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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 the bright sun! Which brings us to…

2. Glittering, gorgeous sun. Every single day we have been here, the sun has opened its arms wide on a sapphire blue sky. Ooh, what a feast for the eyes this is, paired with…

3. Flowers, gloriously, everywhere! Shocking magenta blooms hang from golden yellow walls. Orange and yellow blossoms nestle against emerald green foliage. And, ahhh!, how stunning this looks against…

4. Over twenty Wats (temples) scattered all around the city and its environs, and saffron-robed monks in every corner to go with them!

Each temple is ornately decorated with golden figures enacting ancient tales, or sparkling green mirrors, or red and orange holy figures. Some temples perch high atop green hills, and others you can make out across the river from the movement of the monks’ orange robes. Some charge a small admission and others don’t, but it’s a small price to pay for the beauty and holiness these wats infuse into the city. But with them come…

5. Signs telling tourists to stop doing dumb things to the monks. “Stop dressing up like monks by putting on orange robes!” says one exasperated sign. “Protect our Lao culture!” Other signs warn against interfering with holy ceremonies, taking random flash photos, fondling people of the opposite gender within temple gates, or dressing scantily. With so many monks and so many tourists in one place, strangeness is bound to occur. Hopefully tourists will read the signs and take the hint!

6. Blazing red chillies drying in the sun. As we drove to Luang Prabang fromVang Vieng through the mountain villages, hundreds of small farmers spread their hot peppers across their roofs and lawns.

Along with these warming produce piles are always happy, sunning cats, fur glowing in the hot rays.

7. Many, many happy tourists of a wide age range, here for the scenery and the outstanding cuisine. Over half of these tourists speak French, and the age leans to middle-aged, while the orientation is more couple-ish. With this affluent tourism comes…

8. A shocking range of hotel and food prices. At our hotel, we are playing a fantastic $4 a night for a great room each. When we booked the room, however, the hotel clerk whispered, “Do NOT tell the other tourists what you pay. They are paying $50 U.S. dollars for the room across the courtyard!” I have to applaud sweet Laos, however, because even $50 is a deal to be in this great place. And with this booming tourist industry comes…

9. Lao folks studying English left and right. In nearly every cafe I have visited, the staff has spent at least half an hour in a corner table doing English workbook lessons together. Indeed, the English (and perhaps French?) language level in this town is amazingly high. Hooray for studying!

10. Such kind, soft-spoken people! Laos is known for its calm, hospitable culture, and sure enough, every person we have interacted with has been lovely.

A great feature of Luang Prabang is that the local life lives vibrantly right among the tourist scene. Between the two building of our hotel is the house of the owners, who play with their little babies, take their baths, and strum their guitars as we walk by and wave on the way to sleep. In restaurants, the family staff will eat together in a side room or in the table right next to you, and I always end up saying “I wish I’d known to order THAT yummy looking stuff!”

11. Wonderful waterfalls and treks around the city, and tuk tuk drivers eager to take you there. Do you like the “Don’t Swimming Area” sign from the waterfall we visited?

12. Oh so many delightful ways to spend your money! Night markets, classy boutiques, cheap souvenir stalls, and food food food!

Happily, it seems that much tourist money is being pumped right into the hands and businesses of deserving Lao folks, as evidenced by the construction chugging along on every corner, and by the cheerful, content air of the city.

Hooray, Luang Prabang, Laos, and thank you for welcoming us!

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Britany

Saturday 12th of January 2013

Laos is incredible isn't it? The people are SO friendly and Luang Prabang was definitely my favorite there. Glad you enjoyed it!

Lillie

Saturday 12th of January 2013

Yay! Yes! I just got back from India, and I was thinking what a difference it makes to be in a small, less populated country, versus the 1.2 billion of India! Both are great in their own way, but Laos really has a relaxing feel.

jessica wray

Friday 3rd of August 2012

Sounds like a great place, I'll be visiting next year....can't wait to go!

Lillie

Friday 3rd of August 2012

Hooray!!!

Lucy

Monday 4th of June 2012

Sounds amazing – so it's not all 18 year olds in tubes then?

Lillie

Monday 4th of June 2012

Correct!

Imported Blogger Comments

Wednesday 26th of May 2010

A.C. said... Lovely! We're considering Laos on our 1 month Asian trek! These photos just strengthen my resolve to see that beautiful country!

November 9, 2009 2:15 PM

gabebritto said... The best place on Earth for me. I really loved that city.

November 9, 2009 5:38 PM

Yen Phung said... I'd love to come there one day. Lao tourism industry must thank to your post that lure so many readers lol.

November 10, 2009 2:25 AM

Dave said... I can see a great Abbott & Costello routine centered around "wat"/"what"-related confusion...

Gorgeous pix as always!

November 10, 2009 3:52 AM

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