Third world conditions + natural beauty + French modernism = Laos!
Luang Prabang Travel Blog› entry 28 of 46 › view all entries
Welcome to Laos. The town of Luang Prabang sits nestled between the Mekong River and the Khan River - and is an extreme melonge of natural beauty (with curvatious rivers, jetting mountains, plush vegetation) and an intense Buddhist culture (with over 100 Wats - Buddhist Temples). The town is too small for its own good - and is a bizarre mixture of 3rd world poverty and a hyper-modern French influence.
I found that the best thing to do here is rent a bicycle and ride as far out of town as you can - until you find yourself following something - anything that attracts you. I did this for a few days and found rural local markets, neighborhood textile weaving communities and magnificent Wats blasting live music and Buddhist prayer services.
There were two magic moments in Luang Prabang: The first was sitting on the massive ghat (stairway into the river) at 2am. Sitting alone on these 200 steps that descend into the Mekong River while the moonlight bounces off the water and illuminates the mountains gives them a clear sillouette that makes you feel small to the world. This feeling is rare, yet special.
The other magic moment occurs every night at sundown. The sun sets over the Mekong River accurately places itself just between the curvacious, jetting Loas mountains and lights the sky like you've never seen....
The backpacker crew that met on the boat ride from Thailand always went out at night and socialized. I started to get to know the Canadian, British and Australian boys that I would end up cruising with all the way through Laos...... Next stop: Vang Vieng.