We have made it to Luang Prabang and thiscity has quickly become one of my favorites here in Southeast Asia.

This is the culturalhub of Laos and we're going to show you a few of the things you can do around town.

When you're visiting Luang Prabang, it isreally easy to stick to the city center.

There is so much to do and see there but if youhave the time come outside and explore the outskirts of the city.

Come and check outthe more rural sections.

Right now we're going across a bamboo bridge and we're going tosee what is on the other side.

Lead the way.

Because this is a very small city it is reallyeasy to find yourself in the countryside.

That's exactly what we've been doing justwandering down rural areas and we even found a dog to join us for the walk.

Now we are up bright and early for a bikingtour around the city.

We picked up these bikes for 20,000 Kip, which is $2.

50 USD and wehave them for the day, so we're going to be cycling around.

Let's see what we find.

When comparing Luang Prabang to other citiesin Southeast Asia there are some major advantages.

One of them being that there is hardly anytraffic here.

It's a wonderful opportunity to take out your bicycle and just explore.

You can go down the main roads, you can go down the side streets and you're not goingto have to deal with cars and other bicycles or even pedestrians.

Luang Prabang is very pedestrian friendly.

In fact, there are so many different little back-alleys and lanes to explore that it isjust a great idea to wander about without any sense of direction.

There are some fantastic views in this cityso one of our recommendations is to enjoy a meal by the river, which is what we're doingtonight.

Another thing you'll want to do when you'rein Luang Prabang is to visit all of the temples around the city.

This morning we're visitingWat Xieng Thong and it is one of the main temples in Luang Prabang.

It is also knownas the Golden City Temple and it really has some impressive glass mosaics.

You'll wantto wander around and take some photos.

It is 20,000 Kip to enter which is $2.

50 USDand like most places it is good to come early because it starts to get busy during the middleof the day.

Now it is time for us to get a little bitof exercise.

We're going to climb up 328 steps up Mount Phou si which is more like a hillfor the best views of Luang Prabang.

Admission to reach the top of this mountainis 20,000 Kip which is again is $2.

50 USD.

It is kind of cool going up because you goup one way and then you come down the other side of the mountain so you get to see differentviews along the way.

How could we have a list of things to do ina city without focusing on the local cuisine.

We're here at our favorite restaurant Tamarind.

We've been here so often it's literally our home away from home and we're going to showyou a few of our favorite dishes.

This is the dipping platter.

This over hereis a coriander pickle.

Next we have an eggplant dip.

A tomato dip.

We have paste made frombuffalo skin.

We have some seaweed chips and then some vegetables that we can use withthe sauce.

Let's dig in.

That all goes together, of course, with our sticky rice.

Sam is going to demonstrate.

This is how youeat.

You just kind of put together a little ball like that and then you can pick a differentdip.

I'll try the buffalo sauce here.

You put it together just like that and you popit in your mouth.

Delicious! This is the second plate we've ordered.

Again,here we have a vegetable pickle.

This is a pork salad that also has banana flowers.

Wehave a pork sausage and here is some buffalo jerky – Sam's favorite.

Oh yeah! Over herewe have some little lettuce rolls that are stuffed with different dips and differentsauces.

We'll be trying those.

We've ordered so much food we almost forgotabout this next dish.

It is time for me to do the honors.

I'm going to unveil our steamedfish, which comes wrapped in banana leaf.

It is called Mok Pa.

Let's see what is inhere.

It is like opening a present.

I know.

It is like Christmas on a plate.

Oh, wow!There it is.

You can see the steam coming off of it.

That is going to be good.

And when the sun goes down it is time to goshopping.

We're at the tourist night market and we're picking up souvenirs.

If there is one thing that Luang Prabang is known foris for its Almsgiving which happens every morning at six AM.

This is where monks collect alms of rice fromkneeling locals and tourists.

Tips on how not to be a total wanker at theceremony.

First, don't use your flash and don't blind the monks.

Secondly, don't chasethem down.

You see people doing both of these things and it is infuriating.

If you love to eat like we do then you can'tleave Luang Prabang without taking a cooking class.

Today we're at the Phou si market andwe're picking up ingredients before we start preparing our food.

Not much sugar in Lao cooking like in Thaifood.

When you taste Thai food you taste milky and creamy and sweet things because they addlots of coconut milk and lots of sugar.

That is why their food tastes like that.

Laos foodis different.

Lao food tastes lots of herbs and lots of texture.

This is Lao food.

I'd like to point out that Sam and I are makingthe exact same dish.

This is his sauce and this is mine.

What are you missing? Just abouteverything.

Here we have our buffalo salad.

We stir friendsome buffalo meat and we also added beansprouts and there is banana flowers.

