We made it to Laos. If you are not familiar with Laos, check out this out. Does that help? We weren’t sure if we were going to make it due to the price of flights, but we are sure glad we did. Luang Prabang is a small town, surrounded by mountains and a river. A lot of the French architecture still exists. We spent four days here relaxing, shopping and sightseeing.
How We Got There & Around
We flew in direct from Hanoi on Laos Airways. Once we landed, we were able to get a taxi from the taxi stand near the exit. It was easy to locate, as the airport is extremely tiny. It did take a little time for our taxi driver to find us. Things are much more laid back here in Laos vs. Vietnam.
Around town we relied on Tuk Tuks. In fact, we ended up using the same tuk tuk driver for a day and enjoyed spending time with him. The tuks tuks are not as comfortable as a car, but you do get “natural A/C”.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at Vansana Hotel, outside the main street area. It was nice to be at a hotel with a pool, a few resident cats and a nice bar. The main street was only a 10 minute tuk tuk drive away.
What We Did
Besides a few days by the pool, we did do some sightseeing:
Lao Library –The library provides books to kids in rural communities. For just a few dollars, we bought books to donate. The library also offers many services to the community. I love libraries, so it was a no-brainer for us to stop and give back.
Wat Xieng Thong – This temple was built in 1560 and is known as the “Temple of the Golden City”. It is a large temple with beautiful art work.
Wat Sen – This temple was built in 1718, and restored in 1957.
Other Temples – There are several temples in this small town, and we weren’t able to locate information online for all of them. Here are some of our highlights.
Haw Kham (Royal Palace) – This was once the Royal Palace, but now is a museum. The museum closed at 4PM so we missed it, but we did get a chance to walk the gardens and around.
Mount Phou Si – We had read that this hill was a beautiful place to watch the sunset, however, it was very cloudy that day so we decided instead to just walk around the temple on the top. The entire hill is impressive – it is adorned with Buddha images throughout the hike up and down. The views are spectacular.
Kuang Si Waterfalls – We hired our tuk tuk driver for the day to take us here and back. The drive was over an hour, and we hung around for two hours. The falls are spread over three levels. We didn’t actually go in the water, but spent time walking around and enjoying the sights.
Free the Bears – This sanctuary is attached to the waterfall park. This organization works to help bears in South East Asia from being sold, kept as pets, used for medicine, etc. Steve and I got here early enough in the day to see the bears playing and wrestling. We walked by later, and all of them were sleeping. The bears here are Moon Bears, also known as Asian Black Bears. They are a threaten species, which is so sad, because they are spectacular. The organization also helps out Sun Bears, and Sloth Bears. Please check out their page to find out more on how you can help.