Driving Through the Hill Tribes and Arriving in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang Travel Blog

 › entry 32 of 43 › view all entries
The drive from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang was winding and scenic. What makes the drive so beautiful are the hilltribes with their homes clinging to the sides of the steep mountains. As we drove through these villages, I wondered what it would be like to live on the edge of a mountain. I kept pressing my face against the window to see how far down the side of the mountain the houses went, I was in awe of these structures. We arrived in Luang Prabang in the late afternoon.

Our hotel was nice, but kind of far from the main street of Luang Prabang, considering its size. I felt like it would have been nicer to stay in town at a cheaper guest house. As I walking to the main street, I passed by a large park where there were a lot of kids around. Some of the young ones looked very taken aback when they saw me.

When I reached town, I could see that besides the lack of people on the street, Luang Prabang was the complete opposite of Vang Vieng. It seemed to cater towards an older well-to-do traveler rather than a 20-something budget backpacker. One of the Canadians who was part of the Cambodia and Vietnam portion of our trip had been to Laos with another group before joining us. She compared it to Hoi An, Vietnam. I can kind of see what she meant, but I thought Hoi An was much more colorful, artsy and vibrant than Luang Prabang.

I think along the typical continental South East Asia travel route, a lot of your perception of a place is based on which direction you're traveling or what other comparable places you've been to before. I wasn't that enthused about Luang Prabang when I first got there, but I could see how you would enjoy the peacefulness of it if you were coming from the touristy and crowded cities of Thailand.

What I did like about Luang Prabang at first glance was the night market. With all of its wonderfully arranged silk scarves, textiles, painting, jewelry, coffee, and clothing, it was the best tourist craft market I had ever seen. For the first time in South East Asia, I felt compelled to buy everything. I went to a legit looking electronics shop and purchased a new memory card for my camera.

Walking down the street, I bumped into one of the Swedes I had met in Vang Vieng. He had met a new group of people to travel with on his bus ride and they were all heading to dinner. I joined them. In the group, there were two more Swedes and two from Japan. We were all about the same age. They seemed like such a fun, interesting and adventurous group of people. They enjoyed every aspect of travel, the culture, local food, and meeting new people.

Later that night when I was heading back to my hotel, I walked by a bar or restaurant where a bunch of locals were celebrating and having a party. They motioned for me to join them, but I was by myself and apprehensive about it. Looking back, I should have hung out with them. There would've been a huge communication barrier, but it probably would've been a lot of fun. I was starting to see the positive side of having a guest house far from the center of town- you get a better glimpse of the local culture.
Jemalin says:
Hi world citizen. I am wondering what transport you used from Vang Vieng to Luang prabang?? Did you hire a minibus or use the govt busses? and if you hired a car which company did you use??

I am heading there this December and am deciding on transport now.

Posted on: Oct 28, 2008
worldcitizen says:
Thanks :)
Posted on: Jun 17, 2008
rotorhead85 says:
Nice blog!
Posted on: Jun 16, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Luang Prabang
photo by: oxangu2