Day 20 (4 Jan 2010): Lazy Rest Day [Luang Prabang]

For your convenience, please refer to The Journey for the itinerary and the latest updates.

Weather: Sunny

Distance covered today: 0km
Distance traveled from Guangzhou: 2,223km
Distance remaining to Singapore: 2,881km

Fact of the day: There are more people who speak the Lao language in Thailand than in Laos.

The switch in my room didn’t cooperate with me and refused to switch off the light bulb. I had to resort to removing the key from the holder to break the circuit. It meant that there would be no electricity to charge my iPod or to power the fan. Fortunately the weather was cool enough at night to fall asleep without need for fan.

I had entertained the thought of waking up for the alms-giving ceremony in the morning but the warm bed coupled with the previous days’ traveling conspired for me to sleep in. I had late start to the day and began with a crepe (10,000 LAK). Yes! I was finally on the pancake trail!

Photos from the morning:

Stupa

Quintessentially Lao - Monk in front of a temple

Nice architecture

Another stupa

The road would lead me to Wat Xieng Thong, one of the most important temples in the country.

Gold plated Buddha

Ornate designs on doors

La Chapelle Rouge

Sim

Royal funerary carriage house

Nagas - Temple protectors

Later in the day I went to the Royal Palace.

Classic car on the street

Royal Palace from Phu Si hill

Royal Palace - converted into a museum now

Close-up

I just lazed around for the remainder of the day. Luang Prabang had this effect on its visitors. I had seen many tourists who just hanged around the cafe all day.

Throughout the day, the electricity supply to my guesthouse (the whole of this part of the town in fact) was cut. Luckily the supply resumed by evening time to ensure that I did not need to take cold showers.

Evenings were reserved for the famous night market of course.

Bazaar setting up

Lantern stall

The night falls

There is an alley off the main street where food vendors sell their meals to the hungry travelers. I was tempted to try the grilled fish but decided that it was too big for me. The picture below was a stall offering vegetarian buffet for 10,000 LAK.

Dinner

Back to the bazaar

Silverwares on sale

Paintings

Toiletries bags

Slippers

More paintings

Close-up

Big lanterns

Even more lanterns

Lantern close-up

You could tell that the wares on sale were mainly handicrafts.

Most of the vendors were ladies and on many occasions they seemed more interested to socialize with their neighbors than to do business.

Chatting instead of doing business

While at the night market, there was a blackout. A collective gasp (from the tourists) were heard.

Blackout

The vendors were quick to bring out their candles.

Candlelit

The electricity supply was only restored to one end of the bazaar and the rest had to do business in semi-darkness. Although some tourists were still willing to shop, it was hard to look at the wares under the poor light conditions. Many vendors started packing up way before the usual closing time of 9.30pm. Luckily my place weren’t affected by the blackout.

Rested early as I would be on my way again the next day.

So long Luang Prabang. I got a feeling that I might return sooner than I expect

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