A lot of photographers swear by taking pictures during that “Magic Hollywood Hour” when the sun is setting so you’ll get the best light, but the light rapidly changes and it gets dark so fast you’ll only get a few pictures. It’s not so hot so there will be lots of people ruining your shots with their selfies, but if you go at noon when it’s super hot you’ll have fantastic light and you’ll be alone.
The temperature was 35 C (95 F if you’re American like me) and I wanted to get to the top fast so a jogged up skipping a step to save time. I thought I had developed myocarditis or irregular heartbeats from the virus and I’ve been super lazy and low on energy for years, but I feel good again after running to the top without getting out of breath or feeling dizzy. The negative effects were thankfully temporary. My dog can totally do this sprint up to the top, but he won’t even try when it’s hot so I left him at home.
I wanted to paint the pagoda on top of the hill so I gathered up what art supplies I could find. I only had black paint so it will have to be a dark painting. I can see it from my door, but it’s very small. I did line up the painting with the actual direction and view of the pagado so anyone who sees the painting will also get their bearings.
I’m not happy with it so I tried photoshopping it. They both are OK, but not what I envisioned. Maybe I’ll ask the landlord for the purple paint and touch it up after it’s dried for a few days. What do you think?
I’ve lived in almost twenty countries during my life. I teach business English to adults so I can pretty much live and work anywhere in the world. (If you’re a native speaker with a degree, it’s probably the easiest job in the world.)
I won’t bore you by list-bragging the cities I’ve explored on foot and bike, but I will say with complete confidence that Luang Prabang in the center of Laos in the mountains is the best place I’ve ever been lucky enough to call home.
I haven’t lived in America for so long that I don’t know if MINISO exists there, but they are everywhere in Asia. Sometimes I’ll regret not buying stuff here because it will go out of stock to never return.
You can stay in a five-star $100-a-night hotel or you can go the cheaper route and stay in a backpacker hostel and pay only $10 a night and get a free breakfast. It will be full of mostly younger European tourists so expect to share the room with some drinkers and pot smokers.
If you are an art lover then you’ll be happy in Luang Prabang because there are many art studios like this and hand-made crafts for sale along the street at the night market.
I won’t say where this is so this sleepy guard doesn’t get fired. I doubt their boss has even heard of the HiVe blockchain so it’ll be OK until someone else catches him asleep on the job.
This bridge used to be a lot scarier because it was dark and some of the wood was missing and you could see the long drop-down. If you’ve been to Luang Prabang before then you can’t forget this bridge. I actually jumped off it down into the Namkhan River for the Lao New Year in 2020 and the water was deep enough.
My dog was happy to see me come home, but now that his dad was around he wanted to go bark at his enemy neighbor dogs.
“Look at you in your cage, you big old losers! My dad lets me walk around freely all day.”
I feel ashamed that I’ve lived in Luang Prabang for five years and have gone past this historical site hundreds of times, but have never visited it until now. Besides the waterfalls, this museum is probably one of the first stops for most tourists visiting Luang Prabang. It’s on the same street as the night market and near the stairs to Phousi Mountain.
To be honest, I just didn’t want to pay the entrance fee of 20,000 kip which is about $1.20 USD. You can also buy a meal or a big beer for that much, plus I didn’t want to be around a bunch of tourists.
Luang Prabang is one of the most bicycle-friendly towns I’ve ever visited, but you can also rent electric bikes and motorcycles too. The locals are used to clueless tourists so they won’t honk at you or run you off the road, but be careful of the Thai and Chinese drivers who think they are the star of the next Fast and Furious film or something.
The royal palace was built by King Sisavang Vong in 1904. It has a variety of artifacts from centuries ago as well as cultural exhibits that provide insight into the ancient Siamese lifestyle.
Whenever I go to an interesting place I like to take pictures of people taking pictures or of them just walking around rather than posing. It gives you a better feel of what things are really like. This guy asked me why I took his picture and I told him it was for my travel blog. I showed him my TravelFeed and HiVe accounts and explained that it’s decentralized social media blogging where you can earn crypto and then he was cool with it.
