Saturday, 8 February 2014

A Proper Saturday

Our private ride across the river
Thanks to our late night (or rather early morning) planning session we slept late and enjoyed a proper Saturday brunch at 11am at the Art House Café. We wanted to cross over the river to see the Wats on the other side but the ferry seemed to be going nowhere fast so when a tout offered us his boat for only 15K so we accepted. Of course as soon as we did the truck that the ferry was waiting for turned up which meant it could begin its crossing. Oh well, for only 5K more we had a private cruise across the Mekong.

Two overgrown pagados at Wat Chompet
We hiked up to the first Wat, Chomphet, which was essentially in ruins but did have two nicely overgrown pagodas and a great view back over the river to Luang Prabang. We got to enjoy this view for some time in fact as the afternoon rain poured down so we took shelter amongst the ruins. Luckily the rain didn’t last too long and 15 minutes later we were on our way to Wat Longkhun, which was guarded by two young girls. The girls followed us around to make sure we paid the entrance fee required before looking inside, which was worth it as the walls were covered with interesting murals depicting things like sharks devouring people and horses drowning, all mixed in randomly amongst the typical Buddhist images. 

Wat Longkhun
Our guides letting us into the Wat Cave
It seemed that the entrance fee also included looking at a Wat inside a cave which the girls led us to. They unlocked the iron gate and handed us a couple of torches and we followed them inside. The cave itself was actually more impressive than we thought given the LP description of the place, but that was probably thanks to our two girl guides who were highly entertaining and took great pleasure pointing out all the different Buddha’s, like ‘see, Buddha – no head!’ They took turns with running ahead down into the cave to hide and try to scare us as we walked past as well as showing off to us that they could count to ten in English. 

Delicious hot pot for dinner!
Once our cave tour had finished the girls ran off to find their next customers and we walked along the river to the small town where the ferry was docked. This time we managed to arrive just as it was departing so we jumped on crossed back to town. 

It was well past lunch time so we relaxed for a bit before trying out a hot pot for an early dinner. It was fantastic, similar to fondue Chinoise, except you grill the meat in the middle and have the soup around the edges. It was so good we decided we’d have to have it again before we left. It was off to bed early as we wanted some sleep before our 5am alarm as we planned to be up the next morning in time to witness the monks collecting their morning alms.

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