The Old Charming Town of Luang Prabang

Beautiful girls of Luang Prabang, sorry guys…I didn’t ask for their names and phone numbers.  They are the official greeters [click here] to see a close up image.

Luang Prabang girls

We drove to Luang Prabang instead of flying because my relative wanted us to see the countryside of Laos.  The road is a bit scary to me, many dangerous sharp curves, and I got motion sickness by the many twists and turns.  We stopped at Vang Vieng for lunch, they’ve a very creative way of placing the washbasin, and hand towel for customers.  I’ve noticed that many restaurants in Laos are doing something similar to this also, although I had my wet hands wipes with me, so I used it instead.

washbasin cloth
We each had a simple noodle dish.

noodle dish noodle dish
Unlike other part of Laos, Luang Prabang is a charming little old town, and the architecture as best I could tell has the French or European influence, but still has a feel of a Lao architecture structure and traditional Lao landscaping mixed in that gives it the old world charm look in my opinion.  For a typical Lao local, one might not feel comfortable seeing so many foreigners in one place, as most Lao locals would say that there are too many Farangs, but as for my dad and I, we feel right at home, more so than any other part of Laos, maybe it’s because of the familiar faces that we’re so used to seeing back home, as my relative would say, it’s your people.

Luang prabang

Luang prabang

Luang prabang

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang

Luang prabang Luang prabang

Luang prabang

Luang Prabang

I love the night market, but it’s so dark that I’ve a hard time seeing the design patterns of the bag that I really liked, I realized now that I‘m not a shoe person, but a bag person, I purchased several Lao ethic bags.  The price here is somewhat high in comparison to Talatsao (morning market) in Vientiane, might be because they’re selling it to foreigners that don’t mind paying, but if converted the price to Euros or American Dollars, then it’s dirt cheap, I normally don’t bargain when I made my purchase.

Night Market in Luang Prabang

Night Market in Luang Prabang

Night Market in Luang Prabang Night Market in Luang Prabang

Night Market in Luang Prabang Night Market in Luang Prabang

I saw many flowers that I’ve not seen much of in the US.

Lao flower Lao flower

Lao flower Lao flower

Lao flower Lao flower

Bananas and banana tree.

Banana tree Bananas

The only food picture that I took in Luang Prabang is the photo of the grilled chicken feet.  They’ve excellent Lao food in Luang Prabang, and my dad especially likes grilled fish, but I failed to take picture of it and other dishes.

grilled chicken feets

Like most people that visited Luang Prabang, I feel in love with the old charming town, I can actually picture myself living here, I’m thinking an investment in a small guest house with Internet café/coffee shop/bookstore, but I would think to get my hand on any property such as this would be extremely high, so it could only be a dream that will never become a reality, my visit here again is highly likely.


  1. wow… I’m so mesmerized right now.. I love love love jasmine flower; its scent is so heveanly. I always associate jasmines with Lao culture cause everytime we have pook Kan (white string) ceromony, the jasmine is in the tower of banana leaves triangles where they store the white strings.

    And the architech.. wow… I can see that it’s very french, but also very Lao too.. oh my.. ginger, you are such a lucky lady. I’d love to see my birth country again.

  2. Beautiful photos! Hmm, I think someone has a promising career as a travel photographer. Did you get any photos of the Plain of Jars? That’s where I’d like to visit.

  3. Luang Prabang is a beautiful city. I have never really seen flowers like that anywhere – very pretty. The official greeters need an official make-up artist. One that’s not stuck in the ’80s. Just kidding.

    Btw, did you get to visit the National Museum? Formerly the Royal Palace. I heard they have exhibitions of royal clothings and personal artifacts. And locals believe it to be haunted.

  4. I think the building with a white flower plant in front is a guest house?

    The pho doesn’t look very appetizing. I am not a fan of grilled chicken feet but it look good enough to eat.