I hadn’t seen my friends from San Diego since 2012 so it was good to catch up with them and play the tourist for a few days.
They must have had a problem with tourists stealing ancient artifacts from the museum in the past so they ask you to secure your bags and cameras before entering. It’s disrespectful to enter with a tanktop on so they asked my friend to rent a nice shirt before going in. It only cost him 5,000 kip which is about thirty cents.
It’s a shame they don’t let you take any pictures inside because there are some cool and ancient things to see. I thought I could sneak a few in, but they had staff watching in every room so I didn’t try it. I think it may be because the flash could damage the old paintings or it could be from old Lao culture that believes taking photos is bad because it traps the spirit or soul in the photograph.
I wonder if this old cannon ever saw combat. Laos was once a French colony so it probably came from there.
I guess there’s no harm in tourists writing things on these coconuts because somebody will just eat them eventually.
I’m glad to see that tourists can no longer ride elephants in Laos. It probably wasn’t fun having random people riding on your back every day. Luang Prabang used to be called, The Land of a Million Elephants, a few hundred years ago.
Thanks for exploring just one of the many sites of Luang Prabang with us today. If you want to visit someplace cheap, but safe and clean and full of natural and ancient wonders then you won’t be disappointed with this secret gem of Asia.
This festival changes dates each year because it falls on the full moon. It is a Buddhist tradition that was adopted from Hinduism. Some people pray to the water goddess, bless their ancestors, wish for good luck for their relationships, or float the year’s bad luck away. I’ll wish for all of the above. I’ve celebrated it many times with my kids or students, but this was the first time I had a romantic Loy Krathong.
I took my dog Rapper to the river before my wife’s friends arrived at our place to give their offerings to the monks. I was both surprised and impressed that he got into the water because he hates taking baths.
Just as the monks came to our spot it started to rain.
Since it was such an important day the monks needed these boys to help them carry all offerings they received. I guess it’s like Halloween, but they do this every morning at sunrise and only monks get stuff. Some people will give them rice, but most will give them treats and even cash. I like walking my dog early in the morning, but only see about one or two people out every day, but there were hundreds of people on my street for Loy Krathong.
I don’t know what these are called in either Lao or English, but they worked as both a decoration and protection from the rain.
The town made several of these floats from each village and competed for prize money for the best-looking one. I saw them working on this one for several days. I think it got 4th place. They look really cool at night with all the candles when they are set in the river.
It felt like a mix of Halloween and Christmas with all of the candles everywhere. I’ve celebrated Loy Krathong in Thailand many times, but it was a much better and more traditional experience in Laos.
They tried converting to electric tuk-tuks about five years ago, but I don’t see any today. I’m not sure if it’s because of price or poor battery longevity, but they are back to using these ugly-looking things again. They are fun to ride in when you first come here, but I’m quite disappointed they are still a thing.
Luang Prabang has its own brand of beer, but it’s got nothing on Beelao. During the pandemic, restaurants would add free beers to every food order, but I’m still not a fan.
I asked my wife why only the ladyboys dressed up as giants and she said it’s because they are big and Lao men aren’t interested in dressing up. I wish Lao women dressed like this every day. It looks so much better than modern fashion.
It’s really hard to capture the moment at night with a Samsung phone with pictures, but I think this video did a good job. Thank you for checking out Loy Krathong 2022 in Luang Prabang with us. Let’s hope all our bad luck floats away…
I’ve been to about twenty countries, but Luang Prabang, Laos is my favorite spot so far. I’ve been lucky enough to call it home for the last four years and I’d like to share my best photos of it with you today.
Even though it’s a small town it has a very diverse amount of visitors. I’ve met tourists from almost every country, even ones I’ve never heard of before. They love watching Thai shows and listening to Thai music and Lao is very similar to Thai so they can understand Thai, but most people can speak English. Laos was once a French colony so some people can speak French. A lot of people can speak Chinese as well.
Not a lot of people have heard or know about Luang Prabang or even the country of Laos, but everyone knows Vietnam which is next door. Laos is a landlocked country that also borders Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, and China. It’s about a 45-minute flight from Bangkok, but you can also take their new high-speed train from China or Thailand.
