Bowling in Luang Prabang
We finally arrived to Luang Prabang, the UNESCO world heritage city, 24 hours late because of the landslide at the mountains. The first order of business after our ordeal was a hot shower, fresh clothes, a dinner in a nice restaurant and a good night sleep in a luxurious bed.
Finally in Luang Prabang
The next day after we had sufficiently recovered from our experience and were feeling like human beings again, it was time to get a little more organized, so we moved to a much cheaper guesthouse from the luxurious one; and set off to explore the town. And of course almost immediately we again ran into the two German girls from Vang Vieng. Here is a top tip, if you want to find someone in Luang Prabang, just keep walking on the main street, you will pump into them sooner rather than later.
Now, I can’t quite explain what it is about Luang Prabang that I so much like, so I figured I’ll just explain a typical day we had in Luang Prabang.
After waking up, the first order of business is of course breakfast. For this you have a choice of sandwich stalls and noodles. And on this morning we headed to our favourite noodle place on the main road. The place is owned by a nice lady, which we affectionately called our noodle lady. When you go there, the only choice you could have is whether you want thin, medium or thick noodles. I love menus that don’t offer you choice.
Our noodle lady; this is where we usually came for breakfast or lunch
Best noodle soup in Luang Prabang, and cheap too
After noodles, there isn’t really that much to do in Luang Prabang, but to walk around the pretty town. The town centre is on a small peninsula, which means is completely surrounded by a river. So you can walk around the on the river front, or you can go see one of the many Vats (Buddhist temple) the town has to offer. There are a lot of them!
The biggest Vat in Luang Prabang
But there are many more of the smaller ones
Inside a temple
On this day, we decided to hike up the Mount Phousi, that is a big hill in the middle of the town with a temple on top. From here you can get a nice 360 degree view of Luang Prabang.
View from the hill in the middle of the town
Enjoying the views Mount Phousi
As the sun starts to set, you can hire a boat to see the sunset from the river, but we were too lazy (read: cheap) for that, so we just opted to walk to the river front and enjoy the sunset from there.
Sunset by the river in Luang Prabang
After sunset, the night market begins to come alive, as they close the main road with fences, and the markets stalls start to pop up like mushrooms in a rain. I mean that quite literally, on the rainy season it will rain, so all the market stalls have a marquis covering them. We walked around the market for a while, people buying random things. I got an excellent deal on some local alcohol.
Paintings for sale at the night market
Lanterns at the night market
I bought some local alchohol
After that we headed to the Night Market Food alley, which is a small side alley from the main road. And the cheapest place to eat in the evening. Here you have plenty of places selling buffet dinners for 10.000 Kips (about dollar and a half), for which you can choose from various noodles, vegetable dishes, spring rolls, and such; and you can take as much as you can fit on your plate. You can also buy various barbeques that are on offer.
The Lunch buffet we usually ate at
You can also get plenty of different barbecues at the food alley
For dessert you can pick from various small stalls on the alley.
Some kind of fried rice pudding, really good
After dinner it was time to hit the bars on the other side of Mount Phousi . However you shouldn’t except a raving nightlife here. It’s chilled out and all the places close at 11pm; no seriously they do! After this we got a tuk-tuk to the famous bowling alley, we had already heard so much about. By this time our group had grown to eight people, so we managed to negotiate a good deal with the tuk-tuk driver.
As we drove away from the town, we were getting a little suspicious as the town changed into a jungle and the road changed to bumpy dirt road. But in the end we pulled up on a huge industrial building, which we then entered and were shocked to find ourselves standing in a properly lit, huge western bowling alley. It didn’t feel like we were in a Laos anymore. It was like we had transported to Europe or somewhere.
Bowling, the only thing that's open after 11pm
So we opted to have a lane for ourselves with some beers. I hadn’t bowled for a while, but thankfully so hadn’t nobody else either, so we had a blast.
After the bowling alley closed at 2 am in the morning we finally headed back to the town. Still insistent on continuing the night, we set up on table on a terrace of a closed restaurant. We managed to buy some beers from a nearby house that had some lights on and an open door. This is what you will have to do if you want to drink late in Luang Prabang.
Monk shading himself from the sun
And that is a fairly typical day in Luang Prabang.