For many centuries the city was the former capital of Laos, where artisans, Buddhist monks and merchants of the Khmer kingdom lived in harmony. Dominated for several kings during 6 centuries, it was the most powerful area of the Indochina peninsula. For many years suffered the occupation of Burmese and Siamese reigns until king Oun Khan finally signed a cooperation pact with France, starting thus the French colony period.
Luang Prabang is renowed for its outstanding cultural and natural beauty. The town is one of the best preserved places in Southeast Asia and its beautifully restored temples, period buildings, traditional cultures and tranquil atmosphere make it one of our favourite cities so far in this trip. We found a small but charming guesthouse (Mai Pai Inn House) in the old quarter just next to the Wat Xieng Thong, the city’s oldest and most magnificient temple. The wooden and bamboo lodge is run by an old Turkish ex-archaeologist who has been travelling for long time and, fascinated by the city, decided to stay in Luang Prabang. He was very friendly and thoughful, always trying to help us in any possible way and has been for us one of the best hosts in Asia, we felt like at home and will definetely come back if we ever go back to Luang Prabang.
The city mix of shiny temple roofs, crumbling French provincial architecture with its fading facades and multiethnic inhabitants gives a feeling of a town lost in time and trends to captivate almost all the travellers. Hmong, Mien and Thai tribal people can often be seen walking around town on their way to the markets. Orange-wrapped Buddhist monks walk along the streets early morning for the alms giving ceremony, called Tak Bat. Every morning the people line up the streets to offer food and pay respect to the monks who form a procession through the town in a beautiful yet solemn religious ceremony. There are many sites to visit in the city and many surrounding villages, rural communities and mountians to explore, but above all it’s a great place in which simply relax and unwind.
Unfortunately, our digital camera broke and we couldn’t find any place to fix it. Laos is not a developed country and reparation shops are nowhere to be found. So we have had to change our route and go directly to Vientiane, to see if we could find someone who was able to repair it, fingers crossed!!!