"Where Laid Back Takes on New Meaning..." Luang Prabang by saracen
Luang Prabang Travel Guide: 1,082 reviews and 2,784 photos
If I thought Vientiane was laid-back, LPB takes serenity to another level. If it were not for the fact that it was predominately a town based on tourism, and therefore jam-packed with tour agencies, ethnic crafts shops and folky restaurants, I would have to say I had found my peace on earth.
In their (my!) defence, I have to say that the majority of tourists seemed to be in their mid 20s or older, so there was a degree of maturity and sophistication (i.e. no street brawls or pavement pizzas) that places such as Siem Reap or Cuzco must crave, overrun as they are with North American and European gap-year brats deluding themselves that they are doing something unique and daring when they put on a poncho and let Daddy buy their airline tickets to adventure.
Anyway, rant over… temples are so common in the town that on several occasions my friends asked ‘Have we seen this one?’, precursor to a discussion as to which one it may have been on our itinerary. Don’t let that make you think therefore that if you see one, you’ve seen them all. Quite the opposite, they all had something distinctive and interesting about them, whether it be the Wats with friezes depicting the punishment that awaits for sinners, or the Wats with the plethora of mini Buddhas, scattered everywhere like some ancient and geeky, if not sinister collection (forgive me, please!).
LPB, a town of around 26,000 people, has over 60 monasteries, of which over 30 still have their own accompaniment of monks. As such, these saffron robed, shaven headed fellows seem to be everywhere in the city – almost as prolific as all the tourists.
The LPB nightlife varied from friendly bistro to sophisticated wine bars to those semi-nightclubs that play the latest dance tunes to hip crowds. One such place summed up perfectly the general ambiance of the town and the nature of its people, with a sign in the toilets that read ‘Respect The Lao: most Lao people wake up before 6am to give alms to the monks. Be quiet on the streets after 10pm!’
- Pros:Beautiful, relaxing, serene.
- Cons:Becoming more mainstream - visit quick before it changes...
- In a nutshell:The laid-back centre of a laid-back country
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