All posts filed under: Luang Prabang

Who Wore It Better: Luang Prabang, Laos

An aside from MacKenzie: Can we acknowledge how Blake looks like a smoldering hot model who is giving such good face that all other faces shrink away in shame? And I sort of look like an awkward foreign exchange student posing for a photo to send back to my mom. “Things are so great here! I’m making lots of friends!” It’s okay. Blake takes this one.

This Is A Post About Museums In Luang Prabang: Cameras Were Verboten So Click If You Like Words

The museum offerings in Luang Prabang are better than might be expected of a small town, even one that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The main attraction is the Luang Prabang Palace Museum, worth the visit even though they seem not all that interested in welcoming visitors. They close for a two-hour lunch break, shorts and tank tops are a no, skirts must be parochial-school length, and there are strictly no photos allowed. We will compensate with a 10,000-word post. The museum is housed on the grounds of the palace of the now defunct royal family of Laos, who ruled from 1904 to 1975 before being deposed and “reeducated” to death by Communist guerrillas. As far as palaces go, it’s approachable, with a throne room that politely requests your fealty rather than demanding it. On display are solid gold crowns, swords, knick-knacks presented by foreign heads of state, and mid-century Laotian furniture befitting a king and queen. And the place is lousy with art, from elaborate mosaics to multiple portraits of members of the royal …

Shout Out To Asian Elephants

When Blake’s sister Kyle found out we were headed to Elephant Country, she asked us not to ride them. “They don’t want you up there. How would you feel if you had to carry someone around on your back?” We do take your point, Kyle, and you are a far, far better person than we are, but if we see a pint of Graeter’s we’re going to eat it, and if we see an elephant, we’re going to try to snuggle with it and make friends and get it to rock us to sleep at night with its trunk. And, you know, ride it. But we’re not terrible people, so we did do our research. Elephant Village Sanctuary, a half an hour drive outside Luang Prabang, is pretty great as far as elephant tourist experiences go. They purchase their animals mainly from logging camps, which is not a cute place to be if you’re a pachyderm. The elephants are put to work in the very industry that is destroying their natural habitat, which is doubly …

Rice Rice Baby

Why spend your vacation lying on a beach, mainlining piña coladas, when you could be knee-deep in mud and buffalo shit, tilling a field? And so we found ourselves at Living Land, an agritourism experience just outside Luang Prabang that teaches visitors how rice is “traditionally” cultivated. Some things we learned: -We would not make great rice farmers. That’s really the essential point here. -Rice farming is a gendered affair. Men work the heavy machinery while women winnow the rice, separating the grains from their husks. Being skilled at this task is essential if you want to find a husband, which luckily we don’t. -Those cone hats flatter no one. Even cute kids and beautiful women look like idiots in them. -Rice seeds must be germinated on small plots before being transplanted to the main paddies. (Read: farming rice the old fashioned way is a lot of g damn work. Cone hats off to the peeps doing it without modern farming equipment in Laos.) -When plowing behind a water buffalo, you will probably trudge through …

3/໓ from Luang Prabang

Scene-setter: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman follows the story of a Hmong baby struck by seizures and the culture clash surrounding her treatment. It’s MacKenzie’s favorite work of nonfiction (besides the Bible, obvi), and we think it should be required reading for all medical professionals, parents of children, children of parents, immigrants, and non-immigrants. It’s also a particularly insightful read if you’re traveling in Laos, as the Hmong are a major minority group within the country. Pound-the-table recommendation: Even when what’s on offer is watered-down juice and pizza pockets (holla, Arietta Hotel in Osaka), free hotel breakfasts make us feel like we’ve hit the jackpot. But when the breakfast is actually good, that’s that good Old Money feeling. The Apsara in Luang Prabang is one of Blake’s favorite restaurants of the trip so far, so our breakfast each morning was a total treat. We’re talking fresh-squeezed OJ, coffee or tea, tropical fruit salad, warm baguette with butter and homemade jam, PLUS the breakfast entree of your choice. No need …