    I like the picture of the floras. I always wanted to own a flower shop or a nursery. Unfortunately, I don’t have the greenthumbs like both of my parents.

  5. lady0darkness, it has always been a dream of mine to go back, and at first I thought it’d be very emotional for me, but things happened so fast that I was there before I know it, and absolute love the countryside of Laos, absolutely beautiful, I wish I had more time. I think it would be great if you could visit your birth country with your daughter and fiancé, it will be a treat I’m sure, on the mean while, enjoy the photos. 🙂

    Hi Seiji, thank you for your nice comment. I would love to be a travel photographer, now only if someone would pay me to do it. 😉

    My time in Laos was very limited, but fortunately I get to do everything that I wanted to do, except for visiting the Plain of Jars, I had a choice of either visiting Luang Prabang or Xieng Khouang, the direction is the same, then just like Robert Frost poem, “TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could” I took the one to Luang Prabang instead, but next time I will visit Xieng Khouang.

    Salat, the national museum is right across from Mount Phousi, I did get to visit and will post that next.

    I saw these lovely ladies the morning before we left Luang Prabang, we were eating our breakfast, and I spotted them coming out from a beauty salon, they are official greeters and were going to the airport to greet high ranking officials that were visiting Luang Prabang. I think they are the ones on one of Luang Prabang postcards.

    Dallas, most of these are guest house, some have shops, restaurants or internet café on the first floor or next to it. It’s very peaceful, and I’m surprised that we’ve to take off our shoes before entering the guest house that we stayed, also the internet café next to it, very Lao tradition IMO, but saw that foreigners are happy to do it as well. People seem to like visiting Laos because the locals are very friendly, and also the laid back life style.

    I’ll have a better picture of food for you in my future posts. 🙂

  6. Great photos!

    Always interesting to see photos of Laos, especially Luang Prabang. Have never been, but often hear stories about it from mum.

    And looking at your old posts, looks like I was supposed to depart Bangkok the same day as you (26th November). (But I wasn’t stuck at the airport, we were told others had headed there and had to head back.)

  7. Hi Will, thanks for the visit, you’ve impressive photos yourself. 🙂

    Funny that I heard on the news the night before that the airport was closed, but we rushed to check out from our hotel, we stayed at The Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport the night before, and it was wickedly expensive. I guess we went to the airport, and stayed there in hoping that it’d open back up, it was awful that it didn’t for awhile.

  8. Thanks for the compliment Ginger 🙂

    Honestly, the whole ordeal was a bit surreal to me. Couldn’t quite believe what was going on. We were in our hotel about to go eat dinner and my friend got a call from family asking if everything was ok in Bangkok. They mentioned that they heard the airports had been closed off.

    We went for dinner after that, talked about what we should do. My other friend suggested that we check-out of the hotel really early and head for the airport in hope that we can still get out.

    So if not for the hotel concierge, I would’ve been at the airport too! We ended up boarding a flight from the U-Tapao airport (near Pattaya) a few days later.

    I can imagine the Novotel being quite pricey, but it doesn’t sound like you were intending to stay there for too long. I stayed at the Grand President Serviced Apartments (it’s like an apartment hotel type thing) in Sukhumvit. It worked out to be a fairly decent price because we had 5 people sharing the place.

    Just wanted to mention that i’ve read through your blog on previous occasions and wanted to say i’ve enjoyed reading your posts (especially like reading your food posts! ). I’ve been trying to learn more about Laos and Lao culture over the last few years. (I’m not really Laotian, more Chinese than anything else. Much of mums’ family was born in Laos, but are Chinese with Lao influences)

    I’m hoping to go visit Laos for the first time next year with some cousins who do speak Lao. Should be fun, the country seems quite interesting (especially for anyone who likes taking photos!).

