Luang Prabang, Laos

By: leelefever on June 26, 2006 - 10:50pm

We didn’t know what to expect from Laos.  We had heard that it is laid back, poor and without a lot of the modern conveniences of home.  What we didn’t expect was the beauty and ease of Luang Prabang, it’s second largest city.

Loas, like it’s brothers in SE Asia, is a former French colony.  Set at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, Luang Prabang is a jewel of a town with as much French colonial style as traditional Laotian charm.  In fact, the whole place is filled with contrast and contradiction.  Perfectly laid brick thoroughfares wind through traditional bamboo, thatch roofed homes.  Fine European style restaurants serve patrons beside food stalls of traditional Laotian food.  The town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, with good reason.

With a number of wats (temples) it is nearly impossible to move around without seeing young monks.  Our guesthouse is directly across the street from a wat and every morning at 4am a drum is beaten rhythmically for about 2 minutes. The first time I heard it I was a bit upset that we chose a place with such an annoyance.  After hearing it a couple of times, it has me rapt and I now look forward to hearing it each morning.

The mighty Mekong


A plumeria on the way up Mount Phousi Hill in the middle of the city...