From Cambodia we set sail (figuratively) to Luang Prabang, Laos for some utter relaxation in one of the most quaint and serene places we visited.
Nestled in between the Mekong and Nam Kam rivers, Luang Prabang is a small French-influenced Buddhist monastery town. The Laotian government has somehow managed to keep it incredibly well preserved and true to form — while plenty touristy, you don’t feel it. A very hard balance to strike that they have done masterfully.
The rivers are lined with amazing villas, restaurants, local woodwork stores, silk shops and cafes.
We stayed in two awesome cottages (both under $40 a night), with free bike rentals. It’s the perfect town to aimlessly pedal around. Stop in a cafe, read for hours uninterrupted at the AWESOME riverside bar called Utopia, take a river cruise up the Mekong, and enjoy a spectacular 360-degree sunset view over the town and rivers atop Mount Phusi. You can also ride elephants, which we opted out of — free the beasts!
A very cool experience that is quintessential Luang Prabang, is the giving of the alms in the mornings. You get up at dawn and watch the monks walk up and down the streets collecting their food for the day from locals (primarily). It is getting quite touristy with a lot of folks snapping pics (us included), but still a serene way to start the morning.
We also ran into Jill’s friend Sarah from Piedmont, which was good fun. She has been a Backroads bike trip leader the past few years, and was there with a few of her other guide friends. So we enjoyed some delicious Laotian street food together.
We had been told by a number of a friends and family that Luang Prabang had been a favorite destination in Southeast Asia. It did not disappoint.