11th.February, Luang Prabang 2 – Kuang Si Waterfalls & Temples
In the morning we visited some waterfalls which reminded me of the ones in Croatia. It was possible and pleasant to swim there and we all took advantage of it. In the forest there was also a rescue station for Asian Black Bears (Kragenbären), which looked rather sad. On the way we were taken to visit a Hmong village. They are one of several hill tribes which still partly live in their traditional way. This tribe only came to Laos in the first half of the 19th.century having been driven out by the Chinese. There was a concrete paved path lined with souvenir stalls all round the village which otherwise looked very run-down. However I think the women kitted out in their best traditional dress had made all the needlework themselves.
After a lunch by the Mekong river we had a guided tour of the main temples: Wat Visoun, Wat Xieng Thong and Wat Phousi. The guide does not say as much as the one we had in Nepal so I am glad that I did read the guide books before I came. The temples are well preserved though more modest than those I saw in Burma, but of course we are not in a big city here even if it was once the capital. The final shrine was at the top of a small hill (350 steps) which gave an attractive view of the rivers on either side. In the evening we went on our own to an evening market nearby and had a local meal, albeit amongst many other tourists.