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Coleen’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 10 Feb 2011

Location: Luang Prabang, Laos

MapWell, it feels like we've been to the end of the world and back since we last posted. In the meantime, we have lost our hearts to Laos!!

On February 10th we flew from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang, Laos, PDR (People's Democratic Republic) -- but it really stands for "Please Don't Rush". What a difference from Thailand! Laos is an extremely poor country, but its people are the most generous, kind peoples that we have met. Laos is a very mountainous country, and extremely picturesque.

LP itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is situated at the juncture of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. As you may know, the French occupied Laos and their influence is everywhere, architecture, cuisine, etc.

While in LP we stayed in a bamboo hut overlooking the Nam Khan river. Each morning we were awakened by the drums and chanting of the monks, and throughout the day we would watch them bathe in the river. Our breakfast was served each morning on our deck overlooking the river.

The night market came alive at 5 p.m. each evening and the streets were filled with handmade textiles and silver. Laotian weaving and silk is of the highest quality, and Coleen wanted to bring it all home. However, our backpacks are full! (We mailed a package home weighing 14 kg, which lightened our loads significantly)

We spent one day riding elephants, and visiting a beautiful waterfall and a cave filled with thousands of Buddhas.

Let me tell you, riding elephants is not for the faint of heart. It's actually a task to stay on. We both felt like we were going to catapult over the head. The mahouts had great fun taking us into the river and having the elephants splash us and throw us off into the river. Once we got used to it, it was actually a lot of fun.

One day we climbed to the top of a hill in the centre of LP (328 steps) and spent a couple of hours enjoying the view. At the top of this hill is an ancient temple called Wat Phosi. We ended the day attending the Royal Ballet at the National Museum.

It was hard leaving Luang Prabang!