Situated in central Laos, Luang Prabang is a quiet city on the banks of the mighty Mekong River. During a backpacking adventure in SE Asia, I took a two-day slow boat ride from a border city in Thailand to Luang Prabang. Floating down the Mekong River was an amazing experience. The mountain jungle landscape was incredible to gaze at, especially from my spot in the back of the boat.
Once we arrived in Luang Prabang, I immediately fell in love with the Laotian people. I have never encountered people so polite, soft spoken, outgoing, and warm. The town itself was relaxing in a way. The Lao lifestyle is easy going– go with the flow if you will. The city shut down relatively early at night, around 11:00pm, something far different from other cities in the region. You can get up early in the morning and watch a precession of monks collecting alms from the residents of the city. In the evenings, there was a bustling market and plenty of riverside cafes to enjoy local specialties.
Just outside of the city proved to be even sweeter. One day we rented bicycles and explored the countryside. We popped into a local school and taught english for a couple hours. We made an excursion to Kuang Si Falls, which is a breathtaking collection of tiered waterfalls with turquoise pools. Another day we had a couple local guides take us kayaking a couple hours outside the city, in the middle of nowhere. This is when I played Sepak Takraw, and drank plenty of Lao Lao.
I cannot wait to get back to Luang Prabang. In fact, I cannot wait to get back to Laos. I want to explore this country further, and see what more it has to offer. Luang Prabang is a must visit for those traveling in the Mekong Region of SE Asia. Hop on the slow boat and experience the magic for yourself.