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Luang Prabang in Laos

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Hello en Lao:  sabaidee

Lao money: kip     1 dollar = about 8,000 kip

the most reasonable meal, a plate of fried rice with egg and veggies = 10,000 kip

Laos has been influenced and controlled by the French in the past, and there are signs of this in Luang Prabang. It is a beautiful riverside town, quiet and full of cafes. Here the food is a mixture of spicy typical Lao food, stew like dishes you eat with sticky rice or fish steamed in banana leaves, as well as French cuisine (I found some tasty croissants and baguettes.) There are numerous Buddhist temples and monks dressed in orange robes add are spotted frequently. Every dusk there’s another amazing golden sunset over the Mekong River, where you can watch the fishermen netting for bait.

Just outside of Laos, you can visit Kuang Si waterfall (one of the best I’ve seen). Near the waterfall, there’s a bear rescue center. The Asiatic Black Bears were rescued when they were captured illegally as cubs. Now they live safely and are supported by Freethebears.org

 

Inside Pak Ou Caves

Inside Pak Ou Caves

Biking to school

Biking to school

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Bike friendly 😊

Bike friendly 😊

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My shortcut to my stay, the bamboo bridge under construction

My shortcut to my stay, the bamboo bridge under construction

 

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New bamboo bridge

 

Laos fashion

Laos fashion

Kuang Si falls

Kuang Si falls

Asiatic black bear

Asiatic black bear


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Sticky Rice of Laos

Sticky rice is a very important food in Laos. The people of Laos eat it often. It is kept in a small basket on the table and is rolled into a small ball and eaten with your hands (it is really fun to eat). Rice is everywhere. It was given to the monks in the early morning as an offering. Early in the day, outside of many homes, you can find it cooking in a pot over a fire. In the afternoon, it was found drying in the sun. Sweeted with palm sugar and coconut milk it makes a delicious dessert!

Offering rice to the monks in Laos

Offering rice to the monks in Laos

 

Sticky rice drying in the sun

Sticky rice drying in the sun

Drying sticky rice

Drying sticky rice

Selling rice at the morning market

Selling rice at the morning market

Cooking the rice

Cooking the rice

Typical porch in Laos, small seats, everyone sits in a circle and shares food and a pot for cooking rice

Typical porch in Laos, small seats, everyone sits in a circle and shares food and a pot for cooking rice

Other fun things to try, water buffalo jerky and Mekong River seaweed paper 😄

Other fun things to try, water buffalo jerky and Mekong River seaweed paper 😄 (with sticky rice in basket)

One of my favorite desserts, sweet black sticky rice with coconut milk and bananas

One of my favorite desserts, sweet black sticky rice with coconut milk and bananas

 

 


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River Travel – the Mekong

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There are plenty of travel options in Southeast Asia, but my favorite so far has been by boat down the Mekong River.
The Mekong is the 12th longest river in the world. It is about 2,600 miles long, beginning in China and touching Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

I’d seen photos of the Mekong and remembered its chocolate brown water, not thinking much of it. But after spending three days, first traveling by a small faster boat from Chiang Khong  to Chiang Rai in Thailand, then two days on a larger slow boat from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang in Laos, I now know how beautiful it can be.
We need to take care of this important river. I saw many small villages utilizing it, as well as bigger towns, and it also hold some rare species. The Irrawaddy dolphin, which lives in both the freshwater of the Mekong and salt water, is highly endangered. It also is the home to the hard to find Mekong catfish. This giant fish can be 10 feet long and weigh 650 pounds!

 

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Fisherman uses a large weighted net to catch bait

 

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Faster boats sit low in the water, be ready to get splashed!

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Slow boats – much more relaxing

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The river helps over helps with the transportation of goods

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Ice cream truck taking the ferry across

 

 

Laos riverside village

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