Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man

…done with Luang Prabang

Unlike most people I’d met in Thailand, I’d stuck solely to that country while others had stretched out and visited other parts of SE Asia, even if it was for less than an hour*, so I felt like it was time to set that straight.


When I arrived in Luang Prabang I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. As I’d find out in Laos over the next few weeks, there are a lot of similarities and while the few changes do seem minor at first, they do add up over time.

Luang Prabang was a nice introduction to the land across the River Mekhong and as well as the Khang Si Falls it had another ‘best I’ve ever seen’ (true to this day): its palace.

All across Thailand, Laos and Cambodia you’ll see temples and palaces and, while they’re all special in their own ways, they can get a bit samey after a while. If you’re planning a trip and don’t want an overdose, keep Luang Prabang’s in mind. You’re not meant to take pictures inside and, as a sign of respect, I didn’t, but not everyone is such a good person. Here are some stolen photos from people who don’t observe the rules.

The intricacy in the mosaics were amazing, covering wall after wall, and even though I didn’t pay someone to explain parts of the stories to me it was still mesmerising.

Close to the royal palace is Mount Phousi, a hill in the middle of the town that doesn’t look too high but is a killer in the middle of a hot day. There’s a temple at the top and one halfway up one side and, if you’re not careful, you’ll descend next to a river that isn’t the one you thought it was. On the way, though, you’ll see a bearded (friend of?) Buddha which makes it all worthwhile.




Then, when you get to the Nam Khan River, you’ll see a rickety bamboo bridge that someone wants to charge you to cross, unless you go in the evening (there’s a bar on the other side). Some people, like these monks, sneak round that fee by trying to cross the river using the dried up parts of land as bridges.


And then getting stuck.


Still, there are worse places to be stuck, especially with cool night markets, this other temple and Joma, my new favourite bakery.

Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham
*I know, I know, you/he went back.

Filed under: asia, ,

2 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    This is the main place I could have stayed a lot longer, or even lived in (unless the tourists would get annoying). Great views, plenty of friendly stray cats and a night market buffet for 10,000 kip/79p per plate.

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