We arrived in Luang Prabang by boat after completing a two day Mekong Cruise from Huay Xai. I love Luang Prabang, the streets, buildings, friendly people and the peaceful laid back atmosphere. The main central area is all easily explored on foot.

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It is like a town of contrasts.  There are beautifully decorated ornate temples and monks peacefully walking along wide streets which are lined by lovely old colonial French style buildings, wide streets and stylish hotels and restaurants offering a range of Lao and French cuisine.

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Around the corner the morning market selling fresh fruit, vegies, spices, meat, fish with a few specialties thrown in. We saw lots of fat frogs still jumping about (looked a bit like cane toads!) and cute guinea pigs which were destined for the pot, poor things. The weirdest thing I saw was a pair of legs with claws still attached sticking out of a bucket. I wasn’t game to stare too long or take a photo, just hoping it wasn’t bear!

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The night market is an operation in itself. It fills a whole street which is blocked off each night. To think that it is set up and dismantled every night of the week! It sells lots of handicrafts, some beautiful work made locally. We bought some lovely pieces as presents for the family which we will try and post home!

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The temples in Laos are also very beautiful – different to those in Thailand – they have a multi tiered roof and decorated with geometric inlayed tiled mosaic patterns. Many of them are painted with murals depicting the story of Buddha with some Hindu and animism thrown in.

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The centre of town is dominated by Mt Phou Si (sacred mountain). We took the 328 flight of steps to the top to take some nice sunset photographs and also get an aerial view of the town and its surrounds and the tops of the night market stalls as you come down.

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We had a look at the national museum complex which is the former home of Lao royalty.  We also took a trip to the lovely Tat Kuang Si Waterfalls about 32 km out of town. Bruce tried to teach me how to use my new camera to experiment with different shutter speeds to ‘freeze’ the water motion. Few more photos to download!

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The area also houses a complex that is working to save the black bear. They were pretty cute lazing about.

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We will definitely visit Luang Prabang again one day – it was a very peaceful and enjoyable place to visit…oh and did I mention..the food is absolutely delicious. I was tempted to do another cooking class as Lao food is quite different to Thai food but I will have to leave that for next time!

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Oh and Bruce had to take a photo of the Aussie pub, and of course sample a Lao Beer – not the food!

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