Its been over a month since I was in Luang Prabang. A month gives you enough distance to figure out some things. I didn’t like the city for a variety of reasons but then I got super sick so I was essentially forced to stay there. But my arrival was warm and exciting.
“I arrived in Laos after an hour plane ride and decided to spend my first night walking around at the night market. While there I saw a booth for an organization I hoped to volunteer with. I started chatting with that guy, mentioned I’m a theatre teacher to which he responded he does storytelling, it’s his night off but there’s a traditional Lao storytelling performance happening in fifteen minutes. I get on a tuk tuk and make it in time and saw great storytelling which taught me so much about Lao culture while drinking red wine.
After the performance I learn it was the same guy! Just five minutes after I left he learned the actor had an emergency so he filled in.”
One of the highlights of my time in Luang Prabang was a rice tour experience where I got to learn about the 12 step process of rice. It was out of my “backpacker budget” but total worth it. I learned a lot, had fun, and met a red water buffalo named Rudolph.
When I was finally hydrated and capable of walking again I went to the Kuang Si Waterall. It could easily be a day trip but I only had less than three hours. It was simply beautiful. I climbed to the top which was great adventure.
I think my major issue was the the tourist area and main area of town just felt rich and fake- Laos isn’t “rich.” I would past by a restaurant and see a bunch of white people with white hair eating at a restaurant and think, “I can’t afford to eat there.” That’s not Laos. I did volunteer which let me see a more local side of the city.
If you are planning to come to Laos, Luang Prabang is probably one of your stops. The waterfalls are worth it but other than that I don’t think its worth it. I don’t know if I will ever return as it will bring flashbacks of when I was sick- it was rough.