Arriving at Luang Probang at 3am with no accommodation was not the ideal situation after expecting a scheduled 7am arrival. With only a screenshot of the locations of a couple of hostels, along with a few other sleepy, confused travellers we got a Tuk Tuk to the centre and looked for some sort of accommodation. As we soon realized, solely by knocking on the doors or even walking into a dark reception, there was always a tired local there to offer you a room dependent on availability. Right in the centre there were many hostels/ hotels which were quite expensive but due to our late arrival we were able to haggle a discount for the night.
With the room prices in the area all slightly above our price range we had a wonder in search of cheaper accommodation for the remainder of our stay. Only a short walk away, we found the small cute and quaint Thalinh guesthouse on Sisavangvong Street in the ideal location; just set back from the night market, at the start of the old town and at the foot of Monk Mountain and it was along the streets where the monks received alms at 6am. We forced ourselves to get up at 5:30am to be able to watch this. It was owned by a very friendly and helpful old man but was not your typical guesthouse as there were only four rooms kept to a very old fashioned style with French influence. The old town was quite pretty, lined with many French colonial buildings, housing hotels, shops and restaurants.
A visit to the top of Monk Mountain at sunset is a must with impressive views over the whole of Luang Probang and its meandering section of the Mekong River. Unfortunately, going up at this time of day, meant the Monks had already left which was a shame as conversations with them are supposedly very interesting and worth while.
Sunset from Monk Mountain Monks collecting alms at 6am
Both lunch and dinner overlooking the river was nice, being such a wide section of the Mekong and with so much activity. Considering its location and views, neither meal was expensive and food was very nice, especially our evening meal. The spring rolls were definitely my favorite to date although Lou was not convinced.
Due to the location and nature of the night market, Sisavangvong Street becomes free from vehicles from around 5pm on a daily basis when the stalls are set up lining both the road and pavements with small red and blue Marques.
Filled with a range of clothing, paintings and souvenirs, with all stalls in a very organized and tidy fashion it is a nice market to visit. For those less interested in shopping, There is also a wide range of street food, both sweet and savory along one of the side ally ways
Kuang Si Waterfall
A visit to Kuang Si Waterfall had to be done with it being one of the main attractions in the area. Despite it being an hours drive away at the back of a van and at a total cost of 120000 kip (both drive and entrance fee), it was definitely worth the visit. It was a relatively spaced out three tiered waterfall with very picturesque turquoise water. With each of the tiers connected via forest trails, at the lower second and third tiers it was possible to swim in the cold but refreshing water where we were able to fully submerge ourselves below the cascades.
The first tier was impressive being a large waterfall of approximately 60m which you were able to view from a narrow wooden bridge directly in front.
As well as viewing the waterfall from the bottom, we also took on the very steep and challenging climb to the top of the falls through the forest. Despite the difficult trek it was nice to walk right along the edge of the waterfall in the water amongst the trees.
Whilst visiting the waterfall, we were also able to walk through a rescue sanctuary for bears. It was nice just to see them living in their natural surroundings along with the effort that is made for these animals and how their lives are changed when rescued, as quite a number were previously kept as pets and severely mistreated.