It appears that Laos is gaining a lot of popularity amongst tourists, another great article in The New York Times: 36 hours in Luang Prabang, Laos (click here to read the article.) Below are photos of A Weekend in Luang Prabang, Laos.
Locals sell their crafts along Sisavangvong, Luang Pragbang’s main walking street.
Mount Phousi — visible from most of Luang Prabang — provides an easy orientation to this compact city of roughly 30,000 people. Hike up the snaking, steep 328 steps — or 355, but who’s counting? — to reach the top.
Monks receiving alms as dawn breaks in a scene that is one of Luang Prabang’s main draws. Busloads of tourists stake out prime real estate with carpets and footstools. Yet something sacred survives the hype. Led by the stately gait of older monks, the silent processions weaves into side streets, where locals kneel besides elaborate homemade offerings.
Caruso Lao Home Craft is as much gallery as store. The owner, Sandra Yuck, tirelessly seeks out finest works from carvers, turners, silversmiths and weavers.
Fibre2Fabric Gallery is a nonprofit with curators on hand to explain displayed textiles from the minorities of Laos.
Land-locked Laos does not have the culinary reputation of Thailand or Vietnam, yet Tamarind Restaurant makes the case for a national cuisine. The restaurant is mod-Lao (or even spa-Lao): grilled fresh fish, locally grown greens and vegetables, and an abundance of fresh herbs like local basil, mint and coriander.
The menu at the very popular 3 Nagas is based on what’s local and fresh that day — from buffalo meat to Mekong River fish.
One might breakfast on fresh French baked goods and strong roasted Laotian coffee at JoMa Bakery, directly across from where the monks get alms.
Images of the Buddha on view inside Wat Xieng Thong, one of the most important temples in Laos, built around 1560. The elaborate paintings and carvings are a splendid, eye-saturating feast.
A trip down the Mekong River on a longtail boat will glide past limestone cliffs and terrace farms, fisherman wading with nets, and boats streaming from China laden with motorcycles.
Along the Mekong, you might visit the Pak Ou Caves, which shelter countless images of Buddha. The caves are noted for their impressive Lao-style sculptures assembled over the centuries by local people and pilgrims. Hundreds of mostly wooden Buddha figures are laid out over the floors and wall shelves.
The boat ride along the Mekong stops at the weaving village of Ban Xang Khong, also known for its mulberry paper making.
One might disembark from the boat ride and visit the village of Ban Cha, a pottery village of about 65 families. Here, residents of Ban Cha celebrate the birth of a child with a feast.
A young man fishing below Kuang Si Waterfalls, about 22 miles from Luang Prabang.
Dining outdoors near the pool at La Residence Phou Vao, five miles outside Luang Prabang. The hotel has lotus-filled ponds, decadent spa huts and views of golden stupas in the far-off mountains.
The grounds surrounding La Residence Phou Vao.
Photo: Lonnie Schlein/The New York Times