Ok, second stop in Laos! Luang Pruabang is probably one of the most famous towns in Laos and it is definitely the most touristy! I guess before I headed over there I had visions of this relaxed, charming Buddhist town with few people and few western luxuries. But I guess once 'UNESCO' gives your town the heritage stamp then everyone start to flock in, especially when you open an international airport right on the edge of town.
The first shock I received when I arrived in Luang Pruabang was the expense! It seems that everything was about a third more expensive than Vang Vieng and my dorm room hostel ended up costing more than my private room guesthouse I was staying at previously. the next thing that I noticed was that all the trendy backpackers I'd been seeing round Vang Vieng had now been swapped for rich retirees and middle aged vacation seekers. This is not really a bad thing, though when there are people with money (and not afraid to spend it) then everything is generally made to cater and appeal to their needs.
The reason this place is on UNESCO world heritage list is due to its charming French architecture and it's Buddhist landmarks (Wats, Wats, and more Wats). I guess after I saw past the obvious touristic chaos, then I really did start to enjoy the town a little more. The Wats were pretty and unique and the architecture really was quite charming. This is also made all the more impressive by the 2 rivers that are on either side of the town (Mekong and I don't remember the other).
While I was there I met up with Joey and Skye once more and we hung out for a bit. We ended up recruiting a few others and headed over to a waterfall that was about 30km out of town. The waterfall is pretty and the water temperature was chilly but refreshing! There is also a bit of a rope swing there which was relatively tame compared to the ones in Vang Vieng, but still fun none the less.