I had planned to keep going north and cross the border to Myanmar after Laos. However, I learned that this was not possible, for 2 reasons: 1-there are no buses running across this border, and 2-the online visa/visa on arrival options are not available for anything but flying into the 3 biggest airports in Myanmar. This meant that I would have to fly from somewhere, and I figured out that going back to Bangkok would make the most sense for more options and for cheaper options.
The road to Luang Prabang was beautiful, nonetheless, and it was a really nice ride.
I arrived in pouring rain and wound up in a cluster of “how long can I wait before getting too hungry?” at the hostel. After getting berated by 2 just-turned-18 girls from the US for not liking Hillary Clinton (“Anyone who says anything negative about her is only doing it because that person is sexist and doesn’t like her because she’s a woman.” Yeah…OK. Maybe she’s just a terrible person?) Eventually, I went to dinner with them and walked around for a bit.
We wound up at the river for the tail end of the sunset, which was a cool start to my time in Luang Prabang.
Back at the hostel, I asked about the famous morning walk of monks going to the temple and begging for food. Instead of going out on the main street at 5:30, a hostel employee said it’s possible to catch the monks coming in front of the hostel around 6 as they hit the neighborhoods for donations. I planned to do that with some people at the hostel and then went to bed.
The next morning, I was out front at 5:40. The monks came at 5:54. The German guy, Dutch girl, and Austrian girls came out at 5:55. Yup. We all went back to bed and planned to hang out later.
The Dutch girl was leaving for Vang Vieng later, but we all went to lunch together (I was introduced to the sandwich carts, which became a staple of my remaining time in Laos) before she went to the bus station & the rest of us got a shared van out to Tat Sae waterfall.
This involved taking a boat across the river and then paying to get into the nature park.
The falls, however, were AWESOME. You could swim, jump off different parts into the water, lay in the sun, etc. Great times.
Back in the city, I went to the sandwich cart for dinner, walked around the night market, ran into a bunch of people I recognized from Vang Vieng, and wound up at the Utopia Bar/bowling afterward combo that is a staple for visitors to Luang Prabang. It was fun and funny.
The morning of day 3, I met a cool British-Pakistani guy at my hostel and wound up walking around the city with him. We walked by the Haw Pha Bang temple, which was closed, and then down to the bamboo bridge, which had been submerged by the recent rains.