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Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel
May 14, 2008
From journal Between Udom Xai and the Mekong
by joel goldschmidt
RED BANK, New Jersey
December 9, 2005
Luang Prabang remains one of the few places in Southeast Asia that has not been ruined by commercialization. That is why we are returning there for the second time in March, 2006. Being there on your own is a breeze so an organized tour is not necessary. We rented bicycles for a dollar a day (do you believe that?) and rode from wat (temple) to wat. There are dozens of these temples in Luang Prabang and wandering by bicycle with a map is a very pleasant way to see them. Even without a map you can't miss them. Be sure to visit the Wat Xiang Thong and Wat Mai. And believe it or not, you don't have to pay to go into them. The temples are extraordinary and contain lovely artwork and statues. There is also a palace that is of mild interest, but I would still recommend it.
For the palace, you have to pay a small fee to enter. There is a hill overlooking the city with a temple up there, but it is hardly worth the effort to trudge up there in the heat. Down the river there are historical caves containing hundreds of Buddha statues that can be visited. One makes arrangements with a boatsman to take you there from the city. We have been to Myanmar and Cambodia to see the archeological areas and they are fantastic. Luang Prabang is quite different. It is a very laid back place and you need not be in a hurry to see it all. Two or three days would allow you to get a feel for it, but I warn you, you won't be ready to leave there after such a short visit. Enjoy!
From journal The Unspoiled Destination