Monday, February 04, 2013

Luang Prabang

After my trip to Laos, I gushed to anyone who would listen that Luang Prabang was my favourite little town in the world. And that if I ever decided to run away from it all, this would be the place that would come to mind for me. I loved this place.

Being in Chiang Mai right now, there are loads and loads of signs for trips across to the northern Laotion city, and it reminds me of my visit there.

Getting there by plane was the first adventure 10 years ago from Vientiane, flying the reportedly sketchy Lao Aviation, with all the rumours and stories about safety and missing navigational equipment abounding. The idea that the pilots fly by sight made my heart race as we started our decent into Luang Prabang in thick fog, and finally spotting mountain ranges all around as we got very close to the ground. Surely those rumours are not true!

This riverside hamlet in the north is famous for it’s night market, and the Pak Ou caves with thousands of Buddha statues, and it's temples. For the dawn monk procession around the streets, and for it's abundance of temples.

A former capital of the kingdom of the area, there is much gold on the structures. The things that stands out as you wander around this small town taking in the 30 temples, is the variety of them - all so very different.

The differences in the gables alone stand out, in addition to the features on the grounds of each temple. Many of them include very basic living quarters for the novice monks.

I would imagine that much of this small town is the same after all this time, although it has become a much talked about recommended destination of Laos.

When I was there, I spent time just hanging out along the main street, for snacks and beers, and taking in the sleepy town. There was a couple of cute bars in the back streets too, and so this was the perfect relaxing escape from my life in Cambodia for a few days.

This post is part of a series marking 10 years since I travelled to Cambodia to work as a volunteer. Laos was one of my side trips.


  1. We're in Luang Prabang right now, like you, we came 12 years ago and loved it. Sad to say it's changed a lot, for the worse, tourism is huge now, not backpackers, well off tourism. It's affected everything.

    1. Oh no! How heartbreaking! I guess there were signs of the big tour groups rolling in back then...but very sad to hear about the reality....
      Thanks for letting me know! I guess I need to rethink about my favourite little town in the world nomination!


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