The Royal Palace-An Oxymoron
Some background history:
Scene 1- Following a political upheaval, the Lao government arrested and banished the royal family to Houa Phan where they died.
Scene 2- The Royal Palace is taken and turned into a Museum of Royal artifacts and antiquities, glorifying the previous ruling monarchy (you even have to take your shoes off here, too)... all by the same government.
A tourist trap?? I don't know, you do the math.
Unique Suggestions: The Royal Palace itself wasn't much aside from a large building... impressive yet lacking in distinct charachter. The first room you see upon entrance is the Throne Room, where the honored seat of the now deposed king sits unused.
Their bed chambers are empty and reminiscent of a glorious history now passed. The items on display are attractive, but it all together lends to an air of money hungry capitalism.
Dining along Thanon Xiang Thong
The restaurants and cafes along Luang Phabang's main street is a definite trap for tourists. In fact, the Lao refer to this place as Thang Farang or White Man's Way to the expats that frequent there. The prices are high for the service that you get. But, as many tourist traps go, the atmosphere is comfortingly familiar.
Fun Alternatives: The truth is, you can get a better deal per buck at many of the restaurants alongside the Mekong and Nam Khan river, plus a better view at these places. It ultimately comes down to personal preference I guess.
A fun show but at a price
Going to a show at the Royal Theater is not a cheap night out. Of course compared to seeing a show in the western world, it is quite reasonable but in a cit where your room cost less than four dollars, shelling out nine for what amounts to a kids play seems steep.
Unique Suggestions: Still, I would have to say if I were to do it all over again, I would go to the show just the same. It was a glimpse into the life of what appeared the more well-heeled adolescents of Luang Prabang. The show itself was more amateurish than I had expected but it was certainly amusing. The best part may have been when women went into the audience and tied strings on the wrists of the patrons as a token of luck.
Bus from Vang Viang to Luang Prabang
Check the transportantion from Vang Viang to Luang Prabang, the VIP bus cost US6 and the minivan which is operated by private travel agent cost US7. Wait for the bus in the bus station. All buses from Vientiane to Luang Prabang will stop at Vang Viang.
If you ask the counter for VIP bus, some of them will reluctant to tell you the schedule or even they will tell you there is no bus to Luang Prabang except minivan.
Unique Suggestions: Just wait at the bus station. The bus pass every hour.
Not far from LP, up the river, there is a little village named this way because they make a kind of rice liquor here.
It's just a group of huts, most of them shops selling the liquor in bottles with lizards or snakes inside.
Apart from that there's not much to see.
This is a normal stop if you take a boat to see the buddhist caves up the river, so it won't cost you anyextras if you take this trip, but is a real waste of time, or at least I found it so...
- Budget Travel
The worst tourist trap in Luang Prabang. The visit to this town with no interest is included in all the Pak Ou caves tours. We were stuck for more than an hour in this village.
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