A stop in time…or in Luang Prabang
The time has almost stopped almost a century ago during the French colonial occupation…or did we lose it somewhere? Quiet, calm, heat, slow moves and smiley faces that do not speak loud, cleanliness…this is how we found Luang Prabang and it was a big contrast with neighboring Vietnam.
It is the former capital of Laos and a UNESCO World Heritage city, but unlike Hoi An (UNESCO city in Vietnam) which became very commercial with its shops and restaurants full of tourists, it still guards its authenticity. Set at the confluence of Mekong and Nam Khan rivers that almost surround the town, and beneath a temple-topped hill, Luang Prabang is a wonderful patchwork of traditional Lao houses and hints of European architecture reminders of when Laos was part of the French colonies. And this gem of the Asian culture seems to be hidden from the hoards of tourists, as we’ve seen only a few of them through the city. It’s one of the best surprises we’ve had since starting our journey.
We were amazed by its tidiness and cleanliness and by its people that are continuously smiling. On the other hand, we were puzzled by the number of huge luxurious villas and expensive cars we’ve seen around. How is this possible in a country where 80% of the population lives under 1.25 USD per day? We’ll try to solve this enigma but we are afraid the answer might be so simple – just corruption…