A couple of monks venturing across the old bamboo bridge.
Riding around in a tuk-tuk.
Making friends in the whiskey village.
Saying a prayer in the Pak Ou Caves.
At the top of the Kuang Si Falls.
Wandering around the Royal Palace grounds.
The beautiful Royal Palace temple.
Statement necklace heaven in the streets of Luang Prabang!
Before my hike up Mount Phousi to release a little finch for good luck.
Releasing that feisty finch!
Hi friends! Thanks for your patience in waiting for this next chapter of my world adventure. Following my last post, I was still traveling for about another month and then focusing on finding a new job (ya know, had to go back to reality at some point). I just found out a couple weeks ago that I’ll be moving to Nashville to start my next adventure! I’ve since been busy organizing everything to move soon and focusing on spending a lot of time with family and friends. Even though it’s been several months since I last blogged, I still wanted to document this trip, perhaps more for myself than anything!
Following Vietnam, the next country that I ventured to was Laos, during which time my mom was still traveling with me. When we first arrived, we walked around the quaint town of Luang Prabang, where we stayed for the duration of our time there. I had my heart set on visiting the Pak Ou caves and Kuang Si waterfall, so we set this up through a tour company for the next day. I bring this up solely for the purpose of recapping how we came to pay for this tour. Because the company only accepted cash, I rode around on the back of the tour company owner’s small motorcycle to four different ATMs (the first three did not have any cash left). My mom anxiously waited while I excitedly went on this late night impromptu tour of the town.
On our first full day, we went on a rather long boat ride up the Mekong River, with stops at the whiskey village and Pak Ou Caves. Here I took shots of whiskey (well, tastes really) with my mom for the first time and learned about the process of how it is made, as well as its “medicinal” purposes. I’ve spared you the close up photo of the bottles filled with small snakes and such. But my little brother turned 21 while we were traveling, so he is now the proud owner of snake whiskey – blah! Following this stop, we ventured on to the caves, which was a highlight for me. The Pak Ou Caves were filled with incredible carvings and hundreds of Buddhist figurines. We concluded our day with a hike along the Kuang Si Falls, with stops for swimming in the freeezzing cold water.
Another favorite moment from this part of the trip was our hike the next day, to the top of Mount Phousi. This was home to a Buddhist temple and several beautiful statues along the pathway. We had bought finches at the bottom of the mountain (which my mom tried to bargain for, to no avail) and released them at one of the Buddhist statues for good luck.
On our last full day in Laos, my mom woke me up at an hour at which no one in their right mind wants to deal with me. At sunrise each day, the monks line up for an alms giving ceremony. Locals and tourists alike kneel along the edge of the main street of Luang Prabang to give an offering of rice and other snacks. We don’t have any photos of the monks from this early morning event, out of respect for them. But I swear, more tourists were taking photos of me handing out rice, than of the monks. Your guess is as good as mine as to why. I can only imagine how great I must have looked in all those photos taken at 5 A.M.!
To appease my mom and her love of kayaking, we then spent the morning chugging along the river with a very quirky tour guide. He promised us a run in with crocodiles and other frightening critters but we had no such luck. Between his funny singing and stories, we think that he may have started his day with some of that infamous Lao whiskey.
We concluded our final day with a visit to the Royal Palace, which is now a museum filled with all sorts of paintings, statues, and weapons. My favorite part, of course, was the floor to ceiling mirrored room containing the crown jewels. The museum gave an interesting glimpse into Lao history and culture.
While our time in Laos was brief and we just barely scratched the surface in terms of understanding the culture there, it was one of my favorite stops. The environment was laid back and the people so friendly. I’ll never forget how we were greeted everywhere we went with, “hello somebody!”. I’m not sure how that phrase caught on with just about all the locals in Luang Prabang, but my mom and I started echoing it back because we thought it such a cute greeting. It’s become one of our favorite reoccurring jokes from the trip.
Thank you for reading and stop by again soon for my next chapter, about my time in Thailand!