"Luang Prabang: The Cheeky Monk" Top 5 Page for this destination Luang Prabang by richiecdisc

Luang Prabang Travel Guide: 1,081 reviews and 2,780 photos

“This is the BEST place in Southeast Asia,” the smiling face beamed at us after she assured us she had been traveling in the region for eons to bolster her credentials. Though an Asian by ancestry, she was neither local nor even Laotian. She sounded American but was nonetheless a complete stranger and in no way approached for any such outburst. No, she just felt she had to say it. Though it seemed odd, we somehow understood as we found ourselves pinching ourselves to see if, in fact, we had landed in paradise.

Luang Prabang is such a place, one that makes you feel its perfection despite its trappings of the ordinary. On face value, it seems just a picturesque river town beseeched with beautiful if unspectacular temples and a legion of orange robe clad monks on a mission to practice their already quite skilled use of foreign languages. But beneath all that lays the core to its true charm; it is just such a damn pleasant place to wander around. Even though it is the number one tourist destination in the country, no one tries to sell you anything. In fact, sometimes, it can be hard to buy what you are looking for unless you are persistent. Add to this, just a smattering of tourists from all walks of life, and you feel you have chanced upon some secret place that is remarkably civilized considering its relative isolation.

And then, there are the people. Though, on a whole, Laos is a poverty stricken country, Luang Prabang, in particular, seems to suffer little from this oppression. Everyone seems to have enough to eat and the children are a complete joy, a relief from many poor countries, where they have become accustomed to tourists as a meal ticket. Photo opportunities abound, but having someone put out their hand for money in return non-existent. Most are very well attired and many get around on their own small motorbikes. Overall, it seemed like a wonderful place to live, simple perhaps but full of such pleasures with little of the chaos that many more complex societies are besieged by.

Was Luang Prabang one of the great cities of the world, full of cannot miss sights? Unless the beaming smile of a friendly child fits that bill, I guess not. Will it take its place among the top must see cities of Southeast Asia? I hope not. We have enough such places already. Let us hope that this little gem remains as it is for a long, long time.

  • Last visit to Luang Prabang: Jan 2004
  • Intro Updated Dec 8, 2004
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Reviews (31)

Comments (42)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Jun 24, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    Nice tips

  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo
    Jan 26, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    Great page, some lovely photos. Cheers, Irene

  • Nov 25, 2010 at 9:53 PM

    hi u rock,anyhow can u tell me how 2 go from chang rai into laos or is it better from chang mai? i WANT2 do that boat thing !!! im goin bkk north by train then boat 2 laos then whats best to phnom phen any adviceGREATLYappreciated troy

  • tess11's Profile Photo
    Nov 9, 2007 at 3:30 AM

    OMG that is the most sensational photo. So this is the place I will spend my birthday on Feb 28 next year..... should be good :-)

  • dassi's Profile Photo
    Sep 12, 2007 at 8:38 AM

    I just love your page gives me a lot of info for my trip down there. I can´t wait to try out different things and to have a Beer Lao Cheers :) Many thanks

  • Etoile2B's Profile Photo
    Feb 17, 2007 at 6:33 PM

    Wow! I am so glad I stumbled upon your pages while I was researching my upcoming trip to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam - leaving this week! You are an exceptional writer! I can't wait to check out more of your travel pages.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Jan 27, 2007 at 1:21 AM

    Ah, another fantastic read, Richie :-) Haha, yes, how familiar does this stomach issue sound ! But good that you survived all the sampling :-) These temples look marvellous :-)

  • j-san's Profile Photo
    Dec 3, 2006 at 12:30 PM

    Luang Prabang is truly as gem, and a wonderful memory! However, like you I found myself in constant need of the loo for about 3 days...

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Oct 18, 2006 at 3:01 PM

    A great account of your time in Luang Prabang! Those food tips were very interesting, especially the breakfast soup! Guess you'll never learn the lesson on local delicacies! Great insight into local life here.

  • anne77's Profile Photo
    May 5, 2006 at 7:02 AM

    Really beautiful picture. bravo. Anne


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