Thursday, January 17, 2008

Luang Nam Tha and Luang Prabang

I'm having a great time here in Laos ( the 's' is silent).  The first thing I did was go on a 3-day trek through the jungle in the north of the country.  We got to visit two villages of different tribes to see how they live and how their lives are changing as Lao develops.  Our guide was from a nearby village, and his English was excellent, probably better than some of my students.  The trail that we walked on was built by the two villages we visited, and the food we ate was prepared by them as well.  A part of the trip price also goes to the villages to be used for community development, most likely for their schools.

After the trek I took a bus 200 km (but 8 hours) south to Luang Prabang, the tourist capital of Laos.  It was the capital of Laos for a while and is now on UNESCO's list of world heritage sites.  The temples here are amazing, and there are lots of them spread throughout the small city which is otherwise comprised of a strange mix of traditional Lao and French architecture.  There are far too many tourists here, but I can see why.  Walking around the city is quite enjoyable, and the weather is perfect.  Not too hot in the day, and a light jacket suffices at night.

After spending a few more days here I think I'm going to head south.

Take care.

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