My friend from Germany is the only guest staying at this hotel due to the virus. I wouldn’t have even known about this place if he hadn’t invited me over for some beer.
I’ve walked or driven by several times, but because of the sign, I always thought it was a religious place and just ignored it. It’s not religious, but it’s quite expensive.
My buddy and his girlfriend are the only guests staying here, so they got an 80% discount.
Mai Too Restaurant
Nice, but empty.
Around here, mid-level and cheaper businesses are doing fine, but these fancy places have become bare.
Seating for No One
It may be a sad story for the hotel owner, but my friend feels like royalty staying here alone.
You may appreciate the lovely pond, but I can only see a beautiful, but dumb roof. It collects way more than enough solar energy a day to run everything. I would like to have a hotel just like this, except that the roofs will collect solar energy like Elon Musk’s roofs do. It could be marketed as a green off-grid place to stay.
If you do fancy staying at this hotel, it’s south-east of the Dara Market.
How far from home?
I personally despise America. The food tastes like GMO shit, the people are fat, dumb, and judgmental. Everything is fake, including the religion, the news, the financial system, and the whole “American Dream”. I’m glad it’s all over 13,000 kilometers away from here.
This is a sad picture because I really wanted to do a post about this place after it re-opened after the lockdown.
I was planning on showing the owner our HIVE community and how to post here, but it looks like it is another unnecessary lockdown casualty. Things feel almost normal here in Laos, there just aren’t any Chinese tourists, and a third of the businesses never came back.
This travel blog has been a great motivator for me to try new places. I’m a creature of habit and love to go to the same spot and eat the same thing every day, but I’ve been trying new places a lot now.
The artist got the Laos spelling right, but not the English, because fuck spelling right?
The staff was warm and friendly. It was nice of them to think of the kids.
I’ve swum across the Mekong river before but decided not to join my friend this time. I was super hungry and was already drunk so we just enjoyed our food and beer while we tried to keep an eye on him.
I always get mad at my friends who have something like this printed before checking with a native speaker. I mean come on, how hard is to ask someone to check it for a minute before you go and permanently make it look like you don’t give a shit?
Start the swim.
My friend probably got HIV and Covid-19 by swimming in this river, but that’s how you boost your immune system right?
You can barely see him in the center of the shot here. His head is just a small little dot.
Jet Ski Time
The lifeguards were at the same restaurant as us, so maybe they could jet ski to him in time if he cramped up, but he was fine. I still follow my military training of always having a swim buddy and told him not to swim alone, but he didn’t listen or care.
Thanks for checking out another restaurant with us today here in Luang Prabang. Don’t swim across rivers alone!
I couldn’t think of a better place to end up during these crazy times. Luang Prabang truly is a hidden gem that I’ve been lucky enough to call home for two years now.
I was in the military then became a teacher, but it wasn’t until I came to Luang Prabang that I discovered I love working in hospitality.
I was a general manager before the pandemic, but there are almost zero high paying tourists left, so some of the things I ended up doing were farm work and construction. An old guy I’ve known since I got here was laughing at me helping a chicken that had fallen out of the tree. He thought it was really funny that I used to be wearing a suit and now I was a chicken farmer.
I lived on a sailboat in San Diego for two years where I learned how important wood maintenance was. The wood lacquer here was cheaper than foreign beer and brought all the doors and frames to a shiny finish. I had to do a before and after of half the door so the owner would agree. This picture convinced her we needed a lot more wood lacquer.
All the construction workers here use this crap they call Epson. I think it’s a liquid version of drywall. Whatever it is, it sucks, so I used cement to repair many things.
Fixing cracks and holes in the walls works best with cement here because they don’t use drywall for walls. It’s mostly bricks and mortar construction.
It will take a bit more paint to cover up later, but it is permanently repaired.
I don’t know what kind of painter’s tape you have where you are from, but here in Laos, there is only one choice, 3M. If you use any of the cheap Chinese ones, they’ll fail you. The paint will leak through. Sticky residue will be left behind. And worst of all, it won’t even stick to anything longer than a day. What’s the best painter’s tape in your opinion?
If I were from here, I’d hate Americans for all the bombs the CIA dropped here that are still exploding and killing kids today, but they have the attitude that it was in the past and forgive my generation for what our elders did to them. This very American screwdriver was made in China.
The first room I started to renovate had false windows with thin plywood. I could hear the owner talking in Laos and watching songs on YouTube like she was in the same room, so I got some better plywood and cut it to fit the window. I glued and cemented it in and it added some privacy to the room.
