As well as the lovely sights along the river, we stopped a couple of times en route to Luang Prabang.
Around what would have been lunchtime had we not opted to snack-on-board, we visited some Buddha caves. In the lower cave there were many small buddha statutes and ‘fortune telling’ options.
buddhas in every size
traces of gold
At the price of climbing ALL the steps in ALL the heat, we also visited the much bigger cave at the top of the hill. Inside there were much bigger buddha statues and some bats.
inside looking out
buddhas in the darkness
Later in the afternoon we stopped at a village where sticky rice whisky is made. Seriously, there is nothing that Lao doesn’t make out of sticky rice, including pizza dough. We tasted the whisky (acceptable) and wines made from black and white sticky rice (didn’t like these). Paul bought bangles instead of whisky.
We also visited the monastery at this village, where the young monks were moving a large pile of cement. I sat on some steps and watched, considering it hot to move any further.
young monks (go for it)
look, Ray, an elephant
Our river journey came to an end around 4pm, when we reached Luang Prabang and took the tuktuk equivalent of minivans to our hotel. Buses and lorries are not allowed in the city, which is a World Heritage site.
TL lead us on a walk through the night market – massive quantities of textiles, t-shirts, souvenirs for tourists and fascinating food stalls for locals – and thence to our restaurant. TL had pre-ordered our dinner to ensure we got another feast of very local food. It was delicious, particularly the local soup, orlam. They had made a vegetarian version specially for three of us, and this recipe sounds pretty authentic. The key ingredient was what the recipe calls ‘chili wood’, but our TL described as ‘vine wood’.
— words & pictures by Elizabeth