Kuang Si Waterfalls
Located just 45 minutes outside of Luang Prabang sits the powerful and famous waterfall. The three tiered waterfalls hidden in the jungle cascade down each level creating natural infinity pools. You can easily spend the day here swimming in pools, jumping off trees, and prentending to be Jane or Tarzan.
‘Zen by day, Groovy by night’ is Utopias motto and the perfect way to describe it. Not only does the food menu have a wide variety, including many vegetarian options but its also delicious!! Read a book, play some cards, or sip a hand crafted cocktail as you lounge on the deck and watch the Nam Khan River flow by. Utopia embodies the Lao saying of PDR – ‘Please don’t Rush’. It even offers yoga at sunrise and sunset. Check out there website here.
Engaging with the Locals
The Laotian people are some of the friendliest people I’ve met and I encourage you to talk with them as they have stories to tell and don’t always get heard. The second night in Luang Prabang my boyfriend, myself, and our new friends Tiff and Rob set out after dinner in search of some authenticity and boy did we find it. No more than 50 meters down a back road off the main drag until we walked past a restaurant where three local men who were having a great time invited us over to talk story and drink some beer. Lots of stories and laughs were exchanged that night. Although something you can’t neccassarly plan, the genuine, inviting, and kind nature of the Lao people is something I’m sure you will find.
Giving Alms to the Monks
Every morning locals rise early to give alms (take bat) to the monks and show their appreciation. The monks only eat before sunrise and the food is all donation from the alms they received that morning. I have read about tourists participating in tak bat as being controversial as some in the past were being disrespectful so I was a little hesitant to try. But after having a beautiful conversation with some local Laotians the night before, they encouraged and insisted that I NOT miss out on this experience.
I rose early at 5 am to buy fresh sticky rice from the store on the corner of the street. I was fortunate that the street of the hotel that I was staying on was a street that the monks walked down so I didn’t have to go far. The reception at my hotel provided us with bowls to put our rice in and invited us to kneel next to him in preparation for the alms. The monks will walk by with their alms bowls open and you’ll put your offerings inside. Offerings can be candy, money, or sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves but only if it is fresh. As long as you show respect, I wouldn’t miss this, it was one of the most humbling and gratifying experiences I’ve ever had.
Hand Crafts Night Market
The night market of Luang Prabang is not like most markets you will find in SouthEast Asia. This market is filled with hand woven linens, jewelry, and other hand crafts making it more authentic and one of my favorites in Asia. Although the tourists still outnumber the locals, it still as a genuine feel.
If you’re traveling around Laos check out my blog www.IMJESSTRAVELING.com for more Laos ideas, travel tips, and guides.