Luang Prabang is another UNESCO world heritage site, our first for a while (I think Cusco in Peru was our last one), and not a particularly large with a population around the 60,000 mark.
Getting round would be easy enough on foot, but the heat is quite intense so we borrow free bicycles and spend a wonderfully enjoyable day pottering round on two wheels with the wind helping to keep us cool and exploring the many cafes and and bars for much needed cold liquids.
We find what is possibly the coolest bar on the planet called Utopia overlooking the Mekong and get a little excited when bizarrely on the positions vacant notice is a role for a wastewater consultant….we couldn’t possible relocate to Laos. Could we?
Today is my Dad’s birthday so we try to find an internet connection capable of sustaining a FaceTime conversation. This proves to be a challenge as it appears that the internet has the same urgency for pace as the location population, but eventually we find somewhere that just about provides a half-decent connection.
We find time to watch a glorious sunset over the Mekong before its time to head to the bus station for our first overnight bus in Asia…..which ends up being a bit of shock after our luxurious business class trips across Argentina.
When the lights on the bus came on I don’t think we knew what to make of the sight that greeted us. A bus with two padded aisles (as with Laos houses, you have to remove your shoes before entering) and three rows of bunk beds. In total there are around 50 ‘beds’, which might be the right size and offer some level of comfort if you are of Asian build.
Sadly at 6ft, I am not of Asian build and spent a rather uncomfortable night seat belted to a bed that was too small for me (not helped by the total lack of luggage racks and therefore needing to keep my rutsack between my legs). We were treated to some 1990s style neon lighting . I think even the ever chipper Cliff would have struggled to sing a happy song about this trip.
At least we didn’t experience any of the urinating in the aisles that we have heard occurs on some of the buses in Laos…