot in the distance looking up at a multitude of waterfalls.

The journey back was quick with pretty views and a mellow sky. Everything about laos emanates a cruisiness in life that reminds me of small kiwi towns. We met up with a few people for dinner, chatting away with ausies and brits, getting recognized as the girl from Dali by other travelers, and finding the bad music at bars around town to be a good reason for an early night and a way to save money by avoiding it.

 

 

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