The weather isn’t at its best for exploring today. Light sprinkles of rain interrupt throughout the day and annoyingly the wet sand on the footpaths flicks up the back of my legs while walking. These jeans will need a wash – and not the kind provided by rain.
Luang Prabang is a pretty little place. Shady little streets are lined by boutique shops and restaurants – a lovely place to stroll around. Sar is guiding us around town to show us the sites today.
First stop is the local markets where all manner of fresh produce is on offer.
A glimpse of one of Luang Prabang’s local trades is on display up one of the small alleyways – a silversmiths workshop. And what they created was just stunning. It was so interesting to see just how much work went into making the gorgeous silver bowl.
The streets house all matter of interesting things to see…snake whiskey anyone?
The Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre (TAEC for short) is a great place to learn about the hill-tribe cultures of northern Laos. Here, you can find beautifully embroidered clothing, learn all about the different tribes and at the end of your visit grab a traditionally hand-made Lao souvenir from the gift shop. One of TAEC’s guides enthusiastically introduces himself and shows us around the exhibition. TAEC also runs handicraft workshops.
As we go to leave TAEC, the rain comes down in buckets. Sar rounds us up with a tuk tuk to ferry us to our next stop, Wat Manorom. This Wat is possibly the oldest in Luang Prabang, at least there has always been a temple on this site. We hide out here from the rain, while we learn a bit about the paintings which cover the wat walls.
A quick change of clothes back at the hotel and those who are heading to Kuang Si Falls pile into a tuk tuk for the ride. The scenic ride takes around half an hour across single lane wooden bridges and around or sometimes through, muddy potholes. When we arrive, small stalls and restaurants line the approach to the falls.
Entering the large wooden gate that bounds the falls, is like entering a jungle oasis. A signboard map explains that we will see the rescued sun-bear sanctuary first and several bears are out playing or just hanging around when we get there. The pathway to the falls area is very slippery thanks to the recent rains. Thongs are definitely not a good idea and I just manage to avoid several slips. It takes a careful half hour to get to the top lake which hosts a beautiful flowing waterfall. Beneath these areas, aquamarine ponds of water cascade downwards, the water turned by the limestone basin of the waterway. Kuang Si Falls are simply stunning.
On our way back to town, villages are going about life, busying themselves for dinner, grill smoke gently rising into the wet sky.