When my old Navy buddy invited me to visit him in Hanoi, Vietnam, I had to take him up on the offer so we could talk about our time in Vietnam when we are old men. These guys invited us to drink beers with them. They were some of the best beer drinkers I’ve ever met. When they’d pour a drink they’d always say, “Gombai”, which means buttoms up. When I puked in the street and said, “No more Gombai”, they all laughed heartily.
Kuang Si Waterfall
The first thing we did after arriving in Luang Prabang was visit this fantastic waterfall. If the Garden of Eden were real I imagine it would look a lot like Kuang Si. I recently made a HIVE post and a Youtube video about it.
I’ve spent most of my life as a teacher but realized how much I like working in hospitality after I got a job at Pullman Hotel. It’s an expensive five-star hotel on the way to the waterfall, but there are also many nice guest houses in town that will only cost about $10 a night.
Temples and the King’s House
This beautiful house that looks like a temple was once the king’s home but is a museum today.
You can’t miss Phousi because it’s on top of a hill downtown and can be seen from almost anywhere in Luang Prabang. It also serves as a good marker if you get lost.
The first time we took our dog, Rapper, to the top of Mt. Phousi he was a scared little puppy, but this time he led the way like a boss. We take him everywhere with us.
Buddhist countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos like to buy homemade good luck offerings for the monks. Since we had to carry them to the top I didn’t think we should’ve bought these in town, but mom’s the boss.
It’s a little hard to see in this picture, but if you look at the very center you can see the top of Phousi.
There are many ways to the top, but I prefer taking the steps by a large temple in town which is the fastest way up. Rapper kept looking back wondering why we didn’t run up the steps like he did.
Almost to the top now. I really like this spot where you can pray to Buddha and get your fortune by shaking a large bamboo cup full of chopsticks with numbers on them. The first one that falls out is your fortune; you can take the paper with your fortune.
Let me know if I got this legend wrong, but I think these statues represent an ancient Hindu belief that a mighty Naga sea creature came out of the river and married the most beautiful woman who was a goddess of life and fertility.
Buddhas along the way…
They have a different Buddha for each day of the week and various appearances. Some are young, some are old, some are fat, and some are lazily taking a nap.
At the top
Once you make it to the top you can enjoy a 360 view of the whole town.
I don’t remember at how many months Rapper went from a terrified little puppy to a security guard, but I’m happy to see he’s socialized well and is a confident little guy.
See? I told you we could buy this stuff at the top!
The best time to take pictures is early in the morning or right before sunset, but we went at noon when it was hottest for some reason.
I like taking pictures of people taking pictures.
Rapper hates being told what to do. Teenagers like to roll their eyes at mom and dad, but Rapper yawns to show his annoyance with us. Does your dog do the same?
I love ringing these old bells at the temples. I’ll give em a hard smack for the loudest sound. I think you’re supposed to do it three times.
Stay hydrated baby.
I hate how other dog lovers are always taking pictures of their dogs’ asses, but this one captured Rapper’s leadership both up and down the hike well.
Are you coming, dad?
Thank you for reading about another great hike up to Phousi in Luang Prabang, Laos with us today. Have a great day and may the Buddha be with you.
I’ve been stuck in the country of Laos 🇱🇦 (It’s next to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and China.) since one day after my 40th birthday on March 27th, 2020. I had just applied for my work visa when they shut everything down. They said it would be for just two weeks, then two months, now it’s been over two years.
I live in the wonderful town of Luang Prabang which is a UNESCO world heritage site so I don’t have any complaints, but I’ve also been unemployed for quite a while. I was a teacher for a long time, but I started working at a hotel in 2018 and I decided that hospitality was what I wanted to do, then BOOM, Covid-19 came along. I was in the military when I was young, but I got out in 2015 so my GI Bill benefits expired a while ago, but I saw an email from the VA (The Veterans’ Administration) that I could get some job retraining so I took them up on their offer. Most of the jobs were for things like hospital work, welding, truck driving, and other technical jobs, but I noticed that they had a certificate in digital illustration so I chose that.
