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Vietnam, Luang Prabang, Chiang Mai, Siem Reap, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok

Vietnam, Luang Prabang, Chiang Mai, Siem Reap, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok

Aug 7th, 2014, 03:13 PM
  #21  
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July 10, 2014

Today, we visited the Royal Palace that has been turned into a National Museum. It was very interesting learning about the various Kings and the King that lived in the palace. After this we also visited a couple of temples.
We traveled on to the Kuangsi Waterfalls which was not dried up and quite beautiful. Along the walk to the waterfalls is a bear rescue area. The have Asiatic Bears. Asiatic bears have a white stripe on their chest in the shape of a "V". We had never seen the Asiatic Bears. There was also a display of the different bears of the world to size. We wanted to go swimming at the waterfall, but our travel doctor told us that we shouldn't swim in fresh water in Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia. Instead, we took some great pictures.
We came back to the hotel for a rest and then went to Phousi Hill for sunset. It was really crowded, but worth it. We took the long way up-329 steps to view the Buddha statues along the way. We briefly walked through the night market--didn't buy anything.
We had a delicious, fresh dinner at Tamarind for $19.00. We had a seaweed platter, kind of like chips and dip. The dips were tasty and spicy. We had a noodle dish, sautéed pumpkin, and lemon grass chicken. The lemon grass chicken was actually inside the lemon grass--it was absolutely scrumptious. This was one of the best meals we had!! Our guide recommended this restaurant.
Live2Travel1000 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2014, 05:01 PM
  #22  
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July 11, 2014
This morning we woke up really early to see The Alms Giving Ceremony. It was a special day. Today was the start of Buddhist Lent that will take place for three months. After the Alms Ceremony, we walked through the day market. There was not a lot of goods for sale because most people were giving alms.
We came back to the hotel for a superb breakfast.
After, breakfast we took a boat ride to the Pak Ou Caves. Along the way we stopped at a weaving village. I bought a scarf and they showed us how to make the whiskey and rice wine. Our guide told us not to try the alcohol because many of his clients had gotten sick. From there we continued onto the caves. We walked up 200 steps to the upper cave. Fortunately, we had flashlights. It was quite dark once inside the cave. There are Buddha statues everywhere. From what I gathered from the guide -- I was really hot so only half listening--the upper cave was for royalty. The lower cave was for the commoners.
After the cave, we went to Wat Xieng Thong. Due to the beginning of lent, a ceremony was taking place in the main temple. Our guide mentioned that the United States Embassy donated money to renovate the temple because it was in a very dilapidated state. We then visited a few small temples on Sakkalin Road and did a bit of shopping.

We went back to the hotel, changed money to small denominations because the money exchanges said they had no dollars only Kip, and took a nap before dinner.
Live2Travel1000 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2014, 05:11 PM
  #23  
 
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Reading along still and enjoying.
dgunbug is offline  
Aug 8th, 2014, 02:23 AM
  #24  
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July 12, 2014
My impression of LPQ is that it is beautiful--very lush and green and the people were very friendly. It was very different than Vietnam. LPQ is not a big city. To me, LPQ has a very relaxed feeling. Our hotel-The Belmond La Residence Phou Vao was gorgeous. Tint, our guide, was patient, had a wealth of information and truly liked being a guide. He was very conscientious and was diligent about reminding us to put on insect repellent. He was very concerned about our health--even reminding us to put on insect repellent when we go to Siem Reap. At the airport, our guide, Tint gave us a token from Luang Prabang. It is a magnet of Wat Xieng Thong. It was a very touching jesture. I have already put it on our fridge.

Today, we flew from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai. It took us all day because I changed our flight from Laos Airlines to Bangkok Airways. Unfortunately, when I booked with Laos Airlines, I did not realize that they had several plane crashes with fatalities. I did not want to take the risk especially since they are not certified with IATA nor registered with IOSA. I had to change around our entire itinerary, but feel it was worth it. We had a lay over in Bangkok--feeling a little sick, probably the tiger shrimp from dinner the night before!!! We used the Priority Pass lounge while waiting in Bangkok for our delayed plane. Landed in Chiang Mai about two hours late. We were greeted by Wanna Tours. Our guide is Nok and driver is Poi. Wanna Tours is excellent!!! Vachira the owner's son met us at our hotel. Once we checked into the hotel, Nok and Poi dropped us off at The Good Earth restaurant. You take off your shoes downstairs. One has the option to eat inside in the air conditioning or outside. We chose the inside because of the mosquitoes. From what I remember, we were so hungry we ordered the left side of the menu!! . Also, the food tasted very similar to our authentic Thai restaurant near our residence. (We have a great Thai restaurant where the owners are from Thailand, Panya Thai.) I don't know if both restaurants, The Good Earth and Panya Thai have adjusted their flavoring to accommodate Westerners or if they are both really authentic. I just know at both restaurants the flavors and amount of spiciness is perfect.
We walked back from The Good Earth to our hotel. We were really tired and didn't spend a lot of time at the night market.
Live2Travel1000 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2014, 06:46 AM
  #25  
 
