Luang Prabang-City of Temples and French Bakeries

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Street in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang-City of Temples and French Bakeries

First of all I’d like to apologize for my lack of posts lately. The internet is Laos has not been good. I’ve tried multiple times to upload pictures and it just wasn’t going to happen. I am still very new to the travel blogging world, and it is a learning experience for me. As I have been writing this post about Luang Prabang I have learned that even if I don’t have an internet connection I should at least try to write a post and save it on my hard drive.

Since my visit to Luang Prabang was over 10 days ago, it is not fresh on my mind anymore and I have been to a few destinations since then. So, this post may not be as detailed as some of my better ones.

The slow boat docks IN Luang Prabang?

Well, I learned the hard way that transportation in Laos is a ripoff. The country has been a frustrating place to get around and arriving in Luang Prabang was no different. More about transportation issues and other problems in Laos later.

The boat docked about 5 km north of town even though it easily could have docked right out side of town since the Mekong runs directly through Luang Prabang. The reason?

To exploit foreign travelers.

Laos likes to do this. See its easy to say that the boat will arrive in Lunag Prabang and people will just believe that it really does. But it is easy enough for the boat company to make a deal with local tuk tuk drivers to dock north of town so they can get an extra $3 per person just to drive them in to the city. What other option do we have?

Temples, Temples and more Temples

Its seems like I’m always saying that a city is known for its temples, but once again Luang Prabang tops the list of cities in SE Asia known for its temples. I’ll be honest I’m getting kind of tired of walking around looking for temples. After my trip to Angkor Wat (I am writing this post in Siem Reap and will visit the famous city of temples tomorrow) I am going to need a break from temples!

Anyway there are some beautiful temples that I spotted here in Luang Prabang.

Haw Pha Bang temple-on the grounds of the Royal Palace in Luang Prabang

Haw Pha Bang temple-on the grounds of the Royal Palace in Luang Prabang

Wat Sensoukharam

Wat Sensoukharam

The French Influence

France colonized Laos in the late 19th century in an attempt to control trade from China on the Mekong River. Along with Cambodia and Vietnam this area of SE Asia was known as French Indochina. The region was under the control of France until the Japanese took control during WWII and the countries later gained their independence.

Arriving in Luang Prabang the influence of the French is immediately apparent. Beautiful French architecture lines the streets and the smell of freshly baked pastries wafts from the small cafes located on every corner.

There are also more French tourists here in Luang Prabang than I have seen anywhere else so far on my trip.

The Mekong River in Luang Prabang

The Mekong River in Luang Prabang

Overall I was very impressed with the city of Luang Prabang. It was a nice mix of the typical SE Asian town with a little touch of European sophistication. The setting, of course is beautiful, located in the Mekong River and surrounded by green, mist shrouded hills.

While I have had mixed emotions about the country of Laos, my visit to Luang Prabang will definitely be a memorable one.

Brooks

Brooks

I am traveling the world focusing on adventure and photography.

8 Comments

  • Peg

    Hey Brooks, you’re sounding a bit road weary. Laos is a very hard country to maneuver on your own, You are doing a great job. I’ve actually never let a client travel there on own as getting around is difficult – it really has only been truly open since the last election several months ago! Mind your peas and ques!! I cannot believe you went to Anchor Wat and did not blog or photograph that?? Maybe I am confused, have you already gone to Cambodia or are you headed that way?

    Please mind the worldwide travel warning I sent you. Check in and let people know where you are – even if not by blog. Maybe you are doing that already!!!

    Be well and travel save.

    Your overprotective Aunt!
    Peg

    December 6, 2015 at 3:05 am
    • Brooks
      Brooks

      Don’t worry there is always someone who knows where I am.

      Laos was very frustrating to get around. I should have talked to you first about it, but it was a very last minute decision to even go. I would recommend for anyone that goes to do plenty of research and plan all transportation ahead of time.

      Just arrived in Cambodia yesterday evening. I am kind of just hanging out today, resting, and working. Tomorrow is my big temple day. I will definitely be taking plenty of photos, starting with sunrise at Angkor Wat!

      December 6, 2015 at 3:18 am
      • Ante Peg

        Cannot WAIT! It is a destination I have not been to but is definitely, definitely on the ‘to do’ list. Hope you have good internet there as I will be anxious to hear your impressions. Many years ago I used to arrange the travel for adoptions from Phnom Penh! Will your travels take you there?

        It’s all a learning experience and you are doing great! Frankly quite amazing for someone that has never done this before. Hope you are still having fun with it.

        December 6, 2015 at 7:39 am
  • Ante Peg

    hahhahha that’s travel SAFE because i know you are already traveling save!

    December 6, 2015 at 7:41 am
  • Lara Hanlon

    Nice to hear from you again! I didn’t know about the French influence in Laos. Hope you enjoy Cambodia. Hope the getting around is easier there! Still loving hearing about your travels!

    December 6, 2015 at 9:46 pm
  • Kaely

    Question- what does “wat” mean? I see that a lot of the temples are called “wat” something or other. Probably a dumb question, but I’m curious!!

    December 7, 2015 at 8:38 pm
    • Brooks
      Brooks

      No, good question. Wat actually just means Buddhist temple.

      December 7, 2015 at 9:43 pm
  • Deb Wilensky

    Brooks, This is fabulous! Kaely mentioned your travels and blog on fb, so I have very much enjoyed reading your work! I am so very impressed and happy for you. Happy and safe travels to you, Mrs. Wilensky (Stalactites “hang on tight from the ceiling”. I remember that from a cave tour many years ago, hehehe..).

    January 2, 2016 at 8:48 pm

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