Read Sabaidee Luang Prabang, Lao PDR, Part 1
So, we woke up the next day to the downpour that came with the typhoon Kalmaegi that hit hard the northern hemisphere of Laos. The rain started in the night and didn’t stop until midday. In fact, it kept showering way into the remains of the day with low clouds hanging over the Luang Prabang’s mountain ranges. Anyway, we remained in the room until late morning and finally went down for the breakfast.
One thing so impressive was the courtesy and services of this hotel. They impeccably served us the breakfast amidst the downpour with the delicious eggs Benedict, warm very buttery and flaky croissants, the must-have of strong Lao black coffee in a French-press, homemade yoghurt and all. While the staff tirelessly served their guests, with some mopping away the puddles inside the premises, the stand-in manager calmly told us that the storm had swept away some of the staff’s houses located upstream, causing many people to be quite late for work and for that he sincerely pologized. The Mekhan was actually swelling with its current so fierce it could make one dizzy if staring at it for too long. Just take a look at my Instagram video post and see for yourself.
The Burasari Heritage Hotel is a Thai-owned. And since it was too wet to venture out anywhere, we decided to try their Lao-style lunch. Our order included their somtam or ‘tam bak hung‘ in Lao. Thing is, instead of flavouring the dish with nam pla like the Thai version, the Lao recipe calls instead for shrimp paste or kapi for saltiness. Then, for the sourness, they use makok nam or hog plums that give a unique tanginess to the dish. The green papaya, chopped and sliced, is crisp and delicious. They also served the typical Lao-style black sticky rice (kao gum) in this meal. We also ordered the delicious grilled chicken (made from local free-range chicken), and Lao-style vegetable om soup with freshwater fish.
When the rain subsided into a steady shower, we went for a walk. Equipped with a big umbrella for each of us, we toured the city by walking the three main streets. We first got snug in their royal grand palace which has been transformed into the national museum. Portraying the Kings’ lives and families, the museum contains precious stuff of the Lao royalty. Some gave a strong reminiscence of Thai culture, but most of the Chinese and Vietnamese cultures. Also in the premises is the Prabang Temple that houses Prabang Buddha, the Buddha image that gave the name to this very town.
Perhaps because of its past that closely related to the French, Luang Prabang today is littered with French-style pastries and all. From the lovely tastes of our breakfast croissants, we ventured to try baked stuff from other places also. Our first stop was at the Scandinavian Bakery shop on Sakkaline Road opposite to Wat Sane. We ordered an elephant ear (crispy and nice and aromatic with cinnamon and crispy sugar), a chunky piece of brownie (almost tasteless and filled the space with cheap chocolate, better skip it) and two strong black Lao coffees (lovely to the last drop). This place also serves Western-style breakfast such as eggs on toasts and sandwiches with the prices on the cheap side.
We walked and walked (there’s nothing much to do here, hence the dubbed name of ‘lazy town’ for those of you who might have read about Luang Prabang in publications). We covered all three main streets and observed the swelling and fast-slowing Mekhong and Mekhan along the way. We even bumped into a friend from Thailand on street lining the Mekhong. A great op for a loud chat and a groupie pix.
Across from Wat Xiang Thong, on the Sakkaline Road, has so many guest houses and villas. Being the street of all streets in Luang Prabang, Sakkaline is the main venue for visitors and there are so many restaurants lining the street. Being tired and bored and everything, we tucked into a good-looking place (near the Wat Xiang Thong area) that sells both Western-style snacks and pastries and ordered some good looking pastries. Perhaps we were just fooled by the glossy looks of these baked items, or perhaps it was just a tired evening, but our pastries were served cold and chewy. Our coffee in a lipstick-stained cup believed to be unnoticed by the staff. Just so very yikes!
But we had a wonderful last two days. Please stay tuned.