It’s the third post in my itinerary series! I went to Luang Prabang, Laos, from 11th to 13th March 2016. It was a short stay, but I did as many thing as possible, in a limited amount of time. Here is what I did in Luang Prabang, a city of UNESCO world heritage site! (I calculated 1 Laotioan kip = $0.00012USD)
17:00 Arrive at the bus station
I took a bus from Vang Vieng at 9:30 in the morning. The bus stopped twice for the toilet break, and finally arrived in Luang Prabang at 17:00. At the bus station many tuktuk were waiting for people arriving, and I heard they were offering 80000kp ($9.6) just to get to the city center (it is just 3km journey!). After negotiating for a while, I managed to get it down to 10000kp ($1.23).
17:30 Arrive at the hostel
After arriving at the city center, I started looking for a hostel for the night. As I walked, I found many buildings in the same old design (picture above), so I thought it was the reason why the city is registered as a world heritage. I had checked the average price and hostel area in town on agoda.com before I arrived, so I decided to look for one around there, with about same price I found on the website. When I was walking by the riverside a guy at a hostel asked me if I was looking for a place, and I said yes. I rejected at first because he said it was 50000kp ($6.15) per night, but I decided to take a look. After negotiating with a women at the place I got 30000kp ($3.69) so I decided to stay there (here). It was a dorm room with 10 bunk beds inside, a shared bathroom and a towel for each. Other than the fact the bed was pretty shaky, I like the river view from the window, hot shower, decent wifi and free breakfast (bananas and coffee!).
17:45 Going to Mount Phusi
After put my backpack at the place, I headed to Mount Phousi temple to see the sunset. I paid for the entrance (20000kp = $2.46), and start climbing up the stairs. With about 10 minutes, I reached to the top. There were so many people when I went up there, waiting for sunset. I took a couple of pictures, and sit at a bench. It was a beautiful, bright and round sunset up the clear sky, like the one I saw at the Vang Vieng.
18:00 Climb down
After I watched the sun to set completely, I started to climb down. I followed people on the way back, and turned out the way I took was different form the one I got to get to the top. I guessed this one was the biggest entrance, since it is facing to the night market (here).
When I came down to the bottom, I saw a temple right across the road. The gate seemed like still open, so I went inside. The temple was closed already, so I just took some photos. It was the Haw Pha Bang Temple (here), as I checked on the map later.
In the same property, I also saw the Royal Palace Museum (here). It was closed too, but I decided to come back when I have time.
There was also a theater in the same place. I went there on Friday, so the performance was scheduled. I had to give it up since I was really broke at the time, but I would love to visit again someday!
When I was walking the night market towards my hostel, I found this place where you can eat as much on one plate for 10000kp ($1.23). A girl at the place was saying it was vegetarian, and you can put as much as you want on one plate, one time. I decided to take it for the dinner because it looked so delicious! (And it was actually really delicious).
On the way back to the hostel, I found this little street full of street food (here). There was also different kinds of buffet going on, so I guessed it was pretty popular in Luang Prabang. Everything looked delicious, and I was dying to try all of them, but unfortunately I was already full, so I decided to come back the next day.
19:30 Come back to the hostel
It was quite early for the bed time, but I decided to come back to the hostel because I wanted to get up early the next day to go many places. I came back, took a shower, and I felt asleep soon after. I didn’t even remember when I went to bed, so I guess I was very tired.
7:00 Get up
I got up early in the morning, so that I can rent a motorcycle as soon as the shop is open. I got ready, grab some bananas at the robby for the breakfast, and left the hostel.
8:00 Rent a motorcycle
I arrived at the travel agency (here), where I checked the opening hours the previous day. I rent one until 6 pm the same day, and it cost 90000kp ($11.08). Soon after I rent one, I went on the road.
9:00 Arrive at the Kunang Si Waterfall
After about an hour of bike riding (it was very far), I arrived at the Kuang Si waterfall, the most famous waterfall of the town (here). I parked at the parking space (2000kp = $0.25), and the entrance was just right beside. I paid for the entrance (20000kp = $2.46) and went inside. I was about 10th person when I got to the place. There was no bear in the area (normally they are near the entrance), and no one at the souvenir shop yet.
There were some pools with small waterfalls on the way to the biggest one at the last. Each one was different shapes, and they are all beautiful, although it was during the dry season. I thought it was one of the best waterfalls I had ever seen. It will be awesome to see it in the rainy season!
