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Lovely Laos

LAOS | Wednesday, 23 August 2017 | Views [229]

We landed in Laos just as the sun was setting. As we drove into the small city of Luang Pabrang (LP), we knew we would like it here. The streets are quaint and once again have a French influence. The first night we explored the large night market filled with all sorts of beautiful crafts and souvenirs. If we weren't traveling for 3 more months I would buy it all. For dinner we tucked down a busy alley way, where for $2, you can fill a bowl with as much vegetarian food as you would like; curries, roast veggies, rices, fruit and veggie chips. It was a nice first evening in LP

The next morning we woke up bright and early to see the Buddhist monks collecting alms from the locals (and a few tourists). Starting at 5:30am the young monks take to the street in their bright orange wraps. It was a beautiful site to see. 

After a little nap we were up again. We hiked Phu Si hill to see the temple at the top and views of Luang Pabrang's red roofed city. Walking down the backside of the hill took us to Buddha statues, more temples and beautiful scenery. We the walked along the Nam Ou river and bought a GIANT cup of coffee (check out the picture). Then we boarded the local boat that took us to the other side of the river. We walked through a small village. The houses along the road were each different; some made of brick, others made of wood, some made out of long grass weaved together. Sites like this make us grateful for what we have in America. 

At the end of the road there was a hill that led to a temple. We paid the fee and walked up to a small, older temple and a nice view of Luang Pabrang from across the river. At the bottom of the hill we continued our way down a dirt road where we found another temple. This one had old and fading murals on the wall. The entrance fee also included access to a cave. A woman unlocked the gates to a huge cave with bats flying low around our head. Shiny, new and creepy old Buddha statues were in the cave. Though the stairs continued further down, the cave was too creepy for us so we headed back into the daylight and walked our way back to the little village for delicious soup and very spicy papaya salad.

That evening we volunteered our time at Big Brother Mouse, an organization that works to bring reading to children in rural Laos. Another program of Big Brother Mouse is to provide a place for students in Luang Pabrang to read and practice English. Many young men and women leave their villages to come to LP for school or work. Their villages are as far as nine hours away so many don't get to see their families much. We spent two hours speaking with these kids. We talked about our hobbies, our countries and our wishes for the future. We taught them vocabulary and they taught us about life in Laos. It was a great experience!

Our second day in LP was just as busy as the first. We rented a scooter, picked up some sandwiches and headed to the Kuang Si waterfall. We drove through lush green forest and rice paddies until we reached this large complex of waterfalls. We walked around the falls and the pools. The path took us through a "zoo" of Moon Bears that were rescued from poachers. After viewing the largest waterfall from the bottom we climbed along the side of the fall to the top. Here we could swim in the cold water. It was a fun morning.

We drove back toward town headed to another temple. We had seen this golden temple from the top of our hike the day before and we just had to see it up close. It didn't disappoint. We drove around a bit checking out the town and the we headed back to once again volunteer at Big Brother Mouse. It was great to meet more kids.

Unfortunately our time at Luang Pabrang came to an end. On our third morning we were up early to head to boarded the slow boat to Thailand. This two day journey travels up the Mekong River to the border. We stopped over night in the village Pakbeng. As I write we are once again traveling on the river. There is little to do on the boat but read, relax and watch the beautiful countryside of Laos. It was a quick visit but I think we both enjoyed our time in this country! 

 

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