Photo Story: Luang Prabang, Laos

In the rusty dust of the Mekong

Laos is everything out of a 1940's picture book dream. Still in time, casting an old European charm mixed in with the tastes and flavors of Asia.  One of the only places in Indochina whose culture remains relatively unhinged by change. Days spent on bikes, visiting waterfalls and drinking Beer Laos on balconies along the Mekong. The rusty sun shines over this land, setting a pinkish glow amongst all that enter. Sweeping those into a trance-like state of going back in time and not moving at all, a feeling only a place such as Laos could offer. Everything about Luang Prabang begs you to stay awhile, to get lost in the beauty and thought and state of mind that makes this place. To be still, and completely and utterly here while you're here.

Some recommendations:

* Visit the Tea Lady and try every combination of colors and flavors under the moon. My favorite is red tea with fresh squeezed lime. The mango-coconut milk is a close second.
* Rent a motor bike and ride out to Kuang Si Falls. Empty two-lane roads line the way. This is the place in Asia to ride a bike, especially if it's a first time.
* Stay in a Bungalow on the River. For less than $10 more a night, you'll wake up in the morning to the misty Mekong. Enter dreamworld.
* Go the night market. The Luang Prabang one is arguably one of the best in SE Asia. The place to go crazy with embroidered fabrics and jewelry and artwork.
* The BBQ duck here is the best I've ever had..but it's probably in your best interest not to indulge. The $1 all-you-can eat night time BBQ and other roadside fare is delicious, but certainly eat at your own risk. A morning almond croissant from Le Banneton is never a bad idea.
* Climb the stairs to Mount Phousi at sunset. Find a place quiet from the crowds..You'll understand why.
* Get everywhere by bicycle. Buy ice cream from the ice cream man. Eat noodle soup and deem best based on the quality and quantity of herbage and chili paste. Drink fruit shakes like there's no tomorrow. Waste away afternoons sipping Beer Laos. Watch that ball of orange go down on the skirts of the Mekong. This land will take you somewhere if you allow it..get swept away.