Joff was speaking with friends who had decided to skip the 'craziness' of Vientiane and head to Luang Prabang instead. He came home stating that there was also a festival in Luang Prabang but that this was a lantern festival and according to friends who had lived in Luang Prabang it had been their favourite festival there.
After hearing all of that we decided to go for it. We booked flights and accommodation and were gone 2 days later.
As it turned out we were not the only ones. It seemed that every expat family that we know had decided to escape the chaos as well and we found ourselves out for dinner in Luang Prabang with 10 adults and just as many kids all sitting around as if we were in Vientiane. It was a lot of fun, and a different kind of chaos. The town itself was not congested or busy. There was no raging parties, or crazy drunken behaviour.
In fact, the first night we were there, it was magical. All the temples (Wats) were lit up with hundreds and thousands of paper lanterns. Monks were taking photos of their hard work, tourists were quietly and peacefully walking through the grounds. I don't think i will ever forget it. The second night this all happened again but in addition there was a parade of paper lantern boats through the main streets. Beatrix and the other kids loved it. Bea has only been to Luang Prabang twice- the first time she watched a parade of elephants, this time it was lanterns! After the parade we headed down to the banks of the Mekong and let our own paper lanterns up into the sky while we watched Lao families send offerings down the river.
It was all beautiful and brilliant and more than we had anticipated. Words don't really do it justice. Here are a few photos to share instead.