Rent a bike to visit the more remote temples

Luang Prabang Buddhist novices

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.

silver nagas at Wat Hosiang Voravihane

Surprising discovery when I cycle around Luang Prabang

stupa at Wat That Luang

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.

Buddha under bodhi tree at Wat That Luang

Talking to Buddhist novices at the river junction

monk leaving Wat That Luang

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.

cycle around Luang Prabang: Mekong and Nam Ka junction

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

Wat Mahathat temple in Luang Prabang
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.