10:00 Head to the cave
Next to the biggest waterfall, there were stairs and a sign saying “to the top”. I didn’t know what’s on the top, but I decided to go on the way (I’m always down for adventures!). The stairs finished at the beginning of the way, and it was just slippery and steep rocks rest of the way. After struggling with my flip flops for 15 minutes (I didn’t expect any climbing whatsoever!), I reached to the top. There were a little water area and the way lead to the forest. I kept walking and found a sign saying cave and restaurant in 3km. I just had to check out what they had to offer (as always!).
10:30 Arrive at the cave
After walking quite a long time (at least I felt) where no one else was around, a guy on the motorcycle came up and asked me if I was going to the cave, and said yes. He offered me the backseat of his bike, so I rode on and we arrived in front of the cave. Turned out he was the guy who collects the entrance fee of the cave! (I was so close to the free entrance…)
I paid 10000kp ($1.23) as an entrance fee, and he passed me a flashlight. The gate of the cave looked closed, but I just needed to open it by myself.
I went inside, and it was a dark, small cave. There was just me, and no one else was around. I was so scared and had to fight with my fear. I tried to go deeper so many times, again and again, but my feet just refused to move. I could only proceed to 10 meters in the end. I could not know what’s after the small tunnel (let me know if you know!).
12:30 Go to Tad Sae Waterfall
I spent quite some time going back to the gate of the waterfall (I almost got lost again…), and finally reached where I parked my motorcycle. I ordered a banana shake (7000kp = $0.86) and a chicken BBQ stick (5000kp = $0.62) as my lunch, I headed to the Tad Sae Waterfall, which is located in the south of the town, about 40km away from Kuang Si Waterfall.
13:45 Arrive at the Tad Sae Waterfall
After a long drive, I arrived at parking area of Tad Sae Waterfall. There was a big sign pointing to the waterfall at the intersection, so I didn’t get lost this time. The waterfall was located across the river, so taking a boat was the only way to get to the place. I got off the bike, parked around the area where I saw many other bikes, and a girl approached me. She told me I had to pay 5000kp ($0.62) for the parking, so I did as she said (money, money, money!).
As always, I also had to pay 10000kp ($1.23) for the boat to get to the other side, so I gave the money to a guy. He said I needed to pay 10000kp more if I use a boat by myself. Luckily I met two guys at the entrance and decided to go with them, so I didn’t need to pay! (I was broke… as always)
5 minutes of the boat ride after, we arrived at the other side of the river. We paid 25000kp ($3.08) at the entrance, and went inside. There were not many people there so we could spend some quiet time. The guys I met were from San Francisco. We all sat on reclining chairs, being relaxed and had a nice chat.
15:30 Left the waterfall
After some relaxing time by the waterfall, we decided to leave the place, in order to be in time for the sunset cruise, which they were planning to do in the evening. I didn’t have any plan for that day, so I decided to join them.
16:10 Back to town
It was about 30 minute ride from the waterfall coming back to the town. We decided to come back to the hostel, get ready for the cruise and meet up later. I returned the motorcycle, got my passport back and headed to the place.
17:00 Sunset cruise
On the way to the cruising, two Danish girls joined us. We paid 65000kp ($8), and got on the boat. It was crowded on that day, unlike normal days (a guy on the boat told me), so some groups had to give up and come back another day. The boat departed 15 minutes later than it supposed to.
We ordered a beer lao (it was included in the ticket), and enjoyed each other’s company. I felt the breeze on my cheek as the boat speeds up. It was a beautiful round sunset, shining up the sky. We watched as the sun went down.
18:45 Finish cruise
The cruise finished at 18:45 as scheduled. By the time we came back to the riverside, it was already dark. We decided to have dinner together at a restaurant.
We had dinner at Coconut Garden. It seemed like a popular restaurant in the town. I ordered Lao Laab (minced pork salad), because I hadn’t tried it yet. I once tried Thai Laab and I remember I didn’t like it, but this time it tasted better. We all had a bin of beer lao, and spent quite some time drinking and chatting. Although it cost me 75000kp ($9.23) (!!!), I had a great time.
21:30 Come back to hostel
It was 21:30 when we finished dinner. They told me they were going bowling, but I didn’t have energy at all, so I decided to come back to the hostel. We said good bye to each other, and left the place. It’s sometimes nice to have some company when you are traveling by yourself!
Here is everything I did in Luang Prabang, Laos. I didn’t have time (and money) for the museum and the traditional dance at the theater this time, but I will definitely do it next time I visit the city!
Thank you for reading, stay tuned for my next post! 🙂
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