I wish it was as easy to rid life of flaky people as it was to sand out the flakes of the plywood.
After cementing and painting, it was time to bring life to this boring windowless room.
I used my pocket projector to trace the famous waterfall with pencil.
I didn’t have the best paint or brushes.
The owner told me to finish this by the end of the day. It made me not want to paint it any more and I just left it like this.
Heavy foreigners warped this bed so the owner used a strap and a hammer to warp it back.
They most likely used strings to line things up even before the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids.
The electrician did something wrong, so they will have to rip out some of the new ceiling again.
The drywall here is different. It’s the cheapest junk from China.
This plugin was loose and it always had the TV power cord falling out so I thought I could make the holes catchier by adding cement and paint. It achieved the goal of keeping the TV plugged in, but it looks very *Flintstones*.
This time I put tape over the face so it would look the same, but it didn’t come out so well. I really need to work on making plugins look nice.
It only gets too hot here in the summer so you don’t need airconditioning, but all the rooms will have it if you want it.
Thanks for reading. How have you been killing the time?
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.
Luang Prabang truly is a magical place. It feels like it’s Christmas every day here. When I was a kid in Catholic school, I remember reading about The Garden of Eden. I imagine it was here, or someplace similar.
I came here with my Dutch friend Frank. He is 53, but way more energetic and fit than I’ve ever been. He had a stroke when he was 32, but is doing very well now. He is a Muay Thai fighter, so he knows how to overcome things like a warrior.
We used his iPhone 7 to take these at about 14:30. I’ve taken great shots and even video here with an iPhone 5 with good sun. Frank said people want to see the natural wonder of Kuang Si Waterfall, not two old white guys hitting on Chinese ladies and our selfies. I agree.
We went for a dive from the big tree with the sign warning NOT to jump in. It’s 9 feet deep, so you can dive in. I would just suggest arching up to surface or jumping in feet first.
If you stay still for longer than three seconds, little fish will come and nibble at your toes.
You’ll see the bears after paying the three dollar entrance fee. People hunt them, so they need help protecting them. They are very shy and hard to get on camera.
The hike up to the waterfall isn’t arduous. You’ll think you’ve arrived at the best spot, but it keeps showing you it’s many levels of natural beauty.
If you hike up ALL the way to the top, you’ll find a cool swing to show off on. No one seems capable of getting on it, so they’ll take pictures of you or try to do the same. It’s funny either way.
Southeast Asia has some spectacular islands. In a way, Luang Prabang is one of them. Rather than being surrounded by ocean, it’s an island surrounded by beautiful and farmable mountainous jungle.
I almost deleted this shot because of the sun ray, but I think it looks like a blessing of light.
It’s about an hour drive from town so we started heading back. Farmers don’t rely on automation or chemicals here like in the west. This makes the food taste good. Organic food is one reason why people here look healthy and happy.
We made it back to town in time to see this. Thank you for exploring beautiful Luang Prabang, or my nickname for it, The Garden of Eden, today. Just don’t eat any apples from The Tree of Life!
Welcome to the ancient kings’ house. I shot all of these with an iPhone 5 or my old iPad Pro. They were pretty out of date, but the right lighting helped them capture these survivors of the delete button.
Even though this is only nine pictures, most of them are of my favorite place on the planet, Luang Prabang, Laos.
Capetown, South Africa was a good memory. People there all had a great sense of humor and enjoyed my jokes. I got to meet up with an old friend from Korea I hadn’t seen since 2007.
When I asked these models for this picture they thought I was going to make it my new Facebook Cover photo. I wish I’d had something better than an iPhone 5 and fixed my tie.
These baby elephants eat around two hundred kilograms of food a day.
The southern islands of Thailand are always fun!
This came out pretty good. Too bad my friend’s man purse got jacked thirty seconds after this shot.
Stupas are one of the hardest things to shoot. I walked very far and was sweating like a pig in the hot sun, but it was worth it for this.
And the Winner is…
Not only was Lowcow one of the best dogs, she was one of my best friends ever. I truly believe that when dogs pass, they also pass on the light and stay with us as guardian angels. She was really tough. When we would play fight, she’d run at full power and take me down like a bowling pin. This may not be the best picture photoshooting wise, but it’s the winner in my heart.
Thanks for checking out my favorite pictures from last year. I should’ve done this for New Years, but I just thought of it now. Cheers!