Third world conditions + natural beauty + French modernism = Laos!

Luang Prabang Travel Blog

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Sunset over the Mekong River

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.

The east river from the temple to the Mekong.
 

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.

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Sunset over the Mekong River
Sunset over the Mekong River
The east river from the temple to …
The east river from the temple to…
How much does it weigh?
How much does it weigh?
veggies on a corner market.
veggies on a corner market.
young 11-year old monk in the cour…
young 11-year old monk in the cou…
Door to a buddhist temple
Door to a buddhist temple
Socializing
Socializing
Sticky rice outside the monk houses
Sticky rice outside the monk houses
Roodf of a Buddhist temple
Roodf of a Buddhist temple
The east-side river wrapping aroun…
The east-side river wrapping arou…
Downtown Luang Prabang.
Downtown Luang Prabang.
Tuk tuk taxi
Tuk tuk taxi
Good thing you boil rice before ea…
Good thing you boil rice before e…
The main temple
The main temple
My hair is getting this long.
My hair is getting this long.
Chit-chatting with farang (weste…
Chit-chatting with "farang" (west…
Full moon night.
Full moon night.
One of Luang Prabangs rivers.
One of Luang Prabang's rivers.
Evening prayer
Evening prayer
walking meditation
walking meditation
in the courtyard.
in the courtyard.
ready to roll, or ready to nap?
ready to roll, or ready to nap?
Local Laos food market
Local Laos food market
A hilltop temple with live music.
A hilltop temple with live music.
Serving lunch for everyone.
Serving lunch for everyone.
The river
The river
Yes - this beautiful land was a HU…
Yes - this beautiful land was a H…
Up close and personal.
Up close and personal.
hills past the Mekong River in Lua…
hills past the Mekong River in Lu…
the Mekong River
the Mekong River
Girls like this place.
Girls like this place.
Sunset over the Mekong
Sunset over the Mekong
Peering over the Mekong.
Peering over the Mekong.
Sunset over the Mekong
Sunset over the Mekong
Serving food to the people
Serving food to the people
A buddha in the courtyard
A buddha in the courtyard
Daily chores....
Daily chores....
Sunset over the Mekong River
Sunset over the Mekong River
Local mountain tribe children outs…
Local mountain tribe children out…
Local mountain tribe children outs…
Local mountain tribe children out…
Soda! Soda! soda!!
Soda! Soda! soda!!
Sharing is nice.
Sharing is nice.
Live music at the temple
Live music at the temple
praying outside the temple
praying outside the temple
She made me scarves and purses
She made me scarves and purses
She made me scarves and purses
She made me scarves and purses
She made me scarves and purses
She made me scarves and purses
There are no rules in Laos.
There are no rules in Laos.
Prayer time with guards
Prayer time with guards
no rules.
no rules.
Luang Prabang
photo by: oxangu2