Ban Natha

Here you’ll find travel reports about Ban Natha. Discover travel destinations in Laos of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

7 travelers at this place:

  • Day77

    Day 77: Giving Alms and Relaxing

    August 31, 2016 in Laos ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Very little accomplished today! The official name of this country is "Laos PDR" (People's Democratic Republic), but the running gag is that PDR actually stands for Please Don't Rush. And I can assure you, rushing is definitely not something that happens here!

    We got up very early this morning (5:30) to see a local tradition - monks from all the temples in the town walk along the streets in a procession, and the villagers kneel alongside the footpaths and donate each monk a handful of rice as they walk past. I'm not quite sure how or why the practice originated, but it's still carrying on today. It feels a bit off though, since immediately on walking out of our hotel we were set on by a street vendor selling food that we could donate to the monks, and she was very insistent. Luckily I'm very insistent on not being sold things by people on the street, because they don't tell you how much until afterwards - it was about 30,000 kip or $5; not a huge amount but more than I really wanted to spend.

    We just watched the ritual from across the street and chuckled at other tourists who got bullied into buying food. But I found the whole thing slightly off-putting, like it was actually being done for our benefit not the monks'. And since they're all dressed in identical saffron robes and with shaven heads, it's very easy to forget that they're actually humans and may not want to be photographed like zoo animals. Though we've heard rumours as well that the government told the monks that if they stopped doing the ceremony, they'd just find some other locals and dress them up like monks since tourists wouldn't know the difference. All in all, a strange morning.

    After the procession we retreated to the hotel and slept a few more hours before taking a late breakfast at 10am. Chilled out in the room for a few hours before heading out for lunch at a bakery cafe where we had sandwiches and salads. There's enough expats here and residual French culture that the western food is very good!

    Again we didn't do much in the afternoon, a little wandering and some parental Skyping. Headed out for a riverside beer late in the afternoon, before having dinner from a cart in the night markets. We both ended up having fer, which is a noodle soup essentially the same as Vietnamese pho.
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  • Day78

    Day 78: Boat Festival

    September 1, 2016 in Laos ⋅ ☁️ 28 °C

    Not sure if I've mentioned it before, but we actually got quite lucky with our timing in Luang Prabang, as there's currently a festival of boat racing happening on the river - large Chinese style dragon boats with approx 50 people paddling in each boat. And today was the big finals day! It's an annual tradition held in several parts of Laos, but the one here in LPB is the biggest and most important apparently!

    We had a hotel breakfast and a morning relax, before heading over to the festival and getting involved. It was absolutely heaving, thousands of people around and the entire riverfront area on that side was blocked off and covered with tents, stalls, hastily-erected bars, and people crowding the steep banks for vantage points.

    We wandered around soaking in the atmosphere, picking at bits of food and marvelling at the spectacle. It's difficult to describe a similar festival in Australia, maybe a slightly cut price Easter show or something? Lots of people wandering around selling helium balloons to kids, sideshows where you could win prizes throwing darts at targets, loads of street food places and of course the boat racing happening in the background.

    The races themselves are very impressive, as you can imagine the boats move along at a very fast pace once they get going, and the water around everyone's paddles just churns with fury. Exciting, even if we have no idea what's going on (the commentary over the loudspeakers was - obviously - all in Laotian). So we just wandered, eating whatever took our fancy though we skipped the dried chilli beetles and the witchety grubs!

    After a few hours in the heat, the noise and the crowds we retreated to our hotel for a couple hours of relaxing, and headed back out around 4pm when the last few races were being held. I don't know if it was the finals or what, but the last race of the day was pretty intense! Lots of people captivated, though everyone lost interest once it was clear which boat was going to win.

    And suddenly it turned in Melbourne Cup day - the morning was nice and family friendly with a carnival atmosphere, but everyone's spent the day drinking in the sun and it was now party time! Garbage everywhere, people stumbling, starting conversations with us in Laotian, the similarities were kind of uncanny. We bought a couple of beers from a street vendor and wandered through the carnage, enjoying the people-watching aspect of it all.

    Eventually as dusk was falling we walked upriver a few hundred metres to a riverfront backpacker joint called Utopia, where they serve almost entirely Western food and very cheap drinks. So had a couple more cheap drinks; Shandos managed to order a Lao dish from the menu while I had a beef burger. Very tasty! And then it was time for our stumble home as well.
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  • Day273

    Mekong River Tour, Luang Prabang, Laos

    May 27 in Laos ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Wie begonnen so soll es auch enden. Am Anfang unserer Asiereise haben wir eine Mekong Delta Tour gemacht, heute schippern wir erneut über den Fluss diesmal jedoch nicht in Vietnam sondern in Laos.
    Wir verhandeln und drücken den Preis so gehörig runter. Auf dem Kutter sind tatsächlich nur Lotte und ich Passagiere und haben so eine ganze Stunde Zeit die Flussrundfahrt zu genießen.Read more

  • Day16

    Luang Prabang

    September 19, 2018 in Laos ⋅ 🌧 28 °C

    Nachdem wir uns schweren Herzens von unseren Gesellen der letzten Tage verabschiedet hatten, machten wir noch einen Tag Tempel-Sight-Seeing im wunderschönen Luang Prabang.
    Die vielen kleinen und liebevoll gestalteten Tempel laden dazu ein, sich vor den Buddha in der Mitte zu knien und die zahlreichen Details auf sich wirken zu lassen. Magisch.Read more

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