Not the right kind of falang for Luang Prabang
Trip Start Jan 24, 2007
49Trip End Ongoing
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They can create high expectations, which can lead to disappointments. And I think I speak for us both when I say we were a little disappointed with Luang Prabang. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site and consists of lovely traditional and French colonial buildings and ancient temples. It is positioned on the banks of the Mekong and Another river amongst 'emerald mountains' (unfortunately all but completely shrouded from view due to local villagers choosing that particular time of year to practice their 'slash and burn' farming techniques thus creating a dense smog enveloping Northern Laos and Thailand and ruining our views - how inconvenient!!), actually the smog gave it more of a spooky apocalypse now feel, which was possibly more atmospheric? Anyway, on paper the town was a must-see for us, and we did have a nice few days there but several things rang wrong
The other gripe I have with guidebooks is they also give approximate prices for services which leave a feeling of being shafted when you get charged 10 fold more than the guidebook suggests (including allowances for inflation, and leeway for bartering). The Lao cooking class we went to was great, but consisted of minimal practical participation ( mine was limited to practising chopping some garlic, and stirring some rice in a pan- woohoo). Unfortunately Jamie Oliver had discovered it before us, and the $10 for half day as advertised in LP was now $25! I would love to say it was worth it but it was defo on the overpriced side of my budget-conscious mind
Rants aside, the impression we have is that Laos is a beautiful country, its people are beautiful (anyone larger than a size 8 feels like an elephant!), peaceful and friendly which when you consider its history of being the most bombed country in the world, most notably by america who considered it a threat as a potential domino in the spread of communism through asia, is quite remarkable.
NB falang means tourist