Lovely Luang Prabang

Date: 13/04/2007 | Author: Gabby

By the time we arrived in Luang Prabang, Florence's cold had developed into a really nasty cold sore and, I suspected, impetigo. Poor little thing, she was so self conscious about the huge sores on her face she couldn't bear to look up at Khone, our Luang prabang Guest House owner, who met us from the boat.
We had booked in to Khone and Khune's Guest House, in a small village about 4km out of Luang Prabang on the recommendation of Travelfish - a great online resource if you're travelling through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.
Khone and Khune's is a family run guest house and when I read they had kids I thought it would be great for the girls to have some local kids to play with as they have been really missing their friends from home. Unfortunately, their 2 daughters were away in Vientiane at school but there was Fly, their 8 year old son. There were also 4 cats and 4 dogs (3 of them puppies), all very healthy and well looked after, so, in contrast to our usual rule of not touching any animals in Asia, the girls were delighted when I said they could play with these. Ella and Florence were in their element and I knew they'd be happy here.
It was clear very quickly that Khone and Khune were good hosts, they only have 6 bungalows - we occupied 2 of them and were the only guests. They went out of their way to help us, run us in to town, recommend places for us to go as well as sort out a good Doctor so I could get Florence some antibiotics.
By our first night in Luang, I loved the place. It has a laid back air of sophistication I haven't experienced in anywhere else in Asia. It is now a Unesco world heritage site and is a perfectly preserved area of local and colonial teak houses, French provincial architecture and gorgeous temples encircled by mountains at the confluence of the Mekong and Khan rivers. There's a huge range of accommodation to stay in, great cafes and restaurants as well as decent wine and coffee! There are over 60 temples in the city, with monks and novices living in many of them, so the orange robes are very much part of the Luang Prabang scenery.
By day 2 we had decided to extend our 4 or 5 day stay and stay until Pi Mai Lao (Lao New Year) nearly 2 weeks away. With Florence recovering and Ella feeling that she'd arrived in heaven, we didn't think it was a bad place to stop for a while.
It was an amazing, relaxing time until the New Year mayhem started. We kayaked down one of the many surrounding rivers, we swam in the turquoise swimming pools at the Kuang Xi waterfalls, we ate really well, and just generally soaked up the atmosphere in this lovely city.
Khone and Khune became like friends. It was a lovely way to experience Laos. Sometimes you get more out of staying in one place for a while rather than haring around a country trying to grasp a little of this, a little of that. I never imagined we would spend so long in one place in this landlocked country - Luang Prabang didn't let us down.

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