The minivan edged its way round the tight streets of the provincial Lao town of Luang Prabang, very French in its appearance and at 5pm, still very hot.
We were the last people to be dropped off and were pointed in the direction of a side street.
The town has seen an upsurge in its tourist trade since being made a UNESCO heritage town. Every square inch seems to have been built on to provide more hotels. I counted at least eight small guest houses before we eventually reached ours.
We were greeted in what has now become traditional style, cold towels and drinks being offered and then a briefing on what sights are on offer. We weren’t all that bothered about tours to caves or waterfalls, the procession of monks at 6am was just a bit too early and how many more temples did we want to see? No, our plan was to chill.
The next morning we went in search of a booking office for a £20 a head dinner cruise we had seen advertised in the travel agent. The map on the company flyer was very vague so we headed down to the Mekong promenade and started our exploration.
The booking office turned out to be one man and an advertising board. He wrote down our names and told us to be back at 5pm.
Our plan was to head back for town, we used our now honed in sense of direction and found ourselves on a street that could easily have been mistaken for one out of France. It was tree lined with shutters on most properties. Art galleries, boutiques, coffee houses and restaurants dominated the frontage as monks mingled with the tourists with the odd temple here and there reminding you that yes, you were in SE Asia.
We married up with the Nava of Mekong at 5pm for our evening cruise. It was a great way to pass two hours at sunset. We managed to get spectacular photos of the sun going down over the river, eat a very tasty Laos meal and watched traditional dancing accompanied by two accomplished percussionists aged about 12.
A perfect end to a day.