Monday, January 13, 2014

Luang Prabang Day 4- Kuang Si Waterfalls

On my last day I took a minivan with 8 others to Kuang Si Falls about an hour drive from Luang Prabang. It is a spectacular series of at least a dozen waterfalls of various sizes. It is a nice jungle setting as you walk up to he top revealing each waterfall. Above is the largest waterfall. There is also a Bear Rescue Refuge there. Some cafes at the top and usual kiosks of food and clothing items at the bottom.

First the Bear Rescue area:

The pathway up to the falls thru the rainforest:

The falls start with shallow drops thru wide and narrow areas giving a variety of visions:

Gradually the drops become greater until the big ones near the top:

The play of light on these falls was interesting:

After lunch at a small restaurant over looking the big falls I walked backed down to the bottom and had a couple of nice views:

Then back down to the bottom where vendors and kiosks awaited with their children:

 One child tried to present me with a menu so I could buy from her mother:

One of the small restaurants that has a nice view of the forest:

A very nice way to spend the day!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Luang Prabang, Day 3, Around Town

On the 3rd day a local friend and I got on his motorbike and visited several places in and just out of town. We climbed Phou Si a large hill/mountain in the center of town and visited the National Museum grounds. As well, we visited a couple of temples and village outside of the city.

A view of the Khan River from the top of Phou Si:

And me on top too:

The stairs that lead to the top...good work out:

On the way down the other side there were several gardens of Buddhas:
My friend had a nice Canon DSLR camera and because of that I have several photos of me!

On the National Museum grounds is a temple that is the home of the Phra Bang... a small, buddha that has been stolen fought over many times. No photos of it allowed but the building housing it was beautiful:

Outside the Museum entrance were some typical vendors selling local oranges:

And one of their children:

After the Museum, we got on the motobike for about  15 minutes to visit a temple that we could see from a distance from the top of Phou Si.  The interior was decorated beautifully:

And the exterior with me looking out a window on the 2nd of 4 floors:

From there we motobiked to a nearby village on the Khan River where various crafts were made:

And my friend and guide in another shop:
On the way back to town we stopped for a tranquil view of the Khan River flowing into the Mekong River:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Luang Prabang, Day 2......on the River

On the second day in Luang Prabang I took a 1+ hour boat ride up the Mekong to visit the Pak Ou caves. The 2 caves have thousands of little Buddhas in them and you have to do some serious climbing to get to them. But the real highlight of the trip is the actual cruise up and then back down the Mekong.

In the mornings there is a mist over the river that usually breaks up into a sunny day around 1030am and it is sorta spooky. You can't see the opposite shore of the river and boats on the river early disappear in the mist.

A few river scenes from the trip:

We stopped at a small riverside village on the way to the caves that is "famous" for the whiskey that they make here. Called "Whiskey Village" in the guide books, of course. Here are some photos of some village residents:

Then central plaza was decorated nicely:

And here is a view of the river from the village:

After about an hour and 15 minutes of going upstream we reached the cave area and the sun was out:

The caves, just your typical cave strewn with religious objects:

 The entrance/exit:

One of the children of a worker at the entrance of the cave:

After the climb up, cave visit and return down the steps our boat awaited for the return trip downstream which took about 45 minutes:

A scene from the trip back down the river: