10th. February, Luang Prabang 1 – initial exploration
The journey went well with no mishaps, but it was of course long – nearly 24 hours. I did not meet the other 2 members of the group until we were getting our visas in Laos.
Luang Prabang is an attractive place (UNESCO heritage site) with many old buildings including the monastries. It is picturesquely situated at the confluence of the Nam Khan river with the Mekong. It reminds me of Pokara with the water and the surrounding wooded but less high hills. We had no guided programme today but explored on our own after lunch by the big river (the Mekong). The golden temples lining the main (Wat) street were all shining in the late afternoon sun but monks seemed to be scarce at that time of day. I did though spot some of their orange robes on a washing line. I visited briefly Wat Sibounheuang, Wat Si Moungkhoun, Wat Sop, Wat Saen and Wat Xieng Thong.
Back at the hotel a small group of Chinese seemed to be taking part in an art course. They wanted to use me as a subject and I was drawn at least 4 times, some of the efforts were not bad. Our first hotel is rather modest having small rooms but there is a pleasant courtyard where we have breakfast.