We have stringbeans, hot chilies and mint leaves.

We're going to be rolling this up in lettuce leaves.

It is kind of like a little fresh roll.

Today we're visiting Vientiane – the capitalof Laos – and unlike other cities in Southeast Asia, which are the capitals of other bignations like Bangkok in Thailand, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia or Hanoi or Saigon in Vietnamthis is a very small and quaint capital city.

This city gets a little bit of a bum rap,which I don't think is entirely justified.

There are not a lot of attractions here persay but it is the kind of place where you can come and just out and relax.

There isreally good food and it is cheap.

It is a good hub to get to different places in thecountry.

You can get to Luang Prabang in the north or you can head south to Savannakhetor 4000 islands.

This afternoon we wanted to visit Wat Si Saketbut unfortunately we left it a bit too late.

The temple has already closed, so we can'tactually go inside but we're going to give you a little tour of the surroundings.

Gethere before four PM people! This is the place I was most excited to visit.

We made it to the Triumphal Arch and we are going to be climbing all the way up.

It isonly a couple stories high.

Why the sad face? We seem to be a roll herebecause we just got here and apparently it is closed.

It closed at four o'clock justlike the temple closed at four o'clock and we missed it because we wanted to eat Indianfood.

We put Indian food before sightseeing.

Well, actually you did.

Oh, be quiet! We had three major things planned.

So fartwo of those have become absolute failures.

Let's see if we can make it to the Mekongriver before we miss sunset.

Normally when we travel to a destination welike to spend six to seven days basically close to a week because we do have onlinework and jobs.

But Vientiane was unfortunately just a stopover so we only really had oneday to go out and explore.

This is a bit of an unusual capital in thesense that it is very small and it doesn't necessarily offer a lot of attractions forvisitors.

However, I really enjoyed being able to spend a few days here and just relaxand enjoy the surroundings because it has a very peaceful feel.

The journey to Laos is actually a three daytrip.

Day one involves driving from Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong, which is at the borderbetween Laos and Thailand.

On day two we finally get on the boat and travel from Chiang Khongacross the border and arrive at Pak Beng.

The last day (the third day) is nine hourson a boat all the way from Pak Beng to Luang Prabang.

We're going to tell you all about our journey- the pros, the cons, the things that were great and what wasn't so great.

First, thisis the actual trip.

Overall conclusions about this trip – we'ddefinitely recommend taking the slow boat from Thailand to Laos; however, doing thethree day tour is definitely something we'd reconsider.

Perhaps a lot of our negatives come from thefact that we did a budget tour and we took the option that is only 2400 Baht.

Some ofthe things we didn't like so much is that we were always leaving behind schedule andsometimes we'd be waiting around for an hour before anything happened.

Also, when it cameto accommodations the hotels weren't amazing.

Our first night was spent at a former jailand it kind of felt a bit spartan.

There was no hot water so we couldn't shower.

In termsof food, I would call it prison food.

It was boiled cabbage and just overcooked rice.

Thosewere some of the cons.

I think you're being a little bit too kindwith your description of the hotel.

That was literally the hardest bed I've ever slepton.

I would have been more comfortable on a rock.

If I had to do this trip over again I woulddefinitely do it independently.

You can take a bus from Chiang Mai (or other Northern Thaicities) all the way to the border.

You can cross it yourself and find your own accommodations.

You can find something that is a little bit better and more suitable than what we stayedat.

Also, you can buy your own boat tickets as well and by showing up early at the pierand purchasing it yourself ensures you get a good seat.

That is the key to enjoying yourexperience going down the Mekong.

A few tips to make the trip a bit more pleasantwould be to show up early.

You want to be the first person on the boat so you can choosethe best seats.

You don't want to be near the front because the views aren't that greatand you're kind of sitting sideways.

You don't want to be near the back because the engineis rambling and it is incredibly loud.

You want to choose a seat in the middle.

Also,you'll want to bring a cushion or a pillow just in case you end up sitting on the woodenseats.

Those are not very comfortable and you'll also want to stock up on lots of foodand bring sandwiches, pastries and whatever it is you'll want to eat because it is a longtrip and on the boat they just have chips and tea and cups of noodles.

For lunch today we are eating at one of ourfavorite restaurants in Luang Prabang – it's called Tamarind.

It focuses on Lao food, sowe're going to be showing you some traditional dishes.

This over here is called Nam Kham and it isa Tamarind cooler and you get a nice little bamboo straw and it is a really sweet andsour drink.

It is refreshing but a little tart.

I really like it.

It's so good! Next up we have our dipping platter.

Thisover here is coriander pickle, next we have an eggplant dip and tomato dip.

