We arrived in Luang Prabang a little worn out from the crazy van ride from Nong Khiaw. Luang Prabang is a UNESCO protected penninsula of 33 buddist temples. The first order of business here was to secure our Vietnam visas, so we went to the Vietnam consulate and got the $60 process started (cheaper than the $100 application from the US).
Over the next 5 days, we toured the streets, night market, a museum, and a waterfall park. Sylvie also found a clinic to get her #4 rabies shot. Despite the very hot and humid weather, we used the free bikes from our lovely guesthouse to get around the city and the bamboo bridge for short walks into town.
Above: Tuk-tuk driver catching a nap between rides. Below: Garbage collection
Above: Sylvie riding on the bridge along with motorbikes
Above: our favorite hang-out in Luang Prabang, a French bakery
Above and below: bamboo bridge, very rickety
Above: vendor sleeping in her stall at the market…
Our visit to the UXO museum was surely an eye-opener:
Lao People’s Democratic Republic has the unwanted distinction of being per capita the most heavily bombed nation in the world. Between the years 1964 and 1973, the United States flew more than half a million bombing missions (known as the “Secret War”), delivering more than two million tons of explosive ordnance, in an attempt to block the flow of North Vietnamese arms and troops through Laotian territory. It is estimated that up to 30% of all ordnance did not explode. Those unexploded bombs (UXO) continue to remain in the ground, injuring and killing people, and hindering socio-economic development and food security.
Certainly not in any of our history classes. We felt humbled and slightly embarrassed.
Kuang Si waterfalls was absolutely a fabulous visit and just a short tuk tuk ride outside of Luang Prabang. We went there in the early morning hours and it was very uncrowded with good lighting. The falls were flowing beautifully and the setting was lush and peaceful. Besides the waterfalls, the park also houses 23 Asiatic black bears that were confiscated by the Lao Government from illegal poaching and trading.