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Luang Prabang, Laos – Photos

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008



We were actually a bit disappointed with Luang Prabang; 1) it’s overcrowded with tourists – we couldn’t get over how many tourists there were in this little town, 2) We just had a feeling that the locals were in over their heads with the tourists, that they couldn’t cope the way the Thais have in the more touristy places (a case of too much, too fast?), 3) I somehow expected Luang Prabang to be a bit more grandiose – it wasn’t. Temples were actually not as impressive as ones we’d seen in Thailand (actually, when comparing, you can see that most temples have in Thailand have had a lot of restoration work. Luang Prabang’s temples are a bit shaby in comparison – Laos however, is also a much poorer country). Finally 4) we were surprised by the weather – everyday in Luang Prabang started cloudy and cold. Not cool but cold. The sky would clear up a bit in the afternoon but even then wouldn’t get really warm. Evenings got downright cold!


The selling point of Luang Prabang is that it’s a relaxing, laid back kind of place. Maybe it used to be (in which case I can see that it would have been charming), but it certainly wasn’t in February 2008. Just too many tourists…


Hiking in Northern Laos – Photos

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008


We lucked out on this trek with Tiger Trail (booked in Luang Prabang):{D973D667-CD7E-484B-BB1D-C907D6811A83}

The hike started 15 km out of Luang Prabang at the Lao Spirit Resort which is afiliated with Tiger Trail (it looks great, wish we had stayed a night here!). The resort is surrounded by mountains and is flanked by a river accross which is Tiger Trail’s Elephant Camp.

I’ve been on more spectacular hikes and have had much better guides (our guide at Tiger Trail was not very good at all) – but this hike was special in other ways; we had the fortune of meeting some very interesting fellow travellers including a Dutch couple who were biking their way through South East Asia and an English girl who was taking a 3 day mahout training course. It was a scenic hike, lots of mountain scenery and a few hill tribe tribe villages where we were “Sabadee-ed” by tons of friendly little kids. 


We finished the hike with a stop at a school where the children greeted us with a singing of the Lao national anthem. The interaction with locals made the hike very special and was one of the highlights of our trip to South East Asia. I would suggest bringing something for the kids (I gave the kids colour markers that I had bought at the dollarstore in Montreal – they seemed to really like that).