I got up early and biked around the riverbanks. It was great to do it before the sun was in full force. The riverbanks are just enchanting.
I decided that I had to do the “must do” in Luang Prabang and so I climbed Phoussi Hill. It’s historically important but I really didn’t see what the big fuss was. Fortunately it was cool enough to climb up the 300 some steps so that wasn’t too arduous but it was also overcast when I finally got to the top.
Since it wasn’t sunset it wasn’t overcrowded but as there wasn’t much space up there I could imagine that with more than a couple of dozen people it would get unpleasant indeed. I think that climbing this hill could easily make it onto a “most overrated tourist attractions” list.
I took my time getting back to the hotel where I had a noodle soup at my favorite restaurant down the street. The breakfast in the hotel is really not very good but the noodle shop was fabulous.
After packing up, checking out and leaving my luggage at reception I decided I wanted to cross to the other side of the river even though it was getting near midday and the sun was burning again. Nevertheless I walked over wooden bamboo bridge that crossed the Nam Khan river.
I can see why my guidebook recommended that the trip be done early or late in the day. Midday I found the sun and the heat quite unpleasant and there didn’t seem to be anything particularly interesting to do. Fortunately I ran into the two Swedish ladies who were in my cooking class yesterday and we had a very lovely lunch at a restaurant overlooking the river. I tried a buffalo stew with a very unusual spice that the restaurant said came from the forests of Northern Laos.
I took a last look at the river and made my way back to the hotel to get ready for my departure.
Before leaving the Thavisouk Guesthouse, a word must be said about Kim, the manager of the place. She was Vietnamese and clearly very sharp and very energetic. Although charming and friendly and professional in every way, she got really irritated few days ago when I said that I had booked another excursion to the Kuang SI waterfalls. Her eyes were blazing and if she could have thrown daggers from them she would have. But her professionalism won out and she remained calm , with an effort. Clearly she lost out of commission and it was clear that amassing money was part of her life goal for herself, her husband and her young boy that ran around in a Superman costume. It’s not to be critical at all. It was just clear that she had a very lively commercial sense. Which I actually respect. We bonded a little bit over the ballerina bun which I showed her how to do and she was pleased with that. she was a young woman on the move.
The flight from Luang Prabang left about a half an hour late but was otherwise uneventful. I was worried that I would have a problem getting into Thailand because there was less than 6 months left on my passport but apparently Thai immigration doesn’t take this seriously. Fortunately!