Most of my classes were about Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I felt that my teachers were just shills for Adobe and for buying a MacBook. Since Laos went lockdown crazy, I couldn’t find a new computer if I wanted to. I also only had an income of $285 for my disability compensation from the VA, so there was no chance in hell I was ever going to afford a brand new computer anyways. It took me a while, but I figured out how to get both programs to work on Linux on my piece of junk old PC with a little help from the Pirate Bay. I wouldn’t recommend it though. It was a total pain in the neck and I could only get 2012 or 2015 versions to work. Overall, I feel disappointed in my learning experience. Online classes just plain suck. I need to be IN the classroom. I need to be able to raise my hand and ask the teacher for help. I will NEVER take an online course as long as I live.
One thing I did find useful from my course was my teacher saying that most digital artists still use good old paper and pencil to get started and then scan to Photoshop so that’s what I did. Since the whole NFT market is crashing I wanted to make fun of some of the other NFT projects I have tried but didn’t care for like CryptoKitties, Axie Infinity, or NBA Top Shot.
The Sacred Unicorn may no longer be the best card for using in Life battles, but it’s still my favorite card so I thought I’d do a few rough sketches and see how it went, but I was happy with the first try and just kept on going with it…
I felt it was time to move from pencil to Photoshop so I added my pencil drawing to my wall of inspiration. If I ever become a famous NFT artist, I’ll mail someone the original pencil drawings. (That’s a big IF right?)
I went to Pexels and did a search for: SKY BACKGROUND and really liked the photo by Oleg Magni. I later got so frustrated with Photoshop that I gave up, quit, and decided it just wasn’t going to work out. I really miss my iPad and the wonderful program of ProCreate so I did a Google search for an alternative and came up with SketchBook. It took me all week to get used to it and to draw the Sacred Unicorn but I absolutely love SketchBook now.
Another problem I had was that NOBODY in Luang Prabang sells or has even heard of a stylus so I had to make my own. You can read my post: DIY: Make your own STYLUS pen at home if you want or need to do the same.
Now that I had my trusty DIY stylus and a good digital art program it was time to get crackin. I tried making the NBA ball in Photoshop, then in Illustrator, then in the Linux versions of Gimp and Inkscape but found it too difficult. The only thing I did with Photoshop was put the pencil drawing over the background image, but if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t have used Photoshop at all and just saved the background image as exactly that in the layers menu in SketchBook. I could probably draw this whole picture all over again in a day if I had to re-do it, but I had fun drawing it which is something I haven’t felt in a long time and I also learned a lot from my mistakes so it’s all good.
If I had been better at using layers, I would have had a much easier time doing this, but I’ll do my next drawing much faster and smarter.
I absolutely love the predictive stroke tool in SketchBook and how you can adjust the level of AI-assisted drawing from 1 to 5. It was a better experience than using either Photoshop or Procreate in my opinion.
Here is the original Sacred Unicorn image from Splinterlands. I used the eye drop tool and the undo tool about a million times. I used the eye drop tool to get the colors right from the kitty, axie, and unicorn, but I’m proud to have drawn this image myself without any tracing. I used to just put an A4 piece of paper over the original Splinterlands art, do a rough trace, then pencil and ink my drawing. Although it is good practice for getting your shading and inking down, it’s still cheating, right? Thanks for reading about my original drawing today. I’m looking forward to doing another sketch. Which Splinterlands card should I use for inspiration next?
There are many ways up the hill called Phousi Mountain, but we decided to park at Miniso so I could grab some water because Wan’s strawberry shake was a bit too sweet and it’s always good to hydrate before exercising. Do you have a Miniso where you live? Here in Luang Prabang, it’s the only chain store that exists and it’s also the only place to buy anything of some quality. Since Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site there are many rules protecting the historical look. Their goal is to keep the mix of French colonial and Lao architecture look which means new construction is almost impossible. Buildings can not be over two stories and most corporations are kept out. This means there isn’t any 7-11, Mickey-Ds, KFC, or any other corporate crap. It’s kind of like being in Westworld. I’m not sure how Miniso got past the rules, but they are a great shop so I’m glad they did.
At first, we went up the wrong steps. It led to the monks’ quarters.
