A short trip to Laos (Republic of Lao) in Feb 2007 for the Chinese New Year. It was one of those random trips which I had decided spur of the moment.
Took the plane to Udon Thani Airport, Thailand and crossed the border to Lao, and unto Vietiane by local bus. The Thai bus system is terrific and you can easily access anywhere by public buses.
Had originally decided to visit just Vietiane since I only had a few days to spare. Vietiane didn’t impress me much, a dull city without any personality, built like any non-chalant China sub-city with giant block non-script buildings. Decided to do a whole 12hr bus ride to Luang Prabang. I was kinda glad I made that trip to the World Heritage Site.
Would have been miserable in Vietiane, it was dusty and hot and wildy uncomfortable. The weather was a little cooler in the highlands, althought the skies were overcasted with haze and you could hardly see the clouds, this being the dry season where most of the Mekong river was dry.
It was also the Chinese New Year period, and the whole place was filled with tourists from South China as well as tourists from Thailand. Took me a few hours to find decently priced accomodation during the holiday period. Cheapest I found was average us$25-35 a night.
Luang Prabang -This was the first scene that I woke up to the next morning after a long 12 odd hour bus ride from Vietiane. Loved the mountainous folds, being the dry season, it was hazy and all i saw was grey cloudless skies. The weather being cool was a welcome relief from the sweltering city of Vietiane.
The rather uncomfortable motor boat takes tourists down the Mekong River to Vietnam
The dry season when the Mekong river slows to almost halt.
Bridge to the other side of town. Locals walk free, but foreigners have to pay the bridge toll, equivalent to $1.
As with most places, Luang Prabang seem to be in a massive change, they had some construction going on at the river beds and around the historical town. The whole place was changing, and slowly being turned into tourist museum. Many local residents have moved out, leaving many of the ancient houses renovated into hotels or shops. Every block I explored since to be undergoing some expansion or renovation of some sort.