  9. Will, my dad has been following the news of the protest before we left for Laos and Thailand, but I never thought that they’d take over Suvarnabhumi Airport, and when it happened, I thought they’d resolve the situation quickly, but never thought that it’d take this long. We only stayed at Novelty one night, and it was 5,800 Baht per night, but thank goodness that we didn’t have to pay for anything after that, the TAT took good care of us, but as days passed, we were getting discouraged and very depressed, and we all tried to find another way out, many from our group chartered vans to Puket, and I heard sad news of the accident, but I don’t think they were from our group. This kind of stuff, you’d never thought it’d happen to you, people would tell me that I’m so lucky to be a part of Thai history, I just don’t feel so lucky after this incident.

    I think you’d love Laos, it’s very different from Thailand, and many areas are still undeveloped and people seem a bit friendlier, its way more laid back. I didn’t get to take as many pictures as I hope to, and not a close up picture of the rice paddies, I kind of feel bad asking my relative to stop the car too often for me, and my dad seems a bit intimidated by the size of my camera, I couldn’t walk around with it all the time. Although he was patience and waited for me while we stopped at various temples. On many occasions, I saw beautiful images but I knew it was not the right place or time to take my camera out to take picture, I wish I did now, I would have captured some beautiful images.

    I think my next trip to Laos, I might go and buy a tour package in Laos, it’s cheaper that way, and I would get to see more. I wish you lots of luck on your next trip.

  10. Ginger, we’d talked to the Australian Embassy and they advised us not to head to Phuket because there was no guarantee (at that stage) of boarding a flight. Some planes that were scheduled to depart couldn’t, because they had no planes to fly that route. Not sure it’s really the type of history one really wants to be a part of.

    I’m sure I will love Laos! It seems very very interesting.

    My cousin said he’s planning to drive us around starting from Vientienne (his hometown) to watch the 2009 South East Asian Games. And also planning to see other parts of the country (which parts, I’m not sure yet).

    I can totally understand what you mean by others being intimidated by your camera, I’ve got a DSLR myself (Nikon D70s). I get similar reactions to my camera at times. However, I also carry a small point and shoot with me (Canon IXUS 80IS, aka Canon SD1100IS over there). Don’t worry, the ones you did take look awesome Ginger 🙂

    Perhaps you could try a rangefinder camera? Digital or film. They do seem less intimidating to others (but a lot pricier). Or even just an old smaller body film camera. Yes, you lose out on the digitalness, but you do gain the less intimidating aspect of it.

    Although I do wish I had the chance to take more photos, I’ll probably have to do it next time. We didn’t really visit too many touristy places, mostly shopping centres. Especially after they closed the airports.

    I do hope to see (and photograph) a lot of the country, as it looks really beautiful.

  11. Hi Will, one thing that I realized is that I shouldn’t have booked United Airlines (UA) all the way to BKK, and back, and I should have booked a local airline instead because UA are not as flexible when it comes to flying at smaller airport, my flight would only fly out from Suvarnabhumi Bangkok Airport only, and at the time, there were no telling when the BKK airport would open back up, very frustrating. I think lessons learned for me, local airlines are more willing to work with you.

    We drove by the New Laos National Stadium, and they’re still working on it, located at the outskirt of Vientiane, I took some photos of it, but didn’t get good shot. I bet you that it will be busy at that time of the year, it is scheduled for middle of December 2009, and if you’ve lots of time, then Boun That Luang is at beginning of November, very impressive event, something worth planning to see also, you‘d love taking picture there. I don’t think I can make it next year, I’ll wait to see photos in Flickr.

    I think on my next trip, I will also get a small point and shoot camera, and thanks for the advice.

  12. […] I read so much about Luang Prabang prior to my visit.  It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and the best preserved city in the south-east Asia.  In 1995 it was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list.  I think I would be happy living hear, the only problem would be my Lao Southern accent which doesn’t have that melodic chime of the Luang Prabang accent. As for Bo, his accent is beyond the Lao Southern accent, he certainly would not fit in. I posted some random photos and the Old Charming Town of Luang Prabang. […]

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