To Luang Prabang, With Love

Laos Airport

Our plane set down deep in the northern mountains of Laos in the tiny village of Luang Prabang on a late April afternoon with less than a dozen passengers on board. From my seat, the airport looked a bit like an old-fashioned American general store. I marveled at our pilot’s aptitude at landing on the tiny tarmac.

I waited anxiously for the air stewardess to open the door. I had been waiting for this first glimpse of Laos since my friend, Kevin, returned to Canada with glowing descriptions of this beautiful country. This journey has been almost ten years in the making. I could hardly stand waiting a moment longer.

The doors opened and we clambered down a metal staircase with packs in tow, gazing around at the lush greenness of it all. The sun was starting a slow descent across the sky. I paused to snap a few photos. I didn’t want to forget one single moment of this momentous journey.

Arrival in Luang Prabang

John, Jason and Vicky.

We managed to haggle for a tuk-tuk to take us into the town of Luang Prabang. The red dust on the road kicked up a fuss as our driver navigated the twists and turns leading into town. I hung my head out the back while keeping a firm grip on the handrail and my pack. Any bump or pothole would send me flying out the back end.

Misty Laos

I managed to snap a photo of a picturesque river winding lazily through the hills. The quality of the photo is poor, but I still love the way it turned out. This hazy, dream-like world portrayed in the photo is how I see Laos. Surreal. Mysterious. Prodigious.

Bazaar Vendors

The last fingers of light were stretched out in long shadows dusting the world with an incandescent glow that means the witching hour is upon us. Our driver let us off on the main street in the midst of vendors setting up for a night bazaar. Lights were twinkling merrily as locals laid out their wares and settled in for a long night of bartering. We tip-toed through quickly, our eyes gorging on everything all at once, only stopping briefly to inquire about vacancies.

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Street Side Vendors

It was late in the day and by some unwritten traveler’s rule, none of us had had the foresight to call ahead and make reservations for the night. An hour later, we were still moving from place to place and we were starting to get a little uneasy. There weren’t any vacancies to be found in this sleepy little village. I briefly wondered if we’d be sleeping outside for the night. We decided to split up to cover both ends of the village.
Bazaar Lights

As luck would have it, after another half hour of searching, we were firmly ensconced in our cheapest rooms of the journey. We were truly busting the seams of our wallets at $8 a night. The rooms were spacious and clean. We had hot water. We had a place to lay our heads. Within the hour we were changed, refreshed and washing our first Laotian meal down with cold Beer Lao. Several card games later, we headed out into the warm tropical air to enjoy an evening stroll through the night market before heading to bed.

Rice Paper Monks

Paper Lanterns

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Post Author: Carrie Kellenberger

I'm a chronically ill Canadian who has been living in Asia since 2003. I moved from China to Taiwan in 2006. I'm an experienced businesswoman and have worked in many leadership positions in Asia. In addition to my own work, I've been writing professionally about Asia, travel and health advocacy since 2007, providing regular content to publishing companies and travel publications in Asia and North America. I started writing about my health journey in 2009 after being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. In 2014, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS, which came with other massive health issues. These diagnoses were the start of my journey as a health advocate and patient leader. Since then, My Several Worlds has been recognized worldwide as a top site for AS, fibromyalgia, and chronic illness by WEGO Health and Healthline.

6 thoughts on “To Luang Prabang, With Love

    jeff

    (December 12, 2007 - 11:26 pm)

    Thanks for the sightseeing ! It’s a pleasure to read your stories and see your pictures. I recently discovered your blog, and immediately added it to my favorite rss feeds ! It reminds me of wonderfull travelling experiences I’ve lived in China and Japan. Keep on this way ! – A new “My severarl worlds” french fan ! –

    Joshua Samuel Brown

    (December 13, 2007 - 5:53 am)

    Laos is probably my favorite place to be in South East Asia, and I consider it the second most beautiful place on the planet (with Newfoundland taking top honors). Though I’ve been several times, I’ve only spent a few days in Luang Prubang, as the one time I made it there I was quickly chased away by a very serious shortage of guesthouses, owing to bad planning on everyone involved’s part. But a wonderful city. Post more about this trip!

    globetrotteri

    (December 13, 2007 - 11:21 pm)

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you enjoy My Several Worlds. I’d love to hear your thoughts about traveling through China and Japan. Do you blog?

    globetrotteri

    (December 13, 2007 - 11:24 pm)

    Joshua,

    It’s great to hear from you. I’ve thought about you both over the past week. How are you settling into the good ‘ole US of A? I’m on my way to check out Snarky Tofu right now.

    I agree with you. Laos is pretty amazing. I’ve deliberately held back my photos since our trip last April because I wanted to give myself time to think about our time there. Expect more posts in the near future. I’ve got plenty of tall tales and photos.

    jeff

    (December 15, 2007 - 2:06 am)

    Hi globetrotteri. Yes, i blog, but only in french ! Sorry ! And my blog is not only dedicated to my personnal trips. It talks about music, games, concerts… In a certain way, it’s a kind of mini-magazine ! I don’t know the way I could share thoughts about my trips with you and your readers, but I’d like to do so ! I have pictures and everything, but I lack courage to start blogging in english all by myself ! Anyway, it’s a pleasure to read your lines and see your beautiful pictures ! Just like Joshua, I’m waiting for more about Laos ! Thank you. Your blog is really interesting !

    jorees

    (December 16, 2007 - 10:09 pm)

    Wow Carrie Luang Prabang looks spectacular Carrie! Your pictures and words take me away from this world and into Laos. I definitely want to visit there soon!

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