You know you're going to have a good day when you start it off with a chicken, avocado, bacon, and cheese sandwich from a street stall followed by an afternoon strolling around the wats, chatting with monks, cooling off at a pool only to circle back to another street stall: buffet style! Luang Prabang is my favorite city in Laos. It's the one city so far in our travels that I could imagine living in. It's small, but there is quite a bit to do and if you haven't figured it out by now, I'm a sucker for street food. Luang Prabang is full of it. Sandwiches, crepes, noodles, fruit shakes, you name it, it's here and it's delicious! Oh yea, and a night market every night? Full of beautiful silver jewelry and handmade tribal clothing? Yes, please!
We strolled through town with bigger sites circled on a map, a map that was tucked away in a pocket, while we ducked in and out of smaller wats on our way to the bigger, more famous one. While we were taking pictures of one giant gold Buddha, some monks said hello and let on that they were studying English. We sat with them for a little bit in the shade, practicing pronunciation and involuntarily teaching new vocabulary just from our conversation. They were really sweet, three of the four very shy, the outgoing one surprised me when he said he wants to study banking after he finishes secondary school. I wanted to ask so many questions about Buddhism, and being a monk, because I can't speak Lao, I stuck to "Do you like being a monk?" To which he answered, "Yes" and elaborated that it's quiet (except for the morning alms full of tourists and flash photography) and he gets to study a lot.
Wat Xieng Thong is the biggest, perhaps most famous in Luang Prabang. Built in the 1500's by Lao King Setthathirath, until the 1970's it was a royal temple where kings were crowned. It is said to display traditional Lao artwork and is one of the most important monasteries in Laos, even though we only saw one monk there. The wat felt old, and while some details were certainly eye-catching, I preferred the many statues of Buddha within one of the many buildings within the temple walls.
Over breakfast, a girl staying in the same guesthouse told us she had stayed in Luang Prabang longer than planned (obviously easy to do) mostly because she had been going to a local swimming pool for the past five days. We haven't had enough beach time on this trip, so I've been itching for some sunbathing and swimming. La Pistoche swimming pool is a big fat MEH in my book, but it was better than taking a nap in our guesthouse. After the pool, we headed straight for the night market and the 10,000 kip (a little over $1.00) buffet, and maybe a little bit of market shopping.
Where we slept:
What I spent: