Claes Johansson Asia 2010 travel blog

The road to Luang Prabang.

The MuangLao Guesthouse – My home in Luang Prabang.

That Makmo, one of many old temples in Luang Prabang.

The Mekong River.

Wat Xieng Thong.

Very much French colonial style. This is the main street, the Sakkarine...

The Scandinavian Bakery.

A selection of what the Scandinavian Bakery has to offer.

On the top of the city mountain – The That Chomsi Stupa.

View over Luang Prabang from the city mountain.

The way down from the city mountain.

Monk’s chat.

A message from the sponsor.

Luang Prabang by night.

Fredagsfika i Luang Prabang.

”Korv med bröd” at the Scandinavian Bakery.

The night market in the Sakkarine Rd.

Mekong tour boats.

The low water Mekong River.

On the way to Whiskey making village.

Lao-Lao – Lao rice whiskey.

More Lao-Lao.

A distillery machine.

On the way to Pak Ou Caves.

Inside the cave.

A “terra-cotta army” of Buddha images.

Luang Prabang Airport. Here my Mekong adventure ends very abruptly.

Next stop Chiang Mai.

12 Mars.

Even if there are more things, which I would like to se and do here in Phonosavan, I would very much like to se Long Cheng, a neighbouring town to Phonosavan. Long Chen or Secret City was the American CIA:s headquarter in Laos during the war. From here they directed their mercenary forces against the Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese forces. Fore me it would be interesting, because I am old enough to remember, what was happening here. I do remember during my whole childhood, there was daily news about what happened in the Vietnam War.

However, I decide to skip further excursions, mostly because the trips are not so cheap, but also because my experience tells me that there are nowadays very little to see.

So on this day I go to Luang Prabang, the religious and ceremonial capital of Laos. First I have to backtrack 135 kilometres. So once again I have to go over the hilltops on the 1200 metres level and finally go mostly downhill but still many curves and bends, sometimes like a serpentines until I finally came to Luang Prabang. At the bus station every passenger on the minibus were more or less attacked by guesthouse touts, despite my own hotel list, I decided to join and follow one of the touts, which lead me to the Muonglao Guesthouse. This place was definitely not on my list but from the pictures I was shown, it looked nice and the price was about the half compared to the hotels, which I had in my list. So I followed and I must say that I almost immediately liked the place.

13 Mars.

Time to exploring Luang Prabang by my own. After that I have got a city map I was ready for a walking tour. It turned out almost immediately that Luang Prabang is a very beautiful city. According to my book, Luang Prabang survived the war almost untouched and is nowadays declared as a UNESCO World Site Heritage.

I saw many nice and beautiful houses and buildings; for sure this town has a big charm. I saw many nice street cafes, bars and restaurants when I walked along the Mekong River bank. Finally I also find the Scandinavian Bakery, same company as in Vientiane, which I visited two years ago. Except for the ordinary assortment of bread, cookies and coffee, they also sold pizzas, hot dogs and beer.

14 Mars.

A day of rest and relax. After a long and good sleep, I spend the most of the time in the Muanglao’s outdoor restaurant. I was sitting there because the wi-fi signal was weak and not strong enough to reach my room. Mean vile I studying what’s going on in Bangkok and read mail and other Swedish news, I also have some good food and several BeerLao. I also tried to plan my further trip along the Mekong River out of Laos. Then I was told that all boat traffic on the Mekong River was postponed, because the extremely low water level. Instead I was offered to go with a bus to Huay Xai and the Thai border. This bus trip, I was told should take 12 hours on more and probably much more worse than the roads I already been travelling on. So I said no thanks and instead booked a flight with Lao Airlines out of Laos to Chiang Mai.

In the evening, I went to see the night market on the Thanon Sakkarin Rd, the main road here in Luang Prabang. I did not buy anything but it was interesting anyway and I saw many nice and beautiful things that I would like to buy, if the Lao Airlines would accept some overweight luggage. Finally I ended up at Scandinavian Bakery once again. This time I bought “korv med bröd” and finished with a cup of coffee and a “dammsugare”.

15 Mars.

My last full day in Luang Prabang. I decided to do a daytrip upriver of the Mekong River. The small tour boat took me first to a village, which was selling Lao Silk and locally produced Lao-Lao, Lao rice whiskey. Lao have a tradition to put snakes or scorpions inside the whiskey bottles as an extra flavour on the whiskey. I bought one bottle with a really big scorpion inside. After the visit in the small village, the boat took me further upriver and to the Pak Ou Caves, which contains several thousands of Buddha images. After then I seen this “terra cotta”-like army, was it time to head back to Luang Prabang again. Here my Mekong adventure ends. The remaining boat trip back to Northern Thailand, which I planned to do, that I have to put on the future. Maybe some day I can fulfil this Mekong trip.

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