Charming Luang Prabang

Laos is a bit of an enigmatic country for me. A small, landlocked country with a tiny population, an abundance of culture, a colonial history, a present communist government, the most bombed country on earth, not so touristy but extremely so on the other hand. I didn’t know a lot about it so let’s just say I was eager to explore.

First thing to do in Laos after crossing the border from Thailand is to take one of the famous Beerlao. I happened to like it which was good because it makes up over 90% of the beer in the country; to get anything else is impossible or very expensive
Arriving in Luang Prabang after a long sleeper bus was like waking up in a dream. Being a part of the former French Indochina it’s possible to get great baguettes and coffee but be surrounded by beautiful Buddhist temples 🙂
And also fantastic pastries
Nice Art Deco buildings are mixed up with old temples and monasteries
Luang Prabang worked its charm on me and it certainly helped that I arrived on a Sunday when the town was quiet and peaceful and the main street happened to be closed to traffic
I found some temples impossibly beautiful. This is the Haw Pha Bang


So many Buddhas. Most here are in the rain pose, that is with both arms at the side pointing downward
Intricate gold designs
Wat Xieng Thong; one of the most famous temples in the country
I shared a beer (obviously a Beerlao) with some people I met in the hostel and we watched an absolutely stunning sunset over the Mekong River
Outside the city, the Kuang Si waterfalls are a must-see. The colour of the water is hard to believe
The naturally forming pools are almost too perfect. The words “tropical paradise” spring to mind
Monks are a common sight in Luang Prabang
A second stunning sunset over the Mekong
After Luang Prabang it was time to visit Vang Vieng; the (in)famous town on the way to Vientiane
Vang Vieng was known in the backpacker world for river tubing. In its heyday (darkest days) people would float down the river stopping to party at the 20-odd bars along the way. The inevitable deaths lead the authorities to close it down in 2012. Now its calmer version only has 3 bars. It’s a nice way to spend an afternoon floating on a river with a cold beer in hand
The landscape surrounding Vang Vieng is full of stunning limestone karst formations (I’ve definitely used stunning too many times in this post but it’s a surprisingly apt word). The natural beauty is a nice contrast to the craziness of the town e.g. opium pizzas etc.

Next up: Vientiane


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