Last night we left Cambodia taking the plane for Luang Prabang in Northern Laos, The temperature on arrival was pleasantly cool at just around 25 degrees and was welcome after the torrid heat of Siem Reap.
Our hotel continued the high standard of accommodation we have now become accustomed to. Just outside the main town we woke up to idyllic views of paddy fields farmed by lusciously forested mountains.
If there is a place in south east asia I’d willingly spend the rest of my life in then its is here. The fading french colonial villas, the stunning location by the Mekong river, the beautiful temples and, above all, the personability of its inhabitants makes this surely the nearest we’re likely to get to shangrila on our indo chinese trip.
The great river is here contained in a wide gorge and filled with rocky outcrops and often fierce currents.
Fortunately our boatman knew every cranny of the waterway and guided us to some sacred caves known as Pak Ou. Buddhist monks were climbing up the incredibly steep staircase to the higher of the two main caves which are filled with hundreds of statues of the Buddha.
The views from the top were awesome to say the very least.
We crossed the river to have a meal before returning to Luang Prabang where a beautiful welcoming ceremony with offerings and apsara dancers awaited us.
It was a fitting ending to a long and wonderful day which had begun at 5.30 am when we attended to the monks making their early morning begging call for rice and vegetables from the devout inhabitants of this truly seductive town.