Nov 102009
 
The Tourist Trail Versus Other Budget Ways to See the World

I used to hate whirlwind tourists and avoid any famous site like a high schooler avoids homework. After three months of hardcore Tourist Trail backpacking around Asia, however, I’ve grown to see the fabulosity in every type of travel.

Let’s look at some of these varied ways to see the world on a budget, in order from least “touristy” to most “touristy”…

(In the background, please enjoy scenes from Luang Prabang, Laos!)

The [...Read More!]

Nov 092009
 
Beautiful Sights of Luang Prabang, Laos

So what’s so different and charming about this Luang Prabang, Laos, place, anyway?

Plenty. Here are some beautiful sights you might see if you were to wander the streets for a few days.

1. Quiet, clean avenues graced by tourists and locals on bicycles. Through a wondrous feat of balance, nearly all the locals steer their bikes with one hand and hold a parasol with the other to shield themselves from [...Read More!]

Nov 092009
 
Preparing to Travel? Bring your Laptop!

A cute little 10-inch netbook computer can be in your hot little hands for less than $200 nowadays. If you stuff one into your backpack before your next trip to anywhere, you will be endlessly thankful.

Why?

All of the beautiful photos in this article are from spaces in Luang Prabang, Laos, that have free Wi-fi internet access. Honestly. Isn’t that amazing??

“WHAT?!” you holler, jumping closer to the screen. [...Read More!]

Nov 082009
 
Myths About Staying in Contact with Travelers

A massive reason why I am keeping this blog (besides an obsessive passion for writing and a rabid quest for fame and fortune) is to keep in close touch with loved ones back home. This here article, therefore is a big hug to all of you. It is an analysis of the things you do to stay connected, all of which warm my little heart.

In the background, unrelated, please enjoy [...Read More!]

Nov 072009
 
Culinary Heaven in Luang Prabang, Laos

The fish was so fluffy and delicious that the four of us were completely silent for the fifteen minutes it took to rip the tender flakes from the bones and devour them.

Ooh, the crispy garlic hugging the fried skin! Ooh, the fact that the little swimmer had been caught that very day on the Mekong river flowing three feet below our fairy-lit table! Oooh, the taste!!

Vijay snapped off the [...Read More!]

Nov 072009
 
The Most Beautiful City in Southeast Asia

Through the eight hours of mountainous twists and turns between Vang Vieng, Laos, and Luang Prabang, we asked ourselves: “Would ‘The Most Beautiful City in Southeast Asia’ live up to the hype?”

And there has been a LOT of hype about Luang Prabang. The most poignant, perhaps, was a friend on one of those whirlwind All-of-Southeast-Asia-in-30-days package trips who had a mere twenty-four hours to see the city. “I just [...Read More!]

Nov 032009
 
Vang Vieng's Cultural Contrasts

Crowing roosters prance next to restaurants playing “Family Guy” and “Friends” on loop to zoned-out tourists.

Jagged limestone mountains reach skyward behind five internet cafes in a row.

American beats thump late into the night as local Lao families put their children down to sleep for school the next day.

Laotians hand wash clothes in the river in front of Germans eating “Hawaiian-Style” pizza on a restaurant veranda.

Vang Vieng is chock full of cultural [...Read More!]

Nov 022009
 
Happy Eyes, Sad Tummy, Reflective Heart

Throwing up twenty-one times in twenty-four hours stinks. Being able to drag oneself two flights up to the hotel roof, however, and look out at the sawtooth mountains and glistening river of Vang Vieng, Laos… well, that eases the pain somewhat.

I think it was the squid soup that did me in, but who knows. A traveler is bound to get sick in some way at some point, and we [...Read More!]

Oct 312009
 
Around Vientiane, led by Orange-Clad Monks!

What did I do today?

In a quest for exercise plus tourism, I covertly tagged along behind various packs of Buddhist monks!

We meandered all day through Vientiane, Laos, drinking in the colors, faces, structures, and warm air.

It was a delightful way to see this delightful city!

Let’s see where the monks led. 1. Monk Pack One:

The first involuntary monk guide pack led me down a highway, past fragrant [...Read More!]

Oct 312009
 
Eating Like a Beast Through Vientiane, Laos

(Disclaimer: To demonstrate the heavenly Vientiane food scene in this article, I am forced to reveal my gluttonous, anti-social, cheapskate side. I promise, I do at times actually interact with the non-edible facets of life, but yesterday was not such a day.)

“Where else but Vientiane could you enjoy steak au poivre for less than US$5?” asks my Lonely Planet guide, barely holding back its drool.

Laos is an epicure’s dream. [...Read More!]