We have a winner

Day 70
Luang Prabang, Laos

It was a welcome sight to arrive at Siem Reap’s tiny airport this morning and see that our Vietnam Airlines flight to Laos would be aboard a jet, albeit a small one. Flying from deep in the jungle to deeper into the jungle, we feared a tiny propeller but instead got a Fokker 70 (whatever that is). The trip took about 90 minutes; for most of it, there was little to see besides mile after mile of thick foliage. We touched down on Luang Prabang’s short runway at around 2:30 p.m. and realized, holy cow, we were in Laos!

After buying a visa and collecting backpacks, our transfer was waiting to take us to the Apsara, what has been called Luang Prabang’s most chic hotel. It fits the bill, with an Asian décor, large and comfortable rooms and huge bathrooms. Walking to the town’s main drag, we passed monks in saffron robes and immediately felt the quiet and slow-paced way of life in Laos’ former capital. Luang Prabang is Unesco World Heritage listed, so trucks and buses are banned from the entire city; the multiethnic people here also lend to its relaxed pace.

We popped into a French-owned café for sandwiches and ordered this nation’s acclaimed beverage, BeerLao (killer website). Most everyone I’ve told about coming to Laos has raved about this tonic, it is said to be the best beer in Southeast Asia. And you know what? We have a winner.

With hopes that the Brickskeller would give me my BeerLao fix back home, we slowly climbed the slopes of Phu Si to visit the temples at its peak. From there, we were afforded some great views of Luang Prabang, bordered on one side by the mighty Mekong River and on the other by a tributary, the Nam Khan.

As could be expected, there were also some giant Buddhas, reclining Buddhas and Buddha footprints in the hill’s many shrines.

Melting from the hike, we made our way back to the hotel to shower up and have some dinner. Luang Prabang isn’t known for its nightlife — in fact, there’s an 11:30 p.m. curfew — so we used the opportunity to catch up on some much needed sleep.


  1. lottieb says:

    From Stuff White People Like, post # 19 Traveling: Upon returning home, they [white people] will also find an affinity for a particular beer or liquor from a country they visited. They use this as an excuse to mention their travels when at a bar. “Oh, I’ll have a Czechznlishiyush Pilsner. You see, that was my favorite beer when I was travelling through Slovenia and the Czech republic.”

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