Home > Southeast Asia Trip, Uncategorized > Luang Prabang: Rant on Modern-Buddhism + Waterfall trip

Luang Prabang: Rant on Modern-Buddhism + Waterfall trip

Well our first full day in Luang Prabang reminded me of Vancouver: Rainy.

We started off the day buy picking up muffins (7,000 kip) and Cappuccino (18,000 kip) for breakfast before heading pack to our guesthouse to map out of route for the day.  We knew the town was small, so we decided against renting bicycle’s since we didn’t want to finish our exploration of the city before lunch.  Instead we started out walking down the main road until we stopped into Haw Kham (the former royal palace).  It wasn’t anything too special in my eyes, although the buddhist shrine on the compound was pretty nice.  The “royal car” collection consisted of a miniscule 5 cars + boat – all old, nothing really standing out.  There was alot of signs promoting “The Floating Buddha” which turned out to be quite the letdown: a small photography collection made the previous years of various monks.  After this we walked alongside the river for 10 minutes before we got to Vat Xieng Toung.   We walked down the river steps to admire the Mekong before climbing back up and entering the temple.  1 minute later it began to pour down with rain.  We stayed in the main temple before realizing it wouldn’t die out anytime soon.  The thing that ticked me off here was a tour guide SCOLDED me for having my feet pointed at the Buddha (understandable – since no signs/warning on such unnaceptable behaviour was posted)… Then the lady had the audacity to basically yell a brief history to 1 lone american tourist in this quiet temple… Any you try and tell me I was disrespectfull?  Excuse me, but Neo-Buddhism needs to get it’s shit in order here…

No no no, don’t point your feel, but I can disturb the silence of this tranquil place, and bellow out answers to stupid/simpleton questions from western tourists because this lady paid for a private tour!…..

That’s not mentioning the monk we saw at the internet cafe in the capital watching videos of half-naked women at Brazil’s carnival.  Or the gaggle of young monks who hoot and holler around like a pack of troublemakers.

Tourism + Buddhism = do not mix.  Pick one or the other people, your destroying the core beliefs.

Anyways after this we saddled up (and me wanting to get out of the presence of this haggled lady) and just ignored the rest of our itenerary (since the architecture looks pretty much the same after a while).  We spent some time looking for a resteraunt we saw in Lonely Planet with Laos food that didn’t exist (not the first: thanks for nothing Lonely Planet).  We did stumble accross the book exchange (you pay a couple bucks to trade in your old book for another one, money going to children) where I WAS ONCE AGAIN SCOLDED my a middle-aged bitch (this one british), because I stepped towards a non-signposted bookcase thinking the books were also for sale.  So after that I just wanted out of there.  It’s really a shame, the poor kids not getting money because you have a nut-case like that running your store.   On the way out we overheard her rambling to a Laos guy about how America WAS NO LONGER A WORLD POWER…. This was the closest I’ve ever felt to running up to an old lady and smacking some sense into her…  What a nut-case! You should have seen her!

We stopped for lunch before climbing up Pho Si – the main hill in the center of the city.  They have a temple up top where we admired the view of the city.  We opted to head down the other side, where we were amazed to see a bunch of Buddhist statues.  There was even an imprint of the Buddha’s foot here (scepticism on my part).  On the other side of the hill we stumbled accross Lao Airlines where we confirmed our flight (you have to here or else loose seat) for our flight to Chiang Mai, Thailand on the 2nd.  We then basically killed the rest of the day at our guesthouse while chatting for a couple hrs with a Tazmanian couple.  We then decided to try the street vendors for dinner – which turned out to be a wise decision.  10,000 kip for 3 fresh bbq’d chicken wings ($1.25), then 5,000 kip for a plate of assorted noodles/rice.  It was the best meal under $2 i’ve ever had.

This morning we were up and out the door at 8:30.  We nabbbed another 7,000 kip muffin for breakfast along with a 7,000 kip coffee.  We hired a tuk-tuk up to Kuang Si Waterfalls after some quick  bartering (200,000 kip was his asking price, we got it for 120,000 kip).  It was a trip up to the mountain, he waited for us there, and drove us back down.  We got there relatively early (20,000 kip entry fee), so there was only a handfull of other people there when we arrived.  First you walk through the bear sancutary, where rescued bears are taken care of by a non-profit organization.  Then there are three fall areas to swim in.  We worked our way up and were amazed by the water.  The second pool was the best, as it had a jump off the waterfall you could do, along with a ropeswing from a tree into the water.  We spent a good hour in this pool before a quick dip in the final pool.  After this we walked up to the actual waterfall and snapped some pictures before hiking up to the top.  The muddy path was very dangerous with few people venturing up to the top.  We made it up and walked around in the water up top while staring over the edge of the falls.  It was then a slow climb down, thankfully neither of us slipped (Duncan did get a couple leeches attached to him).  We left the falls at 12:30 and were back in town by 13:15 where we dropped our bags up and had some more chicken for lunch.  Jonesing for some treats we headed to a corner store we we grabbed some banana/chocolate crepes, along with a banana/coffee shake (all for 12,000 kip).  The rain then started to pour so we jogged over to this internet cafe where I await the end of the wetness.  We just got emails from the Dutch couple saying they arrive into Luang Prabang at 17:30 tonight, so we hope to meet up with them for some beers around 9:00 (just before the 10:30 curfew this town has).

We fly out to Thailand tomorrow on Laos Airlines: Turboprop… I figure to avoid being scared on the flight, I’m just gunna accept death before takeoff.  Expect the worst and you will never be dissapointed.

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