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bodhijack Jul 28th, 2004 06:57 PM

can you suggest a few things to do in LP? thank you!

cytrav2000 Jul 29th, 2004 12:01 AM

I dont see any but swim in the hotel swimming pool.
Dont hesitate. Go to see the Glory of Angkor.

Kathie Jul 29th, 2004 08:06 AM

Well. I'm not spygirl and since she and I tend to disagree on most things (;-> you may want to take my recommendations with that in mind.

There are probably 20 working wats in LP. Wander through town, stopping at the wats, chat with the novices (who all want to work on their English). Stroll through town, including the residential areas. Check out the markets. One market is specifically for the Hmong to sell their wares. The old palace is now a museum, and has a bizarre assortment of things (moon rocks, anyone?). Climb up Phousi. Take a boat to the Pak Ou caves. Enjoy half a day on the river (don't bother to stop at the LaoLao village). Go to the silk weaving village outside LP and buy from the women at the Co-op or walk into the village and buy from women there. There are two sets of waterfalls ouotdside of town that are worth visiting. Have a two hour lunch on the balcony of the Villa Sante. Sit by the river. Slow down and experience the pace of Luang Prabang.

You may want to read "In Search of the Elephant Kings" before you go. I felt like I knew people in town after reading it!

bodhijack Jul 29th, 2004 02:13 PM

great answer, kathie! thank you! i'll bet spygirl will agree with you on this one!

Spygirl Aug 1st, 2004 11:42 PM

Bodhi, Bodhi, Bodhi-I go away from this board for a bit I see you've been busy, asking all sorts of questions-and calling my name! Apparently you're thinking of "blowing off" LP? I'd really advise not doing that-if you're going to Myanmar-why not do LP for 2 or 3 days as well-there at the Golden Triangle-where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet-you're so close, I'd give some serious thought to doing both. Really, you'd be missing a very special place-a place that is still off the well-worn tourist path. As for things to do in LP-well, Shock! I DO agree with Kathie on her suggestions- (I just hope Lyndie will jump in and offer her two cents as well!) Now, for my part, I'll add my take on Luang Prabang:

Wat a place! Luang Prabang is of course full of beautiful wats-and as pointed out, these are working temples-so you'll be able to observe the monks as they go about their ritual duties-(if you get up early, you'll see the Laotians making merit to the Buddha by providing food and other essentials to the monks) LP is the spirtual center of Lao Buddhism, and the juxtaposition of French colonial architecture with traditional Laotian buildings makes for a striking contrast of East-West architecture. I believe there are something like 30 wats in LP, however Wat Mai, in partic. is stunningly ornate-partic. when the setting sun shines on the gold bas-relief on the walls depicting various Buddhist imagery-truly magnificent. There are interesting semi-erotic scenes on the wall from the Hindu epic the Ramayana, as well as imagery of Heaven and Hell- it was so lovely and peaceful here that I spent a chunk of time just absorbing the vibe. Also Wat Xiang Thong-one of the largest and most impressive of the wats located on the outskirts of LP, with a lovely garden-very serene. There are SO many beautiful wats here-it's hard to pick a few of the best-we visited a number of them in the 3 days we were there-and all of them had something interesting to differentiate them from the others.

As Tanganta mentioned, there is a night market (nothing can beat Chiang Mai's night market-but LP's wasn't half bad) you can find some beautiful and renowned Laotian textiles-if you're lucky, you'll find authentic antique ones-(however for antique textiles, you'll have better luck purchasing an authentic piece at a place called the Lao Antique Textiles Collection shop), silver jewelry, silks, and if you're careful, maybe a real antique hand-carved opium pipe.

In addition, there are funky little bars and cafes to try out- the Scandinavian bakery for pastries and breakfast, also inexpensive little cafes set up along the Mekong where you can relax, have a few BeerLaos (excellent!)and watch the sunset. As Kathy said, take a boat cruise to the Pak Ou caves-(the scenery along the Mekong is beautiful-the whole area around LP-the mountains and the river are lovely) the caves-considered holy by the Laotians -are a sort of spirtual graveyard for old Buddha statues-I found it interesting. And visit the multi-tiered Kuang Si Falls-there's a bridge that brings you very close to the falls themselves, and there are good little places to eat in and around the falls. There's also a little village just outside LP that makes a delicious home-made liqueur-we didn't go there, but heard about it from others.

As far as accomodation, you can go as cheap or as luxe as you like-we ate at the Villa Santi-and the food was excellent-loved the cress salad and other vegetable dishes the Villa Santi is furnished with lovely rosewood furniture and Laotian textile-and it's not that expensive-about US80/nt.-U believe, however, there are a number of places that are quite nice where the room rates are even less-like the Phousy Hotel.

Nightlife action? Well, there's not a lot going on, (more here than I imagine will be going on in Myanmar, however) but there are a number of pubs/bars -the Makidi bar was nice -and a few that play "farang" (foreigner) music-so you can roam around and check out the scene-it's fun.

I found L.P. to be a beautiful, spiritual place, and the people to be wonderfully kind and friendly. When one considers that Laos had more bombs dropped on it during the Vietnam war than the total number of bombs dropped during WWII, the loveliness and grace of the Laotians is all the more remarkable.

bodhijack Aug 4th, 2004 06:31 PM

spygirl, again, thank you for a long thoughtful answer. LP is back in our plans! (and thanks to you also kathie). why havn't we heard from the 3rd voice yet?

Spygirl Aug 18th, 2004 03:51 PM

topping for those interested in Luang Prabang.

Lyndie Aug 18th, 2004 04:14 PM

Okey, dokey! Well bodhijack I DO love LP. It's as spygirl says, a spiritual place with the nicest locals we've met in Asia (apart from Myanmar). There's Lun who works at Hoaxiang Guest House & Noi who is a waiter extraodinaire at Tam-Tam Bar, the monks in their glorious saffron coloured robes looking for food-the Phousi hill with the wat at the top-the climb too strenuous for me. The river with the locals washing their clothes, The fab carved silver elephant rings purchased from a master silversmith near the Sala Guest house, the lady-boys on motor bikes, the trip up to Nong Khai with Lun & Noi as guides (they'd never been before-we paid them anyway!) For me a destination is the people first and I wouldn't miss LP for all the tea in China! However, Angkor is something else & unforgettable. You must fit in both sometime! So many fabulous, evocative descriptions in these posts, from Kathie & spygirl. English is my second language!

Spygirl Aug 18th, 2004 07:47 PM

Lyndie! Are we adding fuel to the fire-if there's a choice, is it Luang Prabang over Angkor Wat?? (smile)

Lyndie Aug 18th, 2004 10:41 PM

spygirl-I'd still choose Angkor-for the majesty, the dream, the absolute wonder of the place. Bodhi asks about LP so what can I do but add my FIVE cents worth. It's all in the eye of the beholder-we all know it! You're such a stirrer!

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