To tell you the truth, I had never even heard of Luangprabang until I asked Purple Dragon to suggest someplace peaceful, untrampled, charming, incredibly beautiful, and full of history.
What a surprise! This royal capital of Laos--former French colonial outpost and World Heritage Site--seems almost frozen in time. The town's narrow lanes are lined with 19th century colonial villas. It's a great place for wandering on foot--more than 30 active temples (and what seems like thousands of monks), hundreds of architectural treasures, and a bustling morning market popular with hilltribes villagers.
Yesterday we traveled by boat 25 kilometers along the Mekong to visit the Tham Ting Cave, a cavern hollowed by nature from limestone cliffs. Inside are thousands of Buddha images of various sizes, styles, and ages, left by generations of pilgrims.
There's even a surprising bit of nightlife here! Small pubs and cafes are popular hangouts for young people. Last night I my guide introduced me to the local disco. It was absolutely packed and I quickly learned how friendly the handsome Lao men can be.
Please, please, please do not tell anyone about Luangprabang. But you really should see it for yourself while it is still unspoiled. Tomorrow I'll tell you about the spectacular rainforest and about my lovely new friend and about the parade of monks I saw just after dawn.
Don't work too hard!