We immediately got ourselves to grips with our surroundings and got to grips with how expensive Luang Prabang and potentially Laos, was! Having spent so little in Thailand on daily food, drinks etc, we were blown away and left very hungry from how much food cost in Laos. Considering the main things being served were sandwiches, fruit shakes and cakes, it was also very hard to find a decent meal without breaking the bank. I came to the conclusion that thanks to rich tourists being the main visitors to Luang Prabang, and that they are happy to pay high prices so the priceskeep creeping up and it makes it impossible to haggle as rich tourists just pay the face value and don’t bother even trying to haggle!
After a bit of a walk around town and taking in the french colonial architecture and various Temples (which all charged £2 to get in!!), we headed to the night market, which takes over the main street through Luang Prabang and consist of row upon row of gazeebos, selling Lao Lao Whiskey (whiskey with a snake or scorpion in), local crafted goods and hand painted pictures.
We managed to find a stall serving street food, where you pick your ingredients cold and they are then flash fried in a wok before you chow down. This on the surface seemed a great idea and after picking our food and having it served we were ready to tuck in. It was only after a few bites in did I realise I had been given a freebie at no extra cost, which initially I thought was a raisin, turns out it was a cockroach……nice. So all in all not a fantastic start to Laos and put a slight negative tint on our first day in the country, but it would take a lot more than inflated prices, snobby tourists and free roaches to dampen our spirits.
The next day we opted to hire some typically french bikes (there is a huge french influence in Laos, as they ‘colonised’ (invaded before the Vietnam war) and took ourselves to every inch of the town, including a cool bar/resteraunt across a small bamboo bridge called Dyen Sabai, which we treated ourselves to their Lao taster dish, along with sticky rice to be eaten in small balls made by hand.
We also found some other cool bars and restaurants around the same area. Whilst cycling around we constantly saw adverts for the ‘blue lagoon’, so decided to check it out and found out what it was all about. Ironically turns out it was a blue lagoon at Kouang Si waterfalls and after looking at plenty of pictures, we believed them that it actually was a waterfall, so booked a trip for the same afternoon. When we arrived at the Lagoon we were blown away by how beautiful and serene it was. So we wasted no time and dived straight in, literally.
It turned out there were loads of different pools on different levels of the huge waterfall and included a pool which had a rope swing, with after wondering whether the water was deep or not and seeing other people come out unscathed, it was time to give it a go.
It was a very relaxing afternoon and after having such good grub and a dip in the blue lagoon, we were perked right up again. So after not being able to afford much else, we sorted our mini bus down to Vang Vieng and went and got stocks for the journey, which was a 6hour slog on a 10 seater mini bus through mountainous scenery and very very very very bumpy, windy, hairy roads.
—Stay Classy World—ACastling—