Luang Prabang
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Lazy Lulled Laos
Luang Prabang is lovely, and sometimes just being nice is enough. Gently nestled in a bend on the Mekong, it is surrounded by great shards of elephant grey rock, delicate French colonial architecture, and teak balconies safely wrapped in the natural environment. The town tumbles with temples and their golden spires, and each morning the monks spill out from their holy spaces to accept the alms from people lining the streets with offerings, and throughout the day their tumeric-coloured robes speckle the streets. Once the sun has risen, the feel in the main town has a gentle and relaxed ambience. The haze breaks, and a few boats float up and down the water. Coffee shops and wine bars line the streets, and the lazy restaurants along the bank are a glorious vantage point for the trundling river. Two wheels and a basket are the way to explore this town, the flat and circular loop being easy on the legs and pleasant on the eye. Climb Phou Si, the hill that dominates the city, to see golden Buddha statues in various positions, but mainly to see the sunset, the shimmering sheen illuminating the city as the day merges with darkness. Come evening, Sisavangvong Road is filled with red tent roofs, traders setting up handicrafts and souvenirs, some worth your kip, others less so. The former capital is now a UNESCO protected town, and rightly so. Save and savour this one, it's magical.
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