There were these three buddhas sitting together, but not a path up the hill unless you are willing to climb over the wall and hike up the dirt path which Wan and Rapper weren’t willing to do.
Other than a few monks, we were the only people going up the hill on this beautiful day. It’s possible to come here and be alone in the middle of the night, but I doubt there will ever be another opportunity to have a private hike like this ever again unless there is another pandemic or World War.
The steps up to Phousi are behind this temple. There are many signs leading the way. There are a few ways to the top, but most people will go this way.
Local legend claims that this is the footprint of a giant. Wan told me that the monks pray to keep the giant in check and from destroying the town, but I doubt some young boys in orange robes are going to be much of a match for a giant. If there really was a giant and I saw it, I would try to be his friend, but I’ve never seen anything to convince me that giants were ever real. Maybe there were some freakishly tall people back in the day, but where are the bones? I think they just heated up some steal in the shape of a foot to melt this volcanic rock back in the day to scare bad people away.
Wan told me that the giants are not actually physical beings, but supernatural. They are demons that will possess and curse people. That is why the monks are always beating on the drums. It keeps the giant inside the mountain and from hurting anybody. It’s like how the Jedi temple was constructed on top of an ancient Sith temple in Coruscant suppressing the dark side.
Another thing you will see a lot of in Laos and Thailand is the Naga. He was half serpent half-man who lived in the river and came out only to marry a most beautiful woman. This legend is older than Buddhism itself and I can’t help but wonder if it was passed down way back during the Egyptian times.
There are also legends of the Cam people. That is where Cambodia got its name. They were black people with advanced technology that came here a long time ago. They sure sound like Egyptians to me. Luang Prabang is a truly beautiful place with lovely weather. If there was an advanced ancient civilization back in the day, they surely vacationed here as well.
We took all of these pictures with my Samsung Galaxy A12. I wonder how many DSLR cameras are getting sold today now that almost similar results can be captured on cheap phones. I’m proud of the beautiful pictures we took but most proud of getting good ones of Rapper here. Puppies are almost impossible to take pictures of because they never stay still, but you should do your best because they only stay this cute for a very short time.
Pray for Good Luck and Fortune
When you pray at a Buddhist temple you will sometimes see this cup full of chopsticks with numbers on them. Shake it until one falls out to reveal your fortune.
I got number 13, so I found the fortune for my number in the box.
Number thirteen is lucky. If you desire anything, you will be able to manifest it into reality. An elder will bring you happiness and fortune, but you will have a bit of suffering in your heart. You will have good karma. Your life will be comfortable. If you have a child it will be a boy. You will have an easy time your whole life.
I always pray that today will be the day that our Earth finally makes contact with benevolent extra-terrestrial life that shares their technology with us ending our wars, politics, and capitalism, but I’ll take what fortune Buddha has given me. Wan didn’t want to shake the cup of fortune for some reason.
At the Top
This is where most people will take their photos from. Since we were alone, I put my phone up here, put it on a ten-second timer delay, and ran back to take a selfie with Wan and Rapper.
Rapper took a little protest nap not realizing that the journey is only halfway complete. After some rest and a bit of water, he was ready to go down all the steps.
Thank you for reading about our puppy’s first hike up Phousi Mountain in Luang Prabang, Laos today. May you avoid any giants or bad luck and have a wonderful day.
This horrible pandemic bullshit is finally coming to an end. Can you feel it? For the already mega-rich billionaires and tech companies, it was a dream come true. I’m not one of them, but I must admit, I enjoyed the whole staying at home playing Splinterlands and watching Jocko Podcast all-day thing. Maybe I’m a bit agoraphobic. I enjoy being an introvert, but I miss my extrovert life too. I doubt few people in the whole world were as lucky as me during Covid because I’ve been stuck in the wonderful town of Luang Prabang, Laos. Winter has come and it was a beautiful day so my girlfriend Wan and I ditched her motorcycle and went for a good old-fashioned walk around town today. I really like this old red car, but have never seen anything like it before. Do you know what kind of car it is?