We have apaste made from buffalo skin, we have some seaweed chips and then some vegetables thatwe can eat with the sauce.

Let's dig in.

That all goes together of course with our stickyrice.

Sam is going to demonstrate for us.

This ishow you eat it.

You just kind of put together a little ball like that and then you can picka different dip.

I'll try the buffalo sauce here.

You put it together just like that andyou pop it in your mouth.

Delicious! Is it a bit spicy? Oh yeah! This one is really spicy.

Finger food! Finger food! That is a huge ball.

Little ball.

That is not little.

Okay, I will go with the aubergine.

She has got her happyface on.

It is so good.

It is not just aubergine.

They've added spices – there is coriander,onions – there is just an explosion of flavors.

This is the second plate we've ordered.

Again,here we have a vegetable pickle, this is a pork salad that also has banana flowers, wehave a pork sausage and here is some buffalo jerky – Sam's favorite.

Oh, yeah! Over herewe have some little lettuce rolls that are stuffed with different dips, different sauces,so we'll be trying those.

Buffalo jerky time! I've broken off a littlepiece of this buffalo jerky and this is my favorite.

Chewy, right? Yeah, it is very chewylike any kind of jerky but this is probably the sweetest jerky I've ever had.

I can'tremember ever tasting anything quite this sweet in jerky form.

You have this lettuce leafy roll over here.

I taste lemongrass and something sweet like a yam almost but I'm really not sure whatit is.

It could be some local thing.

We've ordered so much food we almost forgotabout this next dish.

It is time for me to do the honors.

I'm going to unveil our steamedfish, which comes wrapped in a banana leaf.

It is called Mok Pa.

Let's see what is inhere.

It's like opening a present.

I know, it's like Christmas on a plate.

Oh, Wow! Thereit is.

You can see the steam coming off of it.

It is going to be good.

It comes witha side of vegetables, so let's not forget about those.

Time for a taste test.

First bite! Wow! Thisis cooked in a dill and basil sauce.

It just melts in your mouth.

It is so soft and soflavorful.

It is delicious! Now for dessert we are having something thatis called Khao Gam.

It is purple sticky rice that has been cooked in coconut milk and italso has banana and sesame seeds on top.

Down here! It looks amazing! If that weren't enough,we get a little shot of Tamarind sauce which we can pour over top.

I'm going to try it the natural way withoutthe tamarind sauce first.

It is so fragrant.

Nice and sweet? Very sweet.

You can definitelytaste the coconut and it is a nice sticky rice with a bit of a nutty texture.

I likeit.

Let's try this with some tamarind sauce anda big chunk of banana.

Oh my, it is so good.

The tamarind gives it a kick and a bit ofspice.

It is still really sweet.

That splendid feast came to just over $18USD, 151,000 Kip which we think was excellent value.

It is a bit of a gourmet type of restaurant.

It is right by the river.

You've got awesome views from here.

Here we are visiting a market again and thatcan only mean one thing – we are taking a cooking course yet again.

Today we are goingto be learning how to make Lao food and our first stop is Phou Si market.

It is the biggestmarket in Luang Prabang and apparently it opens up at four in the morning.

For our cooking class today it's an awesomesurprise – we've got this lush garden setting.

It feels like we're just walking into someonesbackyard.

In Laos his wife and daughter cook for thefamily not the husband and son.

This is culture.

We don't put much sugar in Lao cooking likeThai food.

You taste Thai food and it tastes milky and creamy and sweet because they addlots of coconut milk and lots of sugar.

That is why the food tastes like that.

Lao foodis very different tasting like lots of herbs and lots of texture.

This is Laos food.

Thisdoes not mean Thai food is not tasty.

Thai food is very tasty but our food tastes different.

I'm pounding peppers, onions and that is it.

Now time to try your tomato dip.

I made minereally spicy accidentally because I thought we were cooking this.

I'm making a littleball with the sticky rice.

Voila! I'll dip it in here.

How is it? It has a real kickto it but it is so good.

It has lemon juice, hot peppers, garlic.

I like it.

I'd like to point out that Sam and I are makingthe exact same dish.

This is his sauce.

This is mine.

What are you missing? Just abouteverything.

We're making the Mok Pa fish and you are goingto show us how to wrap it.

What a work of art Audrey.

Amazing! Oh, bequiet.

It is going to taste amazing.

We're cooking our buffalo meat right now.

Here we have our buffalo salad.

We stir-friedsome buffalo meat and we also added bean sprouts,banana flowers, string beans, hot chilies and mintleaves.

We're going to be rolling this up in lettuce leaves.

It's kind of like a littlefresh roll.

Source: Youtube

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