First Stop in Laos: Luang Prabang
I spent about 10 days in Laos after having to leave Thailand since I had been there for exactly 30 days. I didn't know much about the country or what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. Although Laos is less developed and not as tourist-friendly than many other Southeast Asian countries, it offered a more genuine and authentic experience. Here's my first stop in this new country:
I flew here from Chiang Mai because I didn't want to waste time traveling via bus or slow boat because of my expiring Thai Visa and limited time to travel Laos and Cambodia. Since Pai was so much fun and really took a lot out of me, I decided to stay in a cheap, quiet guesthouse in LP. There weren't any amazing options anyway. The city was surprisingly really beautiful and clean. The Mekong River ran along it so with a motorbike I was able to drive around the city alongside the river and take in the views. The number 1 thing to do here is visit Kuang Si Falls, an amazing blue turquoise waterfall. It's probably one of the best waterfalls I have ever seen! Unfortunately I had many open wounds so I couldn't get in the water. Right before the waterfall there's a bear sanctuary with a ton of different black bears. It was pretty neat to watch them lazily lay around, climb trees, and try to get food from this barrel.
I opted for renting a motorbike to drive there because I love driving in the countryside and I don't like being herded around by a tour guide. On the way back, I got caught in a giant rainstorm and had to head out in a shelter in the middle of nowhere. At that moment I was wishing I was in a car...
I kept running into this group of guys from Florida during the 2 days I was there. I saw them in the streets about 7 times. The last night that we were all going to be there we decided to head to the only place in the city where backpackers go to get drunk - The Bowling Alley. So the group of guys all had matching headbands and told me I had to get one too to commit to the team. I told them that I would match them there. On Maps.Me, the bowling alley from my guesthouse was only a 10 minute walk. So around 11:30pm I went toward the location but it turned out to be someone's backyard. The walk was super sketchy too, down alleyways with dogs chasing me and guys catcalling me. Yeah I was not fond of it at all! I walked back and looked on Google Maps for the right location and it turned out to be a bit outside of the main area, a 10 minute drive. At this time the hostel people already put all of the motorbikes inside but I figured that was the best way to get there. They told me they couldn't let me ride it because guy who brings them up the steps and into the house was asleep and it was too heavy for me or her to do it. I then asked if I could get a taxi and she told me there weren't any running right now... I'm a bit stuck now so I asked her what I should do and she said "Go to sleep." Hahaha well then... I guess that's what I'll do.
There's a night market everyday but what major Asian city doesn't have a night market? I still love them anyway! I love eating street food and looking at souvenirs and random stuff I don't need. The morning before I left I climbed up the Mount Phousi, which wasn't actually a mountain. It's a temple and viewpoint in the middle of the city. When you get to the top you have a great view of the city.
Luang Prabang was a really cute city! There wasn't much to do though so staying only a day or two is enough to see the city and explore the areas around it. It was a good introduction to Laos and the beautiful landscape the country has to offer as I travel further.