I was recently asked to say a few words about my time in Laos for a magazine bio. For me Luang Prabang is such a rewarding place for travellers because of the Mekong, the Monks and the food. I love that the morning market is still full of banana leaves and bamboo instead of plastic. I love that 100m from the most important temple in Luang Prabang there's a french patisserie serving kouign-amanns and cheesy croissants. I love that you can eat Nem Khao (rice crepes filled with pork and onion served with fish sauce and crushed peanuts) on the back streets of Luang Prabang for just $2 and it will be the best meal of the day. I love that there are no loud drunken Aussies ruining the joint like they do most elsewhere in South-East Asia that has a beach or a bar :)
Tamarind is the name of my favourite restaurant in Luang Prabang. This is where I first came to learn about smokey eggplant jeeow and the best lemongrass and ginger cooler in Laos. Additional treats such as the lemongrass chicken and fish amok sealed the deal. Every now and then they run cooking classes out on the edge of town, starting with a trip to market. Yummy.
There are two things they have plenty of in Nong Khiaw, rice and cotton. Traditional weaving skills have been brought to market in recent years with the help of Ma Te Sai. The Taileu villages near Nong Khiaw have grown in confidence, as their textiles gain better appreciation and stronger markets. You can visit these parts of Laos yourself with the help of Emi at Ma Te Sai.
Photo Essay | 72 images | Laos | South-East Asia
My favourite place in South-East Asia, a city on the banks of the Mekong that shines like a candle cupped in your hands. At night that's what it feels like, dimly lit by incandescent globes while street stalls grill fish and serve soup. As the sun fades on the Mekong the people who draw life from it dive into the water and wash, or drift across it by ferry to head home. Mekong. Life. Laos.
Photo Essay | 36 images | Luang Prabang | Laos
The spiritual capital of Laos is home to thousands of monks, hundreds of temples and an endless supply of beautiful sunsets. Life along the Mekong comes to a gentle halt at the town of Luang Prabang, and when it comes time to leave we're all reluctant to move on. This photo essay from a decade ago expresses what I love about Luang Prabang.
Photo Essay | 70 images | Laos | Luang Prabang | Monks on the Mekong
The Khamu people are one of poorest minorities in Laos. You find them in remote places, the kind of places you need an elephant to reach. Or a boat. Paul Wager is a local photographer in Luang Prabang and he helped me access one of these villages with camera in hand.
Photo Essay | 27 images | Laos | Luang Prabang
Caravans of Laos
Once known as the land of a million elephants the kingdom of Laos is still home to over 1,000 of these majestic creatures. Half are domesticated for working in the forests, and some are friendly enough to help travellers instead of loggers. A week with the elephants is the best way to slowly explore the forests and the villages within.