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Hersh K.

Luang Prabang, Laos Guide by Hersh K. Status: Visited here (3 May, 2009 - 7 May, 2009)

I visited Luang Prabang back in 2009 as part of a greater backpacking trip through Southeast Asia. Landlocked Laos was the second stop on my Thailand - Laos - Cambodia - Vietnam trail and I couldn't get enough of it. I think the reason why I love the country so much is because I had no expectations and knew very little about it. Every experience in Laos was fresh and surprising because back then it was still very much off the beaten path.

I arrived in Luang Prabang after a long, overnight boat ride from the northern Thai border town of Chiang Khong. Dozens of backpackers and locals were crammed into slow wooden boats for the journey and what we thought was going to be a tedious, claustrophobic ride quickly became one of the most enjoyable experiences of my trip. Beerlao and shots of Lao Lao flowed, stories were exchanged, and friendships quickly formed.

Luang Prabang is quite probably one of the most photogenic and beautiful towns in all of Southeast Asia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Center that is automobile-free and where all of the buildings seem to follow the same architectural code. Sure, it has a curfew of 11pm but that's in place to preserve tradition and to prevent the town from being overrun by drunk backpackers as in most towns across the Western border. The people are friendly, the air smells of freshly baked baguettes, the wats are beautiful - everything about Luang Prabang makes you want to drop everything for a while and linger a little longer.

Photographers and culturephiles, be sure to catch the alms giving ceremony every morning at around 5 or 6am. But please be respectful of the monks and shoot from an unobtrusive distance!

Lastly, those who want to drink and play after curfew hours should head to the bowling alley. All the tuk tuk drivers know where it is. Have fun!

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