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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 wanted to STAY there!” he sighed, tears in his eyes. “They nearly had to drag me onto the boat out. Mark my words, though– I’m going back someday soon!”

In hour four, our bus stopped at a shed outhouse… with a monkey eating a Pepsi can outside! The monkey whispered: “If I were in Luang Prabang, the food would be better.”

Back on the bus. In hour six, we paused again for a bathroom break so short, only three of the sixty bus folks could successfully pee. The Lao schoolchildren biking miles and miles to their morning lessons waved to us and seemed to say: “We wish we were going to Luang Prabang instead of to third grade!”

Night fell, pebbles ground beneath the bus tires, and we arrived in the city UNESCO has called a World Heritige Site.

It was dark, so we chose the first guest house that propositioned us, dropped off our stuff, and went to sleep.

In the morning: glory be!! We threw open the doors to glittering sunshine upon lush green leaves, pink flowers, orange-robed monks, golden temples, serene rivers, and the most delicious assortment of cute little cafes in history.

Luang Prabang is everything it is said to be, and more. What a place!!

Luang Prabang is nestled between the blue Nham Kahn river on one side, and the chocolate Mekong on the other. At the tip of the city, you can see the two colors swirl together as the rivers meet. At this point you can also indulge in spectacular French-Lao cuisine at the furthest of the hundreds of riverside eateries. But more on food in the next post.

The bottom line is that there is loads to do in gorgeous Luang Prabang, from strolling the clean, quiet streets and stuffing your face with heaven, to taking waterfall excursions (more on this soon!), to hill treks or elephant treks, to seeing holy shrines, to getting delightful massages, to purchasing hand-crafted tapestries and souvenirs in the many colorful marketplaces.

Our guidebook suggests four days, minimum, in this beautiful place, but we’ll see how much longer my euphoric tummy and eyes demand that I stay.

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Sarah Somewhere

Thursday 26th of April 2012

LP didn't cut it for me, I felt like a walking dollar sign, found the people unfriendly bacause they were jaded by tourism, and felt that the 'charm' was staged. Ah well, that's the thing about travel, everyone's experience is different! I'm glad yours was a good one! I really enjoyed 'Kampot' in Southern Cambodia, check it out someday unless you already have :)

Lillie

Thursday 26th of April 2012

Agreed that everyone has a different experience! I wanted to get to Kampot (I'd heard great things) but didn't make it this time around. Next time! Thanks for your comment.

Daniel

Wednesday 13th of April 2011

When I went to Vietnam three years ago, I'd expect it to be dirt poor. I went to a place and I was wrong! It was so goregous. I was on a Vietnamese tour boat on this ocean, and the water was green and blue! I went to Saigon next and the amusement parks blew me away. They had very big golden statues of animals such as frogs and dragons. Saigon is a very beautiful city.

Jeff Pruett

Wednesday 30th of June 2010

Thank you. I hope to go this December. Glad to hear it's everything they say it is!

Daily Travel Links | AdventureWorthy

Wednesday 30th of June 2010

[...] most beautiful city in Southeast Asia (Around the World L) [...]

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