Luang Prabang, Laos

We flew from Hanoi to Luang Prabang (1.25 hr flight, $140). Luang Prabang is a small (pop 56K) ‘world heritage town’. It reminds me a lot of a hotter and more humid version of Antigua, Guatemala. Lots of tourists, a few expats, good international food, but not too overpriced and resort-like (yet). It makes me want to go back to Antigua..

The main thing that everyone does here go to Kuang Si falls, and ride some elephants. The other “must do” activity is to give alms to the monks. See the links to photos below.

We decided to settle in for 9 days and relax. Christine did some volunteer teaching and meditation. We did a couple boat and kayak trips on the Mekong River, which reminds me off growing up on the Mississippi in Davenport IA. Very muddy, polluted, and strong current.

Overall I like Laos better than Vietnam in some ways so far. Its much cleaner and and quieter. Way less trash everywhere, and people don’t drive with their horns they way they do in Vietnam. Of course there are way less people too. I love that you have to take off your shoes outside the front door of all the guest houses.

We got to ride our first electric Tuk Tuk, which I hope catches on quickly, as its much nicer than a regular Tuk Tuk in every way.

Everyone I talked to is worried about what will happen to the town after the new high-speed train from China is completed (scheduled for 2020). There are several huge Chinese hotels already under construction on the edge of town. Go now, before the train starts running.

Some locals I talked to expect China to just invade and take over someday. There are serious challenges for this town to maintain its world heritage status in the face of so much growth.

Next, off to the ‘plain of jars’, which will be completely different.


We stayed at the IQ Inn. We loved the location. Close to the main tourist zone, but not in it. We had the upstairs room, which was great. I would not recommend staying in any of the downstairs rooms.

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