The best wat in town has to be Si Saket which has some lovely architecture and excellent carvings.
A lovely moonrise to end a perfect day.
In Luang Prabang we bought some school books from Big Brother Mouse and here Jane is presenting them to the local primary school. They have few resources so the headmaster (pictured) was very grateful for our donation.
I guess this is one way to wash your school uniform! The current here is very strong and there was no way I was getting in that pool!
Locals wait to cross the river. Note the landing stage!
Laos is still covered in trees but it is to be hoped that the logging is controlled
It's a long, steep walk down to the river in the dry season but in the wet season the Mekong can rise 17 mtrs right to the top of these steps
The markets were very busy from early in the morning.
February is in the dry season so the falls, though impressive, were not all that spectacular
At the bottom of the falls there is a Sun Bear sanctuary. This one was having a laze
All manner of artifacts are left in front of the main Buddha statues.
Great views of the town from the top. In the foreground is the Khan River
I just loved this doorway
Note the tigers and monkeys
All the different nations in the region have their own way of representing Buddha. The Lao tend to carve a rather rotund face.
After a few nights in Vientiane we took a very early morning flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia and eagerly awaited our first glimpse of Angkor Wat.
A seven headed Naga (sort of snake) guards the seated Buddha keeping him from harm. In Buddhism the snake is revered rather than reviled.
This is a traditional healer at work. In this rural community there are few medical facilities and the locals prefer to use traditional methods for their cures
From Luang Prabang we travelled south towards the capital, Vientianne, but then took a trip out into the countryside to stay at Rivertime Eco Lodge. Note the 'swimming pool' at the lodge's floating restaurant.
Monks on a day out
This is the confluence of the Khan and the Mekong rivers. All along the banks local people have allotments during the dry season as the soil is rich and fertile.
The Kuang Si waterfalls are about 29 Klms out of Luang Prebang
A trip out into the countryside, passing paadyfields on the way
Religious paraphernalia at Wat Mai
Sunset over the hills
This gesture means 'stop fighting'.
There are hundreds of large Buddha statues around what you might call the cloisters plus thousands in all the little wall niches behind them.
Vientianne. The nation's capital and not a place to linger for long. There are a few examples of the former French Colonial architecture but mostly the place is a bit of a building site at the moment.
The kids here are lucky to get an education and Rivertime Lodge help to support the school so part of your accommodation costs goes to a good cause.
Rivertime is on the banks of the Nam Ngum river, a tributary of the Mekong. It is a very peaceful spot.
Local school children come to have fun in the pool. They don't take off their clothes!
Sunset on the Mekong
We hired a boat for a ride upriver to the Pak Ou caves
An artist at work near a Wat
I don't normally like to see captive animals but all of the bears here had been rescued so they are much better off in a protected environment
Even monks have to do their laundry
Emerald Buddha. The original one is in Thailand and this is a recent copy.
Everyone gathers here for sunset and a view of the mighty Mekong River
Scenes from the Ramayana
Offerings of candles, flowers and money (this is mostly Vietnamese Dong) are left at various statues and other religious objects.
This man apparently had cataracts and the cure was to blow candle smoke over him
We took a trip over the river. Note the two dogs on twin hulls of this ferry
A view of Luang Prabang from the other side
Many travellers come down the Mekong from Thailand passing lovely scenery such as this
Local river people live and work on their boats
Luang Prebang has a number of thriving markets with locally made goods on display
The Malayan Sun Bear is the smallest of the world's eight bear species at about only 1.2 mtrs in length. They are normally nocturnal and are very gentle but I still wouldn't want to meet a wild one out there in the woods.
More standing Buddha statues
The people in Laos are so gentle, quiet and reserved
On the hill above the town is Wat Chom Si. It's a very steep climb up but well worth it.
These are 'Calling for Rain' Buddha statues
Hand clasped in contemplation.
Sunset on the river. Time for that welcome G&T!
We were told that this healer is famous throughout the world. His technique mostly seemed to consist of cracking jokes at which all the 'patients' gathered around laughed. Well, laughter is said to be the best medicine.
The next Tom Daley?
Those umbrellas are very necessary in the 32C heat.
Landing stage at Pak Ou
Getting on a boat through the river mud is a challenge
Wandering through the meat section did make you think about going vegetarian!
Rice is a staple crop for Laos and they grow an awful lot of it.
Fantastic gilt relief at Wat Mai. The temples in Luang Prabang are so well preserved but are also used daily by locals.
This was taken pre-dawn, just before 6am. The monks process down the street to collect alms, mostly food offered by the locals. My ISO setting on the camera was 12800 so I could take this shot without using flash and disturbing the monks.
This 'umbrealla' represents the seven paths or stages to enlightenment. The moon rising was an added bonus.
Becoming a monk is a great way for youngsters to get an education and many join a wat (temple) for 3 or 4 years just to get a start in life.
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