20 May 2015: Mike – Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang is one of most attractive places I have ever been. Lots of people think so too !! It a significant part of the tourist trail. And expats are coming to live here. We have already meet two Aussie – one an teacher and another who has come here to help the coffee industry flourish by helping a local coffee shop that works with the growers .
But I have jumped ahead of my self. Yesterday we travelled for about 10 hours. 9hrs driving …. Vientiane to Luang Prabang …. The first couple or three hours the roads all pretty good. And then an early lunch in Vang Vieng. A Town that has become a hang for the young tourist and a party town. The area around it has great caves and rafting and other attractions …. And the scenery dominated by magnificent lime karst mountains. But it has become a hang for a yobbo element by the looks of it and Lonely Planet says the same. We had a quick lunch and then headed on and we quickly got into much hillier and windy country. The scenery was spectacular but travelling was slow with windy roads and occasional trucks or buses. We probably averaged only 40 km/hr all afternoon and made it to Luang Prabang about 6 pm and the hunt for a hotel began.
As we drove around the blocks a couple times it became apparent that everything the travel books say is true. A very attractive place , building on its french colonial past and being looked after in terms of gardens and tidiness. The first hotel we checked was smart but at US $160 well out of price range. A few hundred metre up the road we found Sayo guest house at US $25 much more our style. Over the road the Mekong …. Yet again.
Today is a no travel day …. But it’s become a repair day …. Peter’s 504 ….( that I have named Leckie) was miss behaving yesterday. The engine missing under power as we travelled. Barry and Peter are working on her now. Seeking to eliminate a number things ….. But up to now … No success . The best I have been able to do is help out by buying new spark plugs. Renne’s been walking the streets.
Hopefully they will sort out the issue though an ongoing process of elimination. ….it seems to be evading all tests at the moment.
Any way I was of no use on car repairs so I strolled the streets with the promise to bring back a coffee for Pete and Paw Paw for Barry. I visited the temple on the hill, took lots photos of magic little streets bought a Paw Paw and take away coffee ( from supposedly the best coffee in town ) ……and miraculously the guys where just putting things back together again and with one more little change of spark plug leads and Leckie was running again like a dream. It turns out that they had “phoned a friend” for some advice ….so a big thanks to Colin from Camberra for your help. …they had in total worked through issues with carburetor and timing and new spark plugs, distributor car ,checked the compression, replaced the condenser ( I think) and been frustrated by the fact that it seems like the distributor had been put in 180 degrees …. So the firing order was all around the wrong way. So when all else fails ….phone a friend helped and some very considered trouble shooting. Probably a combination of issues … But the carburetor being a little loose and sucking air the most likely main issues. … But one thing for sure she is up and running again and sounds the best she has over the 4,800km we have already traveled.
Anyway Luang Prabang is a magic place …. Listed as world heritage site for cultural and natural heritage ( and it deserves it ) …. Nice people and great scenery (and no yobbo culture here ).
We leave tomorrow for the Lao / China boarder tomorrow and aim to cross the following day. We leave Renee here for another day of Lao magic and flight home. It’s been good travelling with her …. A great contribution to the tour with fantastic photos and helping out along the way.