Looking for the ultimate trek in Luang Prabang

After an uncomfortable night from the iffy food, I (and so was Raquel) awoke to our upstairs neighbours making a lot of noise. When I say a lot, I mean enough to wake us up at 6am with jumping, speaking very loudly and even a spot of singing. The walls of the hotel were thin, but this group of Americans was abnormally loud and obnoxious and fortunately left the hotel shortly after 7am, having kept us awake for over an hour.

I was still feeling ill from the food the night before so we decided to sleep in for a while just so that I could recover from the stomach bug. Raquel had breakfast at the guesthouse, which for the first time of the trip, was not included in the rate, and we were not impressed by the overpriced breakfast given to us.

It was close to lunch time when felt I could venture further out a bit for something to eat (I was hungry), however we had a few other objectives for the day which we need to tend to after lunch.

Street scene from Laung Prabang

Street scene from Laung Prabang

Our first objective was to find another hostel, as we were not happy with our current one for several reasons. The location was not that great as it was a 10-minute walk from the central part of Luang Prabang, which was not very convenient, especially late at night. Furthermore, the walls of our hostel were very thin, so much so that we kept hearing what was going on in all the other rooms.

Some more from the streets

Some more from the streets

The second objective was to find a tour operator that offered tours, which Raquel and I were interested in. We wanted to do a longer trek than we did in Vietnam, but more importantly, we wanted to do something, which was more authentic than in Sapa, where we didn’t even know whose home we were doing our homestay in.

We found somewhere to have lunch, which despite the decent quality of the food was slightly expensive for what we were expecting. It was during lunch that Raquel got me a Coke, the first fizzy drink I had drunk since the start of the honeymoon. For anyone who knows me, knows that I love Coca Cola, and it was not easy, abstaining from it for so long.

Some more from Luang Prabang street

Some more from Luang Prabang street

After lunch we walked around central Luang Prabang looking for hostels for us to stay. It was Tuesday, and we had decided that we wanted to do a trek on Friday, so we just needed somewhere to stay for two nights and decided we just end up staying there again after our trek. We checked out a couple of options but most seemed above our $20 a night ceiling and the ones that were under, were not of the highest quality.

We finally found a place, which seemed decent at a good price, with exactly the same amenities of our previous hostel but only a two-minute walk from the main night market, which we booked for the two nights and ticked that of our list.

On the main road in central Luang Prabang, close to where the night market is located we found what were dozens of tour operators offering treks and tours of things in and around Luang Prabang, until we walked past one which I had read of before on Uncornered Market on a post they wrote about the hill tribes of Laos.

After speaking quite a few others operators, none of them really caught our attention, but White Elephant Tours, as recommended by Uncornered Market, was different. The man who was at the office told us about there Remote Villages Trek, which was unique because they were the only operator who operated in the area. It seemed intriguing that we were going somewhere, which wasn’t overrun with other travellers and tourists. We decided that we would do this three-day trek as it appealed to us the most.

An interesting board outside White Elephant Tours

An interesting board outside White Elephant Tours

With our main objective achieved, we could relax and enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening in this very chilled out city. We hadn’t seen too much of the city the day before, so walked around for a while and took the amazing vibe of the city. It just felt like such a peaceful place, especially with the amount of monks walking around.

The faces from the night market

The faces from the night market

Our long calm walk was followed by some good dinner, which consisted of some baguette sandwiches and really good fruit juice. This was followed by a very pleasant walk through the main night market which at times seemed to go on forever!

The great stuff at the night market

The great stuff at the night market

I loved this night market, because unlike those in Vietnam and Cambodia, their approach was to sit or lay down and wait until you approached them. No hassling, no “you buy something please”, no chasing after you… just pure bliss looking at all the great stuff and colours of the market.

Despite the bad start to the day, we ended up having a good day in what was already looking like a great place to just chill out and relax.

This post was based on our day of the 2nd of October 2012

**Practical Details**

Hotel: Liberty Guesthouse– Double room including AC, TV, Fridge and ensuite bathroom $15 per night (see our review of hostel here)

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