We woke up at 7am so that we can catch the 8:30am bus to Phonsavan after breakfast. Packed everything and said good bye to our host. She is a v nice lady with a broad smile always. I really like her and her cosy place. We got the lady who stay next to my room to help us to take a picture outside the guest house. She slipped and fell to the floor when she was walking out the gate due to slippery floor. Oouch.. our host rushed out and offer her to put on medication for her. I think she is really nice :)
We wanted to get our bus ticket from our usual travel agent. I stopped at a lao style street side noodle stall and ken went ahead to buy the ticket. I ordered a beef noodle soup and waiting for Ken to come back with the tickets. I waited for quite long and he finally back. and guess wat? “OUT OF TICKET!!” Alamak, we discussed for whole nite and the result is no more ticket to go Phonsavan. haha! and the travel agent is actually quite far away from the noodle soup stall, and he had to take tuk tuk back. hehe..
After our breakfast, we still not giving up to go phonsavan, We tried to get a private van or other option to go phonsavan. There were these 2 japanese gals saw us and asked if we met before. then they told me they saw us jumping up high when taking picture in vang Vieng. As we only jumped once, so i remember i saw 2 japanese gals resting at a bangalow while we were taking the jumping pictures. Tat’s quite funny! Louis actually can’t remember them, but i could. We talked for a while and told them we are going to Phonsavan, then we said goodbye.
We managed to find a public bus to phonsavan at 9am, but seriously, i was feeling very dizzy at that moment, i wasn’t walking straight at times. Knowing 8 hrs on a PUBLIC bus is not easy, with 2nd and 3 rd thought, we decided to drop phonsavan and stay in luang prabang for another day.
We then seek for another guesthouse, we checked out the rooms in Boungnasouk Guesthouse. we did that because i read good reviews about this guesthouse, and i called to book a room and i was told the rooms are full. But the room is not nice, pretty old and i don’t feel comfortable. So i didn’t take the room. There was another guesthouse which cost $45 which is not any figure within our budget. Then we decided to go to the Phousi guesthouse which we had lunch the day before. The friendly waiter was there and he showed us the room. The room is with fan, tv and fridge and cost $15 only. I like the room very much, is very comfortable. the only problem is that the guest house is under renovation, so is quite noisy when the men are at work. And fan rooms are at ground floor, and the curtain is transparent one, no idea if people outside can see what i do inside or not.
It was only 9:30am and is not check in time yet, so we left our backpacks there and went to the National Museum which is just right in front of the guesthouse. THe museum was full of tourists!! We paid x0000kip kept our bags in the locker and started to tour the museum. The museum used to be the Old King’s Palace. We can’t take any picture in there. According to other people’s guide, The King and Queen had their seperate room, there is also one playing room for their children and now it has become a room to display Laos’s traditional dance’s equipment like the musical instrument and masks. There were an area where there are 3 huge potraits of the King and QUeen. and according to other people’s guide, their eyes follow you wherever you go, which we found one of the portraits not so true. There is also an area where they display the gifts to the King from other Countries’ leaders.
Actually the intention of us visiting this museum is to see the Prabang. Prabang is a Golden Buddha statue which was given to Laos by Sri Lankan. Luang Prabang wasn’t called Luang Prabang before the arrival of Prabang. We were thinking how can we leave Luang Prabang without seeing this Prabang.
We then looked around the palace but we can’t see the Prabang. Checked with the receiptionist, then we only know it is not in the visit area which we paid for. Aiya, actually we don need to pay in order to see the Prabang. Anyway, at least we got free guides to tell us stories about the palace. The Prabang is actually a Copy of the real prabang. the Real Prabang is with USSR now because laos owe them money. I felt peaceful looking at the prabang, so i decided to sit down there and rest. In fact, i still felt dizzy.
We then walked to Wat beside the museum, this wat is actually nicely designed.. the whole building is Carved golden, the windows, the doors, inside too. We went in and is really cool and nice. I lied down and almost fell asleep. There is no buddha inside. Later i found out from the internet that the Prabang will be house here soon.
We then walked acrossed to a statue of the Previous King which is just right infront of the empty wat. We then walk closer and found a theatre in there and there was a show showing that nite at 6pm. We bought the cheapest and furthest ticket at USD8, then we signed the guestbook and left. It was 11am and it was time to check in to the Guest house. The room is nicely cleaned up… i laid down and straightaway fell asleep… zzz nice!
Slept for 3 hrs and woke up for lunch. It was about to rain and the nice waiter lend us 2 children size umbrella. we looked pretty funny with those umbrellas, but we still took it. It Rained as soon as we walked out from the guesthouse, so we had our lunch at Blue Lagoon Cafe which is right beside the GUesthouse. The waiters are nicely dressed and very polite too.. its quite a posh cafe to have lunch in an afternoon. They served us bread with garlic butter spread as appetizer then follow by our main course. We ordered local lao food which is a stew chicken and duno wat fish liao. I like my fish very much. Seriously, i don’t really like lao food.
