The Bamboo bridge is constructed every six months to cross the Nam Khong river during the dry season and is washed away again when the rainy season arrives. They were just finishing it when we arrived and despite still being worked on people still transverse it. It is a sight in itself and the views in the middle of the river are spectacular. I must admit my flippers were a bit shaky crossing it but I am very glad I did!
The museum in Luang Prabang is small but wonderful. Previously the palace before the royal family was exiled. It is essentially a tour of the royal family’s rooms and artefacts the most interesting point is a series of drawings that depict an old Loas legend. Scattered throughout the museum the story is translated in English underneath and you read it as you go through each room. There are also many gifts given to the royal family from various nations including some old 1960’s Cadillacs from the USA. Definitely worth a visit.
Luang Prabang is the true example of French colonial charm. It is quaint and stunning with a feel all of its own. I suppose I see it as an example of the beauty of true fusion. It is set on a peninsula in between the Mea Kong and the Nam Khong Rivers, protected by Unesco it’s a combination of French colonial architecture fused with Laos culture and scenery. The first night I watched the sunset over the Mea Kong I must confess that your breath stops for a moment and the stillness and beauty consumes you.
In sharp contrast to the Greenline bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, which was the height of luxury for bus travel we were informed that the VIP bus from Huay Xai was leaving at 5:30pm arriving in Luang Prabang at 7:30am. It is fair to say that after my last pleasant bus ride my flippers were unprepared for this “VIP” experience. The bus was crammed so much so that there was a scooter in the centre so we had to catapult over it to our seats. In addition there was a large cardboard box of chickens, my pauvre feathered friends, who were sqwaking away especially at each turn along the winding road for fear of capsizing. Well it was a long journey which ended much earlier than expected at 4:30am making finding a place for the night even more difficult. But we arrived safely and thankfully my frightened feathered friends were safe as well. A journey to remember certainly! Sorry the pics are temporarily MIA!
We went from Chiang Rai to Chiang Kong in order to cross to Huay Xai in Loas. There is a very small customs office for Thailand on the Thai side of the river and after having your passport verified you walk down a small dirt incline where a series of boats are moored, only to gaze straight ahead and see Laos beckoning in front of you. The ‘long boats’ that take you across the river take about 3 minutes to cross and although fun seem to constantly leak making those three minutes more of an adventure. We crossed with ease and then settled into a café to decide what to do. (BTW Don't tell anyone i don't have a passport! I havAfter seeing that this was truly a border town we decided to head for the bus station and begin the overnight journey to Luang Prabang.
I didn’t know quite what to expect from The Black House and having seen it I still cannot quite wrap my head around it. Situated in isolation outside the city The Black House seems to be a collection of artefacts situated in and around various houses and huts in a large field. Although seemingly no rhyme or reason to the placement, and no information to hand, it is nonetheless a fascinating place to visit. From furniture to sculpture to animal bones it is a collection quite unlike any other! I would highly recommend a visit. It is peaceful and yet puzzling!
What a spectacular sight! After visiting many Wats a penguin can get a feeling that they are all rather similar. If you are travelling in Thailand and this occurs to you as well make sure you visit the White Temple despite this. It is truly and artistic marvel. The artist is still alive and from what I am told is adding more to his miraculous project. Painted all white and finished with pieces of mirror the temple sparkles in the light as you approach and is beautiful as well as blinding at first sight. Although white gives the feeling of serenity this Temple is anything but. As you approach you will start to notice the skulls surrounding it. You first embark over a small bridge and as you look below there are thousands of hand grasping to escape hell. In fact some of the hands have screaming faces within them giving an eerie first impression. At the end of the bridge is the statue of death standing guard and then the path up to the main temple itself. Although the temple is magnificent you must not miss the gallery around the corner of the artist’s drawings which are magnificent in both imagination and execution. They give you a small glimpse into the mind responsible for this working piece of art. I would return again as I believe it would be impossible not to notice something different each time one visited.
By far the best part of Chiang Mai was the new friends I made. Everyone at the Smith was great and as you can see from the above we had some great times together! Diana, Todd, Andrew and Martina and Janet, it was wonderful to meet you all and I had a great time. I’d like to say a special thank you to James and Wendy as not only were they great company they always found a secret pouch for me when my flippers were tiiiiiiired! Lots of Love, Waddles xxxx
What an amazing Halloween experience! Although not celebrated in Thailand we made a great go of it. As per usual Victoria was very excited for her favorite holiday of the year. Although costumes sized ala pengiun are impossible to find Victoria went to the market for me and made me into, if I do say so myself, a rather handsome ghost! We went to Yummy Pizza about half an hour outside of the centre and had the most wonderful time. We were the only ones in costume which made it even better. It was a great band and and by accompanied by great food and friends....well what can I say it was a perfect evening!
Chiang Mai zoo is incredible! So many other animals to play with! Wooo Hoooo! I know that Adrian and Victoria enjoyed themselves but I have to say it was even better for me! As wonderful as humans are it is sometimes nice to go back to your roots! The best part of course was the Penguin Pavilion where I met an old friend of the family so I got to hear all the news from home! What an amazing day!!!!!