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Luang Prabang: The secret gem of Asia

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.

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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.

Vietnam

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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.

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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 buttons up. When I puked in the street and said, “No more Gombai”, they all laughed heartily.

Kuang Si Waterfall

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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.

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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.

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Temples and the King’s House

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This beautiful house that looks like a temple was once the king’s home but is a museum today.

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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.

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La Pistoche Pool and Bar is a great place to bring the kids, have some food and drinks, or just get out of the sun.

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They take a lot of pride in their local beer, Beerlao, and rightfully so because it tastes great and usually costs less than a dollar.

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Thanks for checking out Luang Prabang today. If you are planning on visiting South East Asia it’s really worth a visit.

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Another day in Paradise at Kuang Si Waterfall:
https://peakd.com/hive-184437/@jeremiahcustis/another-day-in-paradise-at-kuang-si-waterfall

Kuang Si Waterfall:
https://www.tourismluangprabang.org/things-to-do/nature/kuang-si-waterfall/

Pullman Hotel:
https://www.pullman-luangprabang.com/

La Pistoche Pool and Bar:
https://lapistochepool.wordpress.com/

Ancient Temples of Luang Prabang

Some of the temples in Laos are over 700 years old. They were most likely places of worship even longer than that. There also are these giant jars that are thousands of years old and no one has any idea who made them, how, or why. The locals have stories that they were used for brewing beer by giants.

There are so many temples in Luang Prabang that you could live here for years and not see them all.

There are famous temples where tour guides will take you, but there are also many hidden gems no one has ever publicly photographed or can be found on the internet.

These gargoyles represent the story of Buddha’s enlightenment. While he was meditating, a large serpent wrapped around and protected him from the rain. Even though they are mostly Buddhist here, there are still signs of Hinduism in the designs of the statues.

You will often see sticky rice in the mouths of the gargoyles as an offering and thanks for their protection.

If you ever get lost in Luang Prabang, look up and you’ll see the golden Phousi pagoda. There are many ways to hike up with great viewpoints and Buddhas to see. The whole town worked together to lift the construction materials needed by working together as a bucket brigade or human chain.

I captured this shot at sunset at Xiengthong Temple which was built in the 1500s. I imagine that way back then there were fewer distractions so they maintained the flowers and buildings even better than they do today.

This is a cemetery for Vietnamese who’ve passed away here. Since some of them were Christian, they were buried. Buddhists usually cremate their dead, but will sometimes have some small shrine with their picture containing their ashes here. I don’t think a lot of people ever visit this place because it’s at the edge of town and is creepy in a haunted way.

My friends always want to meet for lunch at noon or one which I’m always reluctant to do because of the heat at that time of the day, but it’s great for getting bright shots like this. I have no idea the name or location of this temple, I just saw it out of the corner of my eye while riding down a random road.

This would make for a cool animated GIF NFT work of art. I would have energy flow from the roots up and out of the leaves then blessing all creatures around it. If you steal this picture and my idea you have Buddha’s blessing, I’ll be very happy for you too. I’d love to see it, but I don’t know how to make it. I can’t wait until we can just scan our thoughts then create NFT works of art in seconds. It will be so fun for artistic-minded, but not tech-savvy people.

Thank you for exploring these historic temples with me today. I took these over the course of a year using cheap Samsung phones, but good lighting. If you’ve never visited Luang Prabang, it’s in the center of Laos. It was the capital before 1975. It is under UNESCO protection so it won’t change. It’s very likely you could wait twenty years before you came here and found your pictures resemble mine. There is a good vibe and cool weather a third of the time while it will be hot or raining the rest of the year. Most food is delicious, organic, and cheap. Hopefully, you get the chance to visit one day.

UTOPIA in Luang Prabang, LAOS

This is the most famous place in Luang Prabang to drink, chill by the river, and watch the game. Everyone in town knows where it is and it’s easy to find on Google Maps.


It is near the good ATM opposite the street of Wat Aham. You can see Mount Phousi if you look up too. This is a great landmark, because you can see it from most spots in Luang Prabang. They light it up at night. I’m using an old iPad to take this shot, so I took this at 13:00 to get the best lighting.


There are three ways to get here. This is where they keep the garbage, so not many people come in from here.


This way has a cool bridge though. I have a lot of great memories crossing this bridge. There will be some dogs that may bark at you to the left, but they are all sweet ones.


Most people will come from this way. There will be several tuk-tuk drivers here at night. They will charge you around 50,000 kip to go somewhere else in town. If you have a big group, you can try to negotiate, but 50,000 kip is around $5.


You can come in by the ice cream stand and walk past Wat Aphay. If you miss this entrance you will see Red Bull Sports Bar and people playing pool inside. It’s a good place too.


This is a famous ancient temple here in Luang Prabang. I like to come here and add audio to my Youtube videos, because it’s quiet here.


There are plenty of signs to lead you there. There are a few other bars and cheap places to stay along the way.


This is the entrance. If there is a live sports game on, you’ll see a lot of people in this area watching it on the projector screen.


All of the staff are friendly and can speak English well.


There are UXOs or unexploded ordinances as decorations. Don’t worry. The fuses and explosives have been removed. These were not so nice little gifts from Uncle Sam during the Vietnam War. The CIA and US Air-force had a not so secret war here.


You can sit or lay down and enjoy the view of the Namkhan River.


This is the central area and what you’ll see when you first walk in.


This is where they will have fires to stay warm at night. Sometimes guests will chill out and chat and sometimes it’s the dance floor. I spent New Years 2019 here. It was one of my best memories ever.


I couldn’t find the menu on their Facebook page, but my iPad was able to get a clear shot. I just had to crop, rotate, and adjust the lighting a bit, but you can read it.


You can check out their Facebook page here:
https://web.facebook.com/Utopialaos/

Their Facebook page has way better pictures, but I couldn’t find the menu. They accept Bitcoin here as well. Thank you for checking out Utopia today. Hope to see you here one day!


View this post on TravelFeed for the best experience.