Luang Prabang proved to be an eclectic mix of traditional french architecture, a strong buddhist monk culture and the tourism industry. For a whole week I tried piecing the Luang Prabang puzzle together, attempting to capture it’s essence and what makes the place tick. On my last night I was still at a loss and concluded that it is an eclectic mix of tradition, french influence and a huge influx of tourism and there isn’t a huge link between the three. The monks and buddhist culture contribute to the tourism but the major attractions are natural not cultural.
Despite being unable to solve the Luang Prabang rubik’s cube, I did enjoy the multiple vibes of the town. From the relaxed atmosphere at Utopia, the nightly hangout to the Whisky Village in the north.
The highlight of the week for me was definitely visiting Ban Xang Hai by motorbike. The small village survives solely on the production of whisky, rice wine and silk/cotton hand-made fabrics. When we arrived, like a ghost town, no-one walked the streets and a tumbleweed wouldn’t have been out of place. But our presence was felt and vendors soon started getting prepared for an influx of people.
We watched old women work on their fabrics, weaving with intrepid intensity, hardly breaking from their push-pull-wipe rhythm. They were on the hard-sell and despite wanting to purchase something for their efforts, there is little room for a silk cloth in my backpack.
The kids came out from school and all of a sudden the whole village was alive with action.
After a dismal sunrise a day earlier, I decided to visit Mt. Phousi for sunset, despite knowing I would be battling crowds. A bit of improvisation and creativity helped me grab a few shots from a beautiful sunset that seemed to linger forever.
This is my last week in Southeast Asia after almost 6 months exploring the region. I am spending it in Vang Vieng, Laos. The town has a reputation for drugs, partying and drunken river tubing but is in the process of cleaning up it’s reputation catering to a broader spectrum of tourists. I will be looking to enjoy a few more sunsets, sunrises, villages, lagoons and of course taste-testing multiple more smoothies.
Hope you all had a great week!