Rent a bike to visit the more remote temples
As it is a somewhat lazy day, I decided to cycle around Luang Prabang a bit today. First, I have an extensive breakfast diagonally opposite my guesthouse. The waiter starts a conversation while during my meal. He wants to know whether I already visited the Kuang Si Falls. He can arrange the trip by mini-van. Initially, I wanted to do this by boat, but I confirm anyway. I also rent a bicycle from him, as I want to cycle around Luang Prabang today to visit the somewhat more remote temples. I need to deposit my passport to borrow the bike, something I am not eager to, but it is not unusual to do this.
Surprising discovery when I cycle around Luang Prabang
As I cycle around Luang Prabang, I head south and finally find Wat Hosiang Voravihane, with great silver-colored nagas at the entrance. Then I go even further south and find Wat That Luang, and that is a tremendous surprise. I saw enough temples recently, but this is the most beautiful of Luang Prabang. Beautifully detailed black window frames, a beautiful Buddha inside, a great stupa outside, plus an atmospheric Buddha statue under a bodhi tree. I am satisfied that I went to this place: not so many tourists make an effort to do so.
Talking to Buddhist novices at the river junction
Then I pedal back to the center to visit the museum. One more time, that turns out to be closed today. Somehow I do not seem to manage to visit this place. So I decided to cycle around Luang Prabang a bit more and halt at the junction of the Mekong and Nam Ka river. There I talk to some Buddhist students for a while before continuing my way back to the guesthouse to rest. The cycling in this heat is taking its toll.
Watching a movie to kill the time
After a short siesta, I go out to drink and eat something in a bakery shop — a tuna sandwich with a beer. At 4 pm it seems they will show a movie, Million Dollar Baby. Watching movies while on holiday seems a bit inappropriate. But as I have a lot of time to kill, I step inside the venue when the movie starts. It is a poignant story – directed by Clint Eastwood – about a girl who wants to start a boxing career, becomes really good at it, but it turns out dramatically.
Owner not aware of my booking for tomorrow
During the movie, I drank several pints of beer. Afterward, I do not feel any need to cycle around Luang Prabang anymore. So I decide to return the bicycle and collect my passport. The owner says she has several trips on offer. When I tell her that I have already booked a trip to the Kuang Si waterfalls with her staff, it turns out she is not aware of this. The boy with whom I booked this morning is only two days in service. A strange way of conducting business, it seems to me. I do not have to worry, though, she says; to set things straight, I need to come over again tomorrow morning.
Seen enough of this World Heritage City
In the meantime, the alcohol is taking its toll. It is better to stay a bit quiet for the rest of the evening. Tomorrow will be my last day in Luang Prabang. I am looking forward to returning to Chiang Mai. However lovely this small World Heritage City can be, I guess I have seen what I wanted to.