The rain was over as soon as we done with our late lunch. We left our umbrellas in the cafe and started our Wats Explore Journey. Our Intention was to go to Wat Xienthong, but along the way, we saw a lot of wat. so we just dropped by in each wat, take a few pictures and move on. We passed by a primary school and it was their recess hour. It was just after the rain and the kids were playing with the muddy Water on the ground and there were also hawkers selling food. We first visited Wat Saen, Wat Saen also has some very detail drawings on the wall, ceiling and doors. We then visited 1 or 2 wats and reached Wat Xieng Thong at 3:30pm.
Wat Xieng Thong is one of the most important temples in the country of Laos. The word “wat” in Lao means temple, in this case, the Temple of the Golden City. Wat Xieng Thong is very old, built around 1560 by King Setthathirat. At first we were checking out the mosaic in color glass, then we realised there was actually a grand ceremony helding in the wat. The women went into the main chapel, and surround a monk who sat in the center. then they started to read prayers. Outside, there was a camp with a Buddha statue inside and a lot of people knee down. They then bath the buddha statue with water and wipe it clean. at the other side, there were people playing the big drum. At the other side, there are about 50 beds filled with a lot of household items like thermal glass, fan, blanket, container, toothbrush, mirror, and etc.
Everyone started to knee down and pray, i went into the crowd to join them. There was one lao lady who can speak mandarin told me to remove my shoes as is their traditions. I followed but after a while my knees and legs got painful then i decided to walk away and take some pictures. After a while i went back to ask the lady what were the beds for. She told me today is the Last day of the Buddhist New year and those beds were bought by the monks and claim the money later. Those who contributed to the daily household items will get a certificate. She also said that it was raining that day, the buddha was very happy. Before she finish telling me the story, Louis snatched my camera and everyone started to stand up and going after the buddha and so did the lady. they moving the buddha back to the small chapel. I was kind of worry that they will drop the buddha accidentally. They managed to place it into the chapel successfully and everyone started to cheer!
THe ceremony ended at 4:10pm and The crowd dismissed. We then walked around the main chapel and taking pictures for about 10 minutes. When we were about to leave, we saw a man swinging a buddha statue up high and down for few times. It looks pretty easy, so i went into the small chapel and intended to lift it up. But It is very heavy, and both of us couldn’t lift it up at all. We waited for a while til another man came to try, in fact i saw this man in the same place i had breakfast that morning. He managed to lift up halfway only.
The rain went a bit heavy, we had to stay under a tent for about 30minutes til the rain stopped. We suppose to pay 20 000kip to enter the Wat, but it was a special occasion, so we went in free! We left Wat Xien thong at 5pm and we have only one hour to shower before the 6pm show. But we took our sweet time walking back to the guesthouse. It was dizzling thru-out the way.
After shower, we arrived at the Royal theatre (which is right in front of our guesthouse) at 6pm sharp and i was wearing my new Lao pants. The theatre is quite old and the seats were really sinking in. Its not a grand theatre but somehow i like it, very original and authentic. The show started at about 6:15pm with a Welcome speech by a Lao. He speaks in both English and French, but we couldn’t understand him at all. After a slow welcome dance, then a man with green mask danced. His movement is very slow too, and at the background, there is a fake mountain with a Wat on it, and a Monitor Lizard on it. He danced for a while then the Monitor Lizard fell to the ground and the mountain became a bit slanted. And the Monitor Lizard produced the “Ah oh” sound, which is the sound we been hearing everyday from vang vieng to Luang Prabang, we’ve been wondering wat could it be, and we found the answer!
After the green man, then more dancers came out with a king and a queen. then the greenman came in and then the greenman went back to the mountain to adjust the mountain. I believe the story is about the greenman wanted to rescue the kingdom by killing a monster, however the mountain got slanted and it was very dangerous to the kingdom. So the King asked him to readjust the mountain. At that time, i turned to Louis, he was already asleep. Then there was this monkey dance by a few monkeys. They are quite good, although is still slow movement, but they manage to bring out the characteristic of a monkey. The last show is another slow dance with the queen in the center. Louis told me that the queen must had bribe the choreographer thats why she got the chance to dance at the center. The show ended at 8:20pm and we took some photos with the dancers.
We were not hungry yet so we went to the Hmong market to shop for souvenirs. I bought some tshirts and lao coffee. When we were about to leave, we bet the Phuket guy who was sitting beside me on the mini van. He asked us how come we were not in Phonsavan. We wanted to try the food of a restaurant which looks good and serve lao food. but it was full so we decided to go to the cyber cafe first. Right after the Cybercafe, we met the 2 japanese gals again, and they asked the same question as the Phuket guy. We went to to restaurant again, and we were told their kitchen is close.
We ended up eating at a restaurant along the Mekong River again at about 9:30. We had Steamed Fish on banana leaf, soup and Normal Rice. I decided to have a foot massage and Louis went to the Cybercafe to copy his DVD. The foot massage cost only USD4 for an hr! cheap cheap. But duno why the lao gal pour a lot of massage oil on my feet, i nvr seen my feet went so shiny b4. The massage finished at 11pm, and the street was very dark and i was a bit worry. Walked for a while and saw the Yellow Man! Its Louis! The guest house closed at 10:30pm, there was a guy waiting for us outside :)