Luang Prabang- Laos
I packed my backpack and bought a ticket on Laotian airlines and flew to the UNESCO world heritage town of Luang Prabang (LP) exotic Laos. When you land at LP you immediately get the feel of a rural jungle atmosphere with simple villagers tending crops or going about their daily lives laid back in the word to describe the most visited town (tourists) in Laos. No need to worry about a visa, you are issued a visa on arrival and depending on your passport pay a fee, as you walk out of the airport there is an ATM at the exit door. Outside the airport there are taxis that you can share with other travelers taxis charge one fixed rate to take you into town, if you share with others you also share the price and it is a decent deal, I decided to walk a bit and flag a local tuk tuk which was a bad decision as my price was the same as the shared van and it was a walk on dusty dirt roads. LP is a small town surrounded on three sides by a Nam Song River river and very easy to find navigate.
I booked a room at Villa Meuang Lao a very nice small family run hotel in a superb location, be aware that LP seems to have two kinds of hotels, the overpriced ones that claim they are 4-5 star(more like 2-3 starts)s and the budget backpacker guesthouses that cater to different tastes, the place I stayed did not have a website so I booked through an agency and got a good deal. As for what to do; booked a trip to Kuang Si Falls a lovely cascade waterfalls but going all the way to the top on a very rough path does not give any better views getting to the falls is easy just go to the street near the post office and join a group. As you enter the falls park you will walk through a cute brown bear rescue center. I also visited Tad Sae falls that are not as good and quite small. LP is a town filled with WATS (Temples) and there are just too many to mention but will keep any temple connoisseur busy, as to cover as much ground as needed I rented a bike and made my way around town, no bike path but traffic it is very light. Defiantly drop by the former Royal Palace which is now the National Museum, the palace was built by French as a royal residence to the last monarchy of Laos. A visit to LP can be complete until you climb Mount Phousi for the sunset. It is a hill lying in the center of the city where there is a small temple of Phousi on top. After climbing 328 steps up from the entrance to the top, you can have a nice view of the LP landscape. Overall, an interesting town that gave me a taste of Laotian culture and due to the UNESCO seal much of the town retains its former self. I am not a shopper but bargains are to be had everywhere.