I started our walk with a dark Beer Lao while Wan went for the original Beer Lao. Laos has some of the best things in the world in my opinion. I find the women to be the kindest and most beautiful and I’ve been to America, Mexico, Canada, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, South Africa, Burma, and Cambodia. The food is definitely my favorite and the weather is great all year except for the few months it rains all day. The beer is also my favorite in the world and it only costs $1 for a big bottle.
A nice breakfast at my friend’s guest house and restaurant ain’t a bad way to start the day. I really feel bad for all the restaurants around the world. They provide such a great service for us all but have all been hit so hard by this pandemic. When are we going to have a global crisis that ruins all the lawyers’, bankers’, and politicians’ lives?
Usually, you have to pay the monks to enter here, but now that things have shut down into ghost-town-land, it’s been free every time. It’s interesting visiting spots that have been places of worship since before your own country was a nation. Ancient kings were crowned and married here in the past. I imagine there are many spirits roaming around this holy and ancient place.
We came here to pray for my dying dog Spot.
He was such a cute and sweet boy, but he sadly didn’t make it. There was nothing the vet could do for him. I believe he died of Covid because he had all the symptoms and went from strong and healthy to dead in just three days. Only God and Dr. Fauci know what really happened. I feel like he must have been an angel because he led me to find the sweetest girl I’ve ever met and brought so much joy to my life when I was in a very dark place. I hope that he is in heaven relaxing on an air-conditioned cloud full of pizzas.
This was the king’s house before 1975 when the Americans pulled out of South East Asia and the communist took control of everything. They moved the capital of Laos from Luang Prabang to the southern city of Vientiane. They gave the king a wonderful job in a labor camp, but at least they preserved his house. It is a museum today and you can check it out if you ever visit.
This bridge is a total piece of junk. If you ever cross over it on a motorcycle you will know true fear. It’s got wood for pavement. There are also two pedestrian paths on either side that are even scarier because the wood looks old as hell and it’s a long dropdown. I’ve jumped off the bridge into the water before so you won’t die as long as you hit the water where it’s deep if you do fall.
It was about 16:00 so we went to Big Tree Cafe for dinner. Most Asian locations are total noobs when it comes to cooking western food like Spaghetti, but Luang Prabang used to be a French colony so they can cook it pretty well in most locations.
The Mekong River is so beautiful. I hope the god-damned Chinese don’t screw it up like they do everything else with their hydroelectric dams.
Thank you for reading about our Wednesday walk today. I hope you have a wonderful day and the chance to visit Luang Prabang one day. God bless you and my dead dog Spot and may the CCP burn in hell!
If you ever visit Luang Prabang, Laos I recommend Lexaku Art Gallery by the intersection across from Dara Market. It’s also next to Chaleunphone Restaurant which serves the best-tasting food for the price.
ถ้าคุณมีโอกาสเยี่ยม ຫຼວງພະບາງ ฉันแนะนำ Lexaku Art Gallery มันอยู่ที่สี่แยกตรงกันข้ามกับตลาดดาราและติดกับร้านอาหารโปรดของฉัน Chaleunphone Restaurant
Each painting sells for about $300 and captures the beauty of the local traditions and lifestyle of Luang Prabang.
Here is the entrance. There are many more paintings to admire. These are just the ones we liked or could get a good shot of without too much reflection. The staff is friendly, speaks English, and won’t mind if you take pictures of every painting in the gallery.
ส่วนนี้คือหน้าร้าน Lexaku Art Gallery มีรูปวาดที่สวยมากพนักงานสามารถพูดภาษาอังกฤษได้และเขาไม่ได้ว่าอะไรถ้าเราจะถ่ายรูป
This is a lovely painting of the sunset behind the Mekong River, but it also reminds me of Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings.
ฉันชอบรูปภาพที่มีพระอาทิตย์ตกที่แม่น้ำโขงแต่มันทำให้ฉันนึกถึง Mount Doom ของ Lord of the Rings ด้วย
This painting looks like a road you might see in Zelda or Genshin Impact.
รูปนี้ดูเหมือนเล่นเกม Zelda และ Genshin Impact
This Hmong lady looks, boss. She’s probably wondering why the farmers above aren’t working harder and who’s going to get her more to smoke.