Southeast Asia’s most romantic town

Travel Destinations — By on October 1, 2007 at 8:00 am

That would be Luang Prabang, Laos. At least according to Tim Patterson, who wrote an article for the San Francisco Chronicle about his experiences there.

Here is an excerpt:

My first hour in Luang Prabang was magical.

The electricity was out, and in every wooden house, market stall and temple window, townspeople were lighting candles. As night fell the boulevards and alleyways became a flickering web of firelight, each circle of illumination a window into another world – first old women squatting on blue tarps by pyramids of oranges, then middle-aged men throwing petanque balls on smooth sand courts beside the Mekong River, then novice monks huddled in front of a golden temple fresco.

Exploring the ancient royal capital of Laos by candlelight felt like slipping onto the set of a classic romantic film, but just when I expected to find Audrey Hepburn sitting alone at a riverside cafe – fizz! crack! – fluorescent bulbs hummed to life and crowds of sightseers cheered from the patio of the Pizza Luang Prabang.

The spell was broken. Rather than a fantasy, I realized, Luang Prabang is a real place, with all that implies. But even without the candles, Luang Prabang is the most romantic town I’ve found in Southeast Asia.

Bangkok is a throbbing metropolis of frenetic stimulation, the resurgent cities of Vietnam tingle with economic energy and Cambodia’s ancient temples will take your breath away, but Luang Prabang is a place to amble about and soak up the dreamy atmosphere.

Sip a cup of dark Lao coffee on your balcony while monks make their traditional morning rounds on the sidewalk below, wander through the timeless grounds of ancient Buddhist temples and finish the evening at a cafe overlooking the Mekong, chatting with locals over papaya salad and cold bottles of Beer Lao. There’s something in the air here that makes even the most jaded of travelers soften their footsteps and smile for no reason at all.

Tags: , ,

1 Comment

  1. asia travel says:

    i am looking for information on how to travel cheap in asia and your post has given me some ideas, wish you all the best – CHEERS .

Leave a Comment


Print This Post Print This Post

    Meet Bob Riel


    Bob Riel is a writer and a traveler. Go here to read more about Bob, his work and the Travels in the Riel World blog.


    Search this site



Visit Travel Blog Exchange