Go Here: Luang Prabang, Laos

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.

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Slow boat chillin
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Our “private” cabin on the boat. Or the storage section in the back of the boat.

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The views from the boat never got old.

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.

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The Royal Palace

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Grilled Mekong Fish was as fresh as it gets.

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.

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Kuang Si Falls

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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.

Play This: Sepak Takraw

When I was backpacking in Laos, I went on a memorable kayaking trip.  The trip took us through remote and wild jungle, where small villages dotted the river banks.  At the conclusion of the day, we stopped at one of these villages to meet the future wife of our kayaking guide.  We drank Lao Lao (rice whiskey moonshine) and shared some good laughs.  Before I knew it, I was standing on a dirt volleyball court with a handful of villagers.  Except this wasn’t volleyball, it was Sepak Takraw.  The net was slightly lower and the ball was small and made of bamboo.  The rules: same as volleyball except no hands.  It was soccer volleyball essentially.  The locals were amazingly talented. Instead of spiking the ball as in volleyball, they would bicycle kick slam it over the net.  Maybe it was the Lao Lao, but I got really into it and held my own.  This was an amazing end to an amazing day in Laos.

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Go Here: Kuang Si Falls in Luang Prabang, Laos

Laos is a magical country.  Lush, pristine jungle and limestone mountains cover this landlocked country.  The people are soft-spoken, full of smiles, and quite possibly the kindest I’ve met on my travels.  And within Laos, a small city perched upon the banks of the Mekong River will take your breathe away: Luang Prabang.  Time moves slow here.  And while you’re not relaxing riverside, head to Kuang Si Falls where the water is turquoise, and the fish nibble at your toes.  You’ll never forget it.