On yer bike!
Posted Date: 7/11/20133:23 AM
This was a bit of an achievement for me as I haven’t been on a bike for about 18 years and I was a bit unsure. However, just like riding a bike, you never forget! I was especially pleased to have a lovely, pink, ‘hello kitty’ bike. We cycled down by the Mekong River and stopped at what is apparently Luang Prabang’s best example of a Wat. I said it is apparently Luang Prabang’s best example of a Wat. Wat Xieng Thong was built by King Setthathirat in 1560 and remained under royal patronage until 1975. The temple was actually pretty impressive, considering how many temples we have now seen. There were loads of Buddhas inside. My favourite was the giant gold buddha surrounded by lots of little Buddhas!!
The temple is still used by monks so there were a lot of them in the grounds. Women are not supposed to sit next to or get too close to the monks so I felt quite intimidated and kept trying to avoid eye contact incase they wanted me to give them rice (I’ll explain later). There are loads of monks in Luang Prabang walking around in orange robes. Every morning they walk around the town at 6am collecting alms (i.e food, mainly rice) which is their food for that day. They are not allowed to buy or prepare their own food so they rely on the locals (and now tourists) giving alms. We didn’t actually manage to see this procession but we heard the drums waking up the monks at 4am every morning. Kev says they’re a bunch of freeloaders who kept waking us up anyway!!!
Afterwards, we cycled up to the Royal Palace Museum. Lonely Planet said this was unmissable but we beg to differ. It was a lovely building from the outside set in beautiful gardens and inside was quite nice but not worth the $3 entrance fee, especially as photography wasn’t allowed. There was a beautiful temple located in the grounds which was free and I think we spent more time in there.
In the evening, we went in search of the (food) night market, not to be confused with the (textile) night market behind our guesthouse. We got there and there were loads of stalls selling different things ranging from fish and chicken to noodles and Lao delicacies. We weren’t really sure what to do so stood watching for a bit to see if we could figure it out. People were leaving with things in bags and we thought they were getting some kind of takeaway! It turns out that you go to each stall and get what you want in a bag and then sit down and put it all onto a plate yourself. It was really delicious, fresh and cheap.
Source: Karen & Kevin’s World Trip blog.