Wanderlust Wednesday: Luang Prabang, Laos

Being in Luang Prabang felt like a dream. Each morning we would wander the old streets of Luang Prabang, visiting monasteries and buddhist temples, eating nutella on baguettes.
In the afternoons, we would linger around the old plantation homes- turned restaurants, drinking coffee and watching Laotian women walk by with baskets balanced on their shoulders. 
We would end an absolutely perfect day by walking from stall to stall in the largest night market i've ever seen. 
Everyday in Luang Prabang was a perfect blend of decadent and aimless wandering, wonderful food, friendly people, and unforgettable scenery. 

 Located in Northern Laos, Luang Prabang is nestled between huge forested limestone mountains and sits right at the point where the Nam River meets the Mekong. 
Luang Prabang has an ethereal, dreamlike quality, which is fitting for a town which has more monks than tourists. Originating as far back as 698 A.D., LP houses hundreds of temples and monasteries, lending the town its peaceful vibe. 
Every morning, hundreds of monks from the various monasteries and temples set out to collect alms, leaving the narrow streets awash in bright orange robes and shaved heads.   During the 17th century, France annexed Laos, forever intertwining Laos and French foods. You can still see the French influence in Luang Prabang, from the crumbling colonial villas to the stalls selling nutella and baguettes. 
In 1995, LP was placed on UNESCO's World Heritage list, and the crumbling teak houses and colonial mansions were painstakingly restored. 
The city is now known as the most charming destination in Southeast Asia and is becoming discovered by wealthier travelers since flights became available between Vientiane (the capital of Laos) and LP. 
But, Luang Prabang is not for the faint of heart.
 It took about ten years off of my life to get to this hidden mountain city. 
From Thailand, you must go all the way north to Chaing Rai (where we accidentally slept in a brothel, but that's another story). From Chaing Rai, you hire a tuk-tuk to take you to the Mekong River bed, where a long/skinny boat transports you and 50 people (way over capacity) to the other side which is Laos. 
From the river border town (you are in Laos now) you must get a visa/pull out around 50$ for about two weeks in Lao. After the customs ordeal, you find a bus, and these buses are not first class. It is an overnight bus ride into Luang Prabang, which is entirely on switchbacks, and no one is immune from motion sickness and absolutely no one sleeps. I would never recommend attempting to bus into LP during the rainy season, the roads would be terrifyingly sketchy. It would be an understatement to say that the transportation system in Luang Prabang is bad! 
On the way out of the city, I had to close my eyes for most of the journey because it was too frightening to look out the windows (I also had to play music as loud as possible to drown out the sounds of vomiting).  
It takes over 7 hours to get into or out of Luang Prabang, but the journey is well worth it (as long as you fly)!

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