It was my last day in Luang Prabang and after visiting Ban Xieng Maen Village, I decided to spend the last of the dying light here by the Mekong River . I had a late afternoon lunch, at the nearby restaurants overlooking the river. When the sun was already low I went down the banks to capture my last sunset in Luang Prabang.
There were rows and rows of long-tail boats parked along the Mekong River Banks. These boats were used for travel to outlying villages and even to riverside attractions like the Pak Ou Caves which I heard was overrated. It is one of the common water vessel found in South East Asia.
I observed some of the locals waiting for a small boat to arrive. They were carrying some goods with them and I guess it was time for them to go home. Which is across the river. The low setting sun washed the river with a streak of silver light cutting through the usual choco-colored waters of the river.
I walked further along the riverbanks and saw the numerous activities the boatmen where doing here. These long tails boats are also like their home. They eat here, sleep and even watch tv. They have their bikes on the boat and even laundry hanging by the windows and on their roofs.
I followed a kid flying a kite and was surprised to see one of our companions from the Tat Kuang Si Waterfalls tour there. His name is Larry, an Australian working for a travel agency. He’s been traveling for more than 3 weeks now and would be going back to Australia real soon.
It was an insightful conversation on how people there in Australia look at Philippines in terms of Tourism. It would seem that the Philippines isn’t that big as a travel destination for them unlike Thailand and it’s neighboring countries. He admitted that most people there are looking for something more exotic, like the monks, tribes and even old temples aside from nature escapes like good beaches. Sad but true, even though we got beautiful beaches and nature escapes here, we don’t always get to show more our cultural side.
I tought Larry how to use a Graduated Neutral Density (GND) Filter with his Nikon D40 and let him borrow one of my GND Filters to fix his sunset shots exposure. We both agree that we hated the crowds at the summit of Phu Si Hills. People are flocking to get the sunset from that spot but I think the sunset below here at the river banks is also dramatic with a very strong foreground from these long-tail boats. I just love the lines those flags draw at the sky.
Shortly I bid goodbye to Larry, it was also his last day here, he would be flying back to Bangkok and me I would be riding a Van going south to Vang Vieng. I went up the stairs heading back to the road. I was in company with a new group of tourist arrivals who just arrived on a long tail boat. They probably came from a long boat ride from Huay Xai up north which was the alternate route to Luang Prabang coming from Thailand. I guess Luang Prabang will be expecting more travelers in the future. As I say good bye to Luang Prabang, silently I welcome these new arrivals and hope they enjoy their stay here as much as I did.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.