We were stopping on the dusty parkplace near the town after a fast and bumpy ride from Vang Vineg in suprisingly new and normaly full minivan (only all seats were taken and we did not have any extra passangers or luggage).
Driver said:"Okay, we are here!"
"But they said we will come to the center?"
"You take tuk tuk here minivan can't go to the center, it is forbiden"
"Tuk tuk is included in price?"
"No, you pay 10000 kip per person"
Again another scam for which you do not have any control when you buy the ticket as they know you will not travel 150 km or 4h to get that 10000 kip back. Actualy tuk tuk driver demanded 20000 on the half way to the center but we colectively told him we only give 10000. But I guess that kind of things you just have to except if you travel in countries with such a low degree of public transport.
That was not the best start of Luang Prabang, but we were soon happy taht we came. With chick french cafes, guesthouses and shops it looked like from another planet - especially after beeing in Cambodia! It was probabl the first city that was clean enough that we could live in:)
Luang Prabang is former capital set by Mekong and Nom Kham river and is actualy a conglomerate of small villages, each having its own wat (temple). Each morning monks from different temple come to the streets and recieve alms from local people (and increasing number of tourists that take selfies with the monks:)) in form of food - rice and chocolates. On the main street it all looked a bit like a show for foriners with groups having guides explaining them loudly what is going on (can't they see it and get the explenation later) and locals trying to get some money from them selling them overpriced alms and coffe (can't they wait for their morning coffe untill the monks go away?). The amount of tourists also makes problem as monsk have to throw away some of the food they get - really stupid!
After the main street the overall scene was much more calm and magical. You could see old people that probably come there every day for many years thanking the minks with prayer and giving them small amount of sticky rice from a special wooden basket and thanking them again! It was great to see such a ritual still having meaning in everydays life today.
Monks recieving alms
They have a lot of monks, most of them seemed quite young.
Another gem to disocver in Luang prabang were the markets. Night market offering nice grilled fish, chicken and cheap buffet and morning one with a everything that your stomack wants and a lot of what it doesn't - with other words: from tasty pancakes, fruits and grilled meat to noodle soup (who wants them at 5 in the morning? Or at any time for that matter?) to insects like grasshoppers, pigs gut and grilled rats.
Spring roll lover's dreams!
Fancy some squirell or bird for breakfast?
Maybe some rat?
They do not know what is medium grilled meat! Well done is all they know.
And some insects for dessert (grasshoppers actually tasted okay)!
If you get bored by wats (which you usually do quite quickly) you can hop on the tuk tuk or minivan to the nearby waterfalls! And you would be very stupid not to go there and stay in the city exploring one of the many very similar tempels! They truly are magnificent with its turquise color and nice pools! And a moon bear sanctuary included in the ticket is equaly entertaining. How funny and cute are those bears that are beeing threatened just because some people believe they can give them more sexual power! Another story of human stupidity!