The road is long to Luang Prabang and I appreciate being able to sleep, not needing a hotel that the night is cold and if the air conditioning does not work much better than it is in the light of day blazing sun. As usual in Laos we must be patient. The bus stops everywhere and we dunno why. Sometimes, the driver or the employees stop delivering a parcel to their mothers or their families living far from the city. The streets are dark, the villages lack electricity, many took the opportunity to pray Buddha with candles and offerings in their family sanctuary.
The road from Vang Vieng, takes between 4 to 6 hours depending on if you have a bus or a train that stops in small mountain villages. The mountain road are an experience close to a Russian mountain. I managed to get some sleep but i woke up when my head made a jump to the bottom. We are finally in Luang Prabang, the slow down towards to the river and the Mekong made me realise that the city is nearby. The ride takes almost 12 hours, but I forgot to tell you that the bus made a stop of one hour due to zero visibility caused by thick fog in the mountains.
Once at the bus station I resume my mind quietly and watch the tuktuk dancing trying to find customers. As usual, I decided to walk further to see if it’s close enough to go there on foot. Unfortunately, my backpack’s is heavy and the road is finally a little too long to get there on foot. I stop tuktuk offering me a to enter the city to lean $ 15,000 kip ($ 2). It is now 7 am 30, I sit in Hive bar stairs of my Canadian friends for some, but for me Quebecois. The bar is closed, but I do not know yet where I’ll stay. It is indeed a landmark that makes me realize that I am actually arrived. I will talk about these friendly owners in another story, Simon and Isabelle, who fell in love with Luang Prabang and decided to invest time and money to live there and open a ‘bookshop, a fair handycrafts shop and a lounge bar with varied activity.
I plan to hide my biggest bag in the courtyard of the bar and pick up a guesthouse with my precious belongings and return for them later. But I give up this plan and I walked into the streets to try to find a place to stay to meet my budget more than limited. I barely do ten feet on the street when a lao folk on a motorcycle wonder if I place to sleep. I replied that I don’t know and that my budget is rather limited. He leads me directly to Luang Prabang backpackers hostel. A place that seems to have friendly people and not too overrun by unruly travellers. It offers many free services such as transportation from the bus station, wifi, lockers and free excursions such as: guided tour of the ceremonial offerings to the monks at sunrise and a tubing session on the Nam Kham river.
This post is also available in: French