Oh. My. God.
Safely arrived in Luang Prabang, the ancient royal capital of Laos (the modern capital is Vientiane).
To say it is nice here is a bit of an understatement.
The outlying areas of Laos are relatively poor, but Luang Prabang is decidedly more up-market (in a kind of laid-back Laotian way).
Novice monks from the countryside come here to do their training. The town is littered with wats. The chanting in the evenings is sublime.
It’s heaven. A kind of laid-back, buddhist heaven. Like much of Asia, a mix of buddhism and communism that appears to mix relatively well.
I shared a mini-bus from the airport into town. Two of the guys I was talking to said they were going to Paradise. I think that was the name of the guesthouse where they were staying, but I took it as a good omen.
I’m staying at the house of one of the old Laotian princes. Beautiful grounds, buddhist antiques, sun loungers and two swimming pools. Just a couple of days of relaxation here, before venturing out into the wilds of the north. Hill-tribe country.
There’s an elephant who lives opposite my hotel. He’s in a field with a big canopied hut, which he stands under during the heat of the day, idly scratching himself with a stick that he holds with his trunk.
Actually I say he, but he might be a she. I haven’t looked that closely yet. I feel a bit sorry for him/her. He must be lonely. Elephants are intelligent and social animals. Standing alone in a field all day must be mind-numbingly boring.
I’ll post a piece a bit later on the prince’s residence, Satri House.