I recently took a trip throughout Southeast Asia and thoroughly enjoyed it all. I knew in advance something about Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. However I knew a lot less about Laos. When my travel agent suggested Luang Prabang, I had absolutely no idea, what I was letting my self in for.
Luang Prabang city sits in the province of the same name. It is about 180 miles north of the nation’s capital Vientiane. It is slap bang in the middle of the “thick” part of Laos as you look at a map. We drove from Vientiane and the journey was utterly enjoyable. The road, though sealed, is not in the best of repair and the journey took almost 10 hours. The bus seemed to stop at every village on the way and people got on and off anywhere. But it was just great fun. Everyone enjoyed the westerner sitting in their midst, they shared food and drink with me and a few spoke English, so we got along fine.
Arriving in the town of Luang Prabang I was pleasantly surprised at the look of it. It consists of low rise buildings, plenty of greenery and temples dotted throughout. It used to be the ancient capital and is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. There is a lovely temple called Wat Chom Si, which sits on a large steep hill overlooking the town. Close by I went to see a waterfall called Kuang Si and on another day the Pak Ou Caves.
I really loved Luang Prabang, it is a delightful spot with loads to do. The people were really kind to me and it became a highlight of a holiday that had many. I knew that a holiday like this would throw up a few surprises, Luang Prabang was the biggest surprise, and the most welcome.