Luang Prabang is pretty laid back so excuse me for not having a vast amount to write up about the next two days! It’s so laid back that it’s nigh-on impossible to get a meal served in less than fifteen minutes, so if you happen to book a ticket for a trip make sure you have plenty of time beforehand to eat!
You can kind of guess by the above that I didn’t leave myself enough time. I thought half an hour would be enough to get a chicken fried rice and eat it. Wrong. It was almost 25 minutes before it was served and I had to leave half to rush back to the tour office. A shame as it was delicious!
The trip up to the Kuang Si waterfalls is 32km according to Lonely Planet. This should be half an hour in a tuk-tuk, but for some reason took us an hour. The driver told us to be back by 4:00 which meant we’d have 90 minutes to explore and frolic, while the tour office had told us two hours. So we told him we’d be back at 4:30.
Cost of entry to the well-maintained “park” is 20,000K and the tuk-tuk ride 25,000K per person. It’s a worthwhile trip for an afternoon out even if just for the large swimming areas. There are no pools in Luang Prabang and it does get hot and sticky. The water here is pretty clean and very cold! Lovely after you’ve tramped around the waterfall itself for an hour getting some lovely pictures.
An American chap and myself walked to the halfway-up point on the waterfall – the first “shelf”. From there, the views backwards are spectacular. We didn’t bother climbing right to the top and from what we were told by those who did, it wasn’t worth the effort anyway.
Back downhill a ways, we jumped into the aforementioned pool (me from the top of a small waterfall off very slippery rocks) and played on the rope swing that someone had tied up nearby. A word from painful experience – watch out for the knots on the rope when you jump. They have a habit of smacking you in places you’d rather not be smacked when you let go if you don’t shove the rope away correctly. Ooyah.
After an hour, we were all ready to head back into town. I’d got talking to a very nice girl on one of the other tuk-tuks called Roz (hey, Roz!) and we arranged to meet up later on for some munchies.
The trip back was a little quicker, I think mainly as it was downhill. We all had a good natter and I enjoyed a nice papaya shake from a street vendor with the American chap and Colin, a Malaysian guy now settled in Canada and on his annual trip in SE Asia after seeing the family.
As seems the law in Luang Prabang, I had a chill-out and waited until dinner time. I was supposed to meet Aurelie and Laura (who I met in Byron Bay) for dinner as well, but they were later arriving than they anticipated and missed Roz and I as we wandered off for food on the riverside.
Dinner turned to drinks. And more drinks. Then more. Then realisation that Roz didn’t have enough Kip. Then wandering around trying to find somewhere that would sell us more drinks. I think we might have crashed a private party asking if they had beer and they sold us some from their fridge.
By the time I dropped Roz off at her hostel it was around 2am. Whoops. A little later than we’d planned! Luang Prabang’s a little like that. You just kind of go with the flow.