If youve followed this blog for a while, youll know that I have a problem with editing. Im notoriously unsuccessful at editing experiences, places, and things to do out of an itinerary. A large part of my travel ethos has been that, because I have such precious little time off from my other life as a corporate employee, I need to see as much as possible in my time away. Many would even consider our recent Southeast Asia itinerary to be too ambitious but for us it was actually quite slow.
Then we arrived in Luang Prabang, Laos. Wed spent a harried couple of days in Siem Reap, and despite only seeing five or so temples there, were fatigued.
Nature and atmosphere had a way of forcing us to slow down in Luang Prabang. We had planned on renting motorbikes while we were there to explore around, but put it off until we didnt have any days left.
I had a long laundry list of things I wanted to see in Luang Prabang: Wat Xieng Thong, the old Communist-era bridge, Mount Phousi, the monks receiving alms ceremony, Pak Ou Caves, and Kuang Si Falls, to name just a few. In the end, we only made it to a couple of these. And I wouldnt change a thing.
Our guesthouse in Luang Prabang sat off the main drag, maybe twenty meters from the Mekong. Each morning we awoke to a torrential rain, after which we would eat fresh fruit with yogurt. We might write a few postcards, we might go into town for some bread or noodles. Once wed walk three doors down to get a bad herbal massage, and twice wed walk to the other end of town to the post office to get more postcard stamps. Wed attempt to use at least ten ATMs, and succeed once or twice. What we didnt do, however, could fill a Luang Prabang top ten list.
We did see Wat Xieng Thong, as it happened to be on one of our aimless wandering routes one day, and we made it to the famous Kuang Si Falls in order to visit the bear sanctuary. Other than that, it was mostly noodle soup, with a little bit of wifi thrown in. Luang Prabang was just what we needed to prime ourselves before making a trip to what may be the most energetic place either of us had been before: Hanoi, Vietnam.
Luang Prabang will always exist for us as that place where we relearned how to recharge while traveling (much like we had done in Little Corn Island, Nicaragua, back in 2014). Our past trips have been so experience-driven that we had forgotten how to take it slowly, and Luang Prabang retaught us that its more than OK to take your time to smell the hibiscus, gardenia, and plumeria from time to time.
In Luang Prabang we stayed at the Lan Kham Riverside Guest House, and paid about $45 a night for a great room with a balcony overlooking the Mekong (off season prices), with breakfast included. We took a direct flight from Siem Reap to Luang Prabang on Vietnam Airlines that, when combined with our flight from Luang Prabang to Hanoi, cost a total of about $200 a person. Vietnam Airlines 930 currently operates daily and runs the two legs from REP > LPQ and LPQ > HAN.
Luang Prabang is extremely walkable. Its also easy to rent a bicycle to get around, but I cant quote prices as we only moved by foot.