Heading back to Luang Prabang this time brings back so many good memories. I can't believe I haven't been here since 2007 but somehow it seems so familiar, as if I was here only last month or last year. On the surface, it's like most things have stayed the same; the Laos people are very sweet and the scenery, both in the immediate surrounds and in the hills beyond the river, are as beautiful as ever.
In the evening, wandering around the night market is a good thing to do before or after dinner. It must be one of the quietest markets in the world, with little of the hustle and bustle of other markets I've visited in my limited travels. Walking the markets and streets of Luang Prabang is one of the most pleasant things to do in this town, in fact its the best way to experience it. just keep coming back to the main street for a cold Beer Laos or fruit shake every now and then to keep yourself from dying in the heat. For me, the heat is much like where I live in Hanoi so I can cope but at this time of the year there are not that many western tourists around.
Of course, the food is always a highlight. I think Laos food is a bit similar to Thai food; quite spicy but with more herbs and veggies. The dishes I especially enjoyed this trip were kao soy, a kind of rich tomato and meat sauce served on noodles and my favorite laab, spicy minced meat salad. On the vegetable side this time, the highlights were snake beans eaten raw and water cress both in a salad and a soup.
Coming over just for a weekend is not enough but there are many reasons to come back.