Paradise found ? Yeah. And no.

Trip Start Jun 16, 2011
Trip End Nov 10, 2011

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View Khem Khong guest house

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Friday, September 2, 2011

I landed in Luang Prabang on Thursday morning. Immediately, you can feel this is not, definitely not Vietnam. You can't actually grasp the idea that there is a town, somewhere, around this airport. Or if so, it must be far and on top of it, everybody is on holidays. How to explain, otherwise, the very very low activity around ? The immigration office at the airport is tiny and yet, everything goes smoothly and fast. I shared a taxi with two girls, one of which - Tamara, an American girl - I was to cross paths with again several times.. The taxi dropped us off downtown, in front of the post office. We then walked to find a guest house.

How can i put this... Luang Prabang is as laid back as it gets, really. Very little traffic, silent and slow motorbikes, many pedestrians, lovely streets, clean, beautiful houses, calm, birds, sunshine, smiles. Wow. The old part of town, protected by UNESCO is tiny but all in all, there are around 100,000 people here, and it's the fourth largest town of Laos. So when you are suddenly being told that LP is the former capital city of Lao... it's quite a shock. LP is what I would call a tiny touristic village, a bit like Hoi An, with much much much less agitation and aggression from vendors. However, don't be fooled : this is NOT authentic Laos, clearly not. It is now a UNESCO world heritage town so development cannot be erratic like in some other places and it's a good thing. But again, this is, in my opinion, the place that looks exactly like what tourists would like such a town to look like. A bit like Vietnam's Hoi An or Brazil's Porto Seguro.

This doesn't mean I don't like it. I do. It's pleasant for the eye, it's comfortable, you have great bars, restaurants, bakeries, tour operators, blah blah blah. So yeah. It's a great place to chill after a tough trip trekking for several days or back from a very busy town like Hanoi... But don't try and make me believe like this is Laos :-)

I decided to stop in a bar in order to get online and try and find a place to stay. I ended up actually strolling along the Mekong, visiting a couple of guest houses and settling for a really cheap one, with a big fan in the room, no air cond, no TV, just the basic stuff, but clean and costing me 60,000 Kip, i.e. slightly more than 5 euros. After making some phone calls and writing some emails to the contacts I was given here, I went for a nap at around 4pm and slept until... 8am the next day ! Yeah, it looks like Vietnam tired me quite a bit :-)

More soon.

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Pascale on

Merci Nadège pour tes billets... qui nous font voyager par procuration... et didiou, tu écris super bien en anglais ! bravo pour ton blog.

Stephanie on

I take my dictionnary, I don t never used googletrad! And I post a comment!
I promise... Maybe not rapidly, but I promise to you!

Mini Me on

Rassure moi tu ne parles pas de toi quand tu dis: "After a tough trop trekking for several days ??"


nadegeb72 on

Haha mini me, non, moi c'est "after a busy town like Hanoi"... Same same, but different !


4pm-8am..... wow.......with three jetlagged kids right now, I dream of this!

bergamotte on

night night bichette

supet-toutounet on

Hummm :)))).... dormir tout plein d'heures d’affilée.... hummm le rêve......

odanouille on

ma loute, comme tu le sais je suis allée à LP il ya plus de 10 ans et y suis retournée 2 ans ago.
je n'ai pas reconnu la ville, comme tu le sais j'adore lp, mais tu as tout à fait raison, elle est faîte pour le tourisme, et en même temps on y trouve une sérénité incroyable...
il ya 10 ans la ville était décrépie, mais y régnait un charme suranné incroyable... pas de night market, pas d'hôtel, juste 2 guest house dont celle des Souksavat! des galettes de riz et des algues partout dans les rues en train de sécher au soleil
sur le mont Phusy, pas un pellos juste des moines, les chutes d'eau magnifiques, avec seulement un pti chouille de touristos pas plus de 10, jte jure...

je me souviens mon oncle habitait une maison perdue sur une petite colline à proximité d'un temple... où j'y ai vécu une expérience ultra trippante de musique bouddhique au crépuscule, les drapeaux bouddhiques flottants dans les airs et les chants des moines... la lune se levait...
ct y a 10 ans mais ça m'amarquée à vie...
aujourdhui, autour de chez mon oncle, no more rizière... mais garage à scooter...
m'enfin, c comme ça... hein...
tu as raison LP c pas le Laos, mais il fait bon y rester et y manger chez tum tum cheng ;)

c une ville magnifique, et j'ai hâte d'y retourner malgré tout...

bon je reprends la lecture de ton blog, j'adore!!

nadegeb72 on

Merci ma nanette pour ce cool comment ! Ça fait plaisir ! Encore ! :-)))

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