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Luang Prabang is lovely, I agree. And La Residence Phou Vao is a fabulous place to stay. One of the delights in LP is just relaxing and soaking up the atmosphere - wandering to wats off the tourist track, It sounds like you had guides all the time so no time for wandering.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 9th, 2014, 04:37 AM
  #26  
 
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We have not yet been to Laos. I'm wondering which part of your trip you most enjoyed between the different countries.
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Aug 9th, 2014, 01:45 PM
  #27  
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Kathie---we had guides in Vietnam, Laos, Chiang Mai, and Cambodia. We wandered around in the evenings in Chiang Mai. We didn't have a guide in Kuala Lumpur. We did two day tours and two days on our own in Bangkok.

dgunbug---my favorite places were Luang Prabang and Siem Reap
Live2Travel1000 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2014, 04:35 PM
  #28  
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Correction for restaurant in Chiang Mai--it is Whole Earth not The Good Earth.

July 13, 2014
Before deciding to go to an elephant camp, I did quite a bit of research. We wanted an experience where the elephants are treated humanely and where there would not be groups of people. After much deliberation, we chose a private camp entitled Elephant Life Experience. We had a fabulous time. We bathed the elephants and learned different commands to communicate with the elephants. We fed them sugar cane which they loved. We had a delicious lunch. We did take the raft ride. It was actually an adventure because the river was running fast due to the rain from the night before. We definitely wore the life jackets provided. It was peaceful floating down seeing all the elephants and elephant camps along the river.

We then went to the hill tribes. I found learning about the various hill tribes extremely interesting, but I think that their lives are put on display for tourists.

After the hill tribes, we drove back to visit a few important temples in Chiang Mai. We also went to the Sunday Walking Street. We bought a few things, but then it got so crowded that we could barely walk. We called it a day.

July 14, 2014
We took a full day trip to Chiang Rai & The Golden Triangle. This was a very long day, but worth it.
First we stopped at The White Temple--Wat Rong Khun. It is really amazing. It looks like a winter wonderland. The artist of the temple was taking pictures with visitors. After The White Temple, we stopped at Chiangsaen to see the ancient ruins and temples. We really enjoyed stopping here because we were the only people around!! Next, we drove to the Golden Triangle where the countries of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet at the Mae Khong River. We took a lot of pictures and bought T-shirts. We stopped for lunch and then headed to the border of Thailand and Myanmar. We crossed into Myanmar. Our guide had prepared us that Myanmar may keep our passports. Fortunately, they let us keep our passports. We went to a market close to the border. As we entered the market, men were aggressively selling cigarettes and Cialis. We walked around the market looking for touristy goods, but this market mainly had clothing, shoes, etc... We spent a little while at the market and then crossed back into Thailand. On the drive back to Chiang Mai, we stopped at a place that sold delicious home made pie.
Live2Travel1000 is offline  
Aug 13th, 2014, 01:33 AM
  #29  
 
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My favorite cities were Luang Prabang and Siem Reap too! I still have both under my skin and can't wait to go back one day. Thanks for your report. It's good!
Lolazahra is offline  
Aug 13th, 2014, 04:01 AM
  #30  
 
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Just curious what the condition of the white temple is. I heard it had been badly damages in an earthquake recently. What an amazing artistic creation. I was so saddened to hear about the damage, but relieved to see that you were still able to enjoy it.
dgunbug is offline  
Aug 13th, 2014, 05:53 PM
  #31  
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Thank you all for reading!!

I went back to work this week so I have been lagging behind in my posts!! Will continue my report this weekend.

I looked at the pictures of The White Temple and didn't notice any damage. Since the owner is on sight every day, I imagine it was repaired quickly.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 07:09 PM
  #32  
 
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Glad to hear the artist is repairing the white temple.

You are right about the hill tribes you visited - I don't recommend those kinds of hill tribe visits. I also don't recommend the excursion into a market just across the border of Myanmar for the reasons you saw.

Sounds like you had a wonderful trip - good for you for researching the elephant camp!

Enjoying your report.
Kathie is offline  

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