Part Two : 24-Hour Guide To Luang Prabang
Some say when they're on vacay, they like to sleep in and get up whenever they feel like, then decide on what to do next. I'm quite the opposite. I NEED to know what I'm doing on vacay, at least a day-to-day itinerary, and book the necessary preferably several weeks before departure.
Waking up at seven or even earlier in the morning especially when overseas is not a chore at all. In fact, I like getting as many hours of daylight exploring foreign land than in bed till who-knows-when. But this was my first time in Luang Prabang, and Laos, so a really good tour guide was necessary - someone local, who can speak some English, and knew where to take us for authentic food and sights. I googled, and it worked out great! More deets as your fingers do the scrolling, and the pictures do the talking.
But before going any further, please note!
⚠️ WARNING : There are photo's and video's on this blog post which contain sensitive content which readers may find offensive or disturbing.
If readers get easily squeamish looking at dead animals or blood, please skip this post. Certain content are in this post simply because I want to remain true to sharing with everyone what I really saw at the morning market which was patronized by mainly locals. That doesn't mean that everything scene here are pleasant to the eye or appetite as is the case with beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.
🌶 🐖 🐸 0930 hours : Really happy we got a private tour guide who spoke both English and Laotian, and drove us around in a spacious SUV. In the trunk, there was a cooler box filled with bottled water and canned drinks in ice which were at our disposal the whole time. It was really hot and dry so that cooler box was our treasure chest!
Here at the entrance, we started our walk through the morning market which was a pretty straight path. Most of the hawkers sat on the ground and they only accept cash. So it's handy to have some kip and a reusable tote to bag the buys. Again, the private tour guide was a godsend because he could help translate kra-dai to English for us, and identify the different species of seafood, vegetables and unusual produce eaten locally.
⚠️ WARNING : VERY DISTURBING SCENE
Bullfrogs sold live but to prevent them from leaping away, one of their legs are usually fractured. I noticed this when I got closer. The hindlegs are usually eaten as they are more tender and the skin isn't as tough as the rest of its body.
It looks like seaweed and may be mistaken as caught from Mekong river but it is from Nam Khan river. and is a proper algae.
We were heavily advised not to eat anything from the morning market as our diet and stomachs may not take to the local foods so easily. So if you must try, please make sure the food is thoroughly cooked and not left too long at the table.
Just behind Tourism Information Center Luang Prabang
Time : 5am - 11am
1130 hours : That was an exhilarating eye-opener where I got some river kelp to deep fry into chips when I get back home. On to our next destination which wasn't as exciting for me but what I found interesting was seeing for the first-time indigo plants. If you're thinking jeans right now, yes - it's a real plant and it's really blue!
Where is this place? The all-women team of Ock Pop Tok or OPT.
The weaver working her loom diligently with the shuttle.
Ock Pop Tok
The visit to Ock Pop Tok (meaning "East Meets West") wasn't relevant to me as we're not particularly drawn to textiles. However, what helped us understand the products better was the short informational tour that began the minute we stepped into the village. I did choose a gorgeous pink silk table runner/cover at US$180 which may seem pricy to some, but the money goes on to fund what they do - provide jobs to the women from rural communities which now number over 500 weavers throughout Laos since 2000. There are also classes to learn how to dye using natural means such as indigo plant (blue) and sappan trees (pink, purple), and/or weave from 208,000 kip per student (approx. SG$32.65 / US$24). One of the classes that shone through the catalog was Hmong-style design on hand-loomed hemp schooled by resident Batik guru Mae Thao (or grandmother) Zuzong from 416,000 kip per student (approx. SG$65.60 / US$48).
Look out for the last chapter of this 24-hour guide to Luang Prabang coming up this weekend to wrap up this guide. It was the most picturesque part of the trip 🌈 🐻 ⛲️