I’ve actually been in Luang Prabang, Laos for a few days now but I still have at least 15 posts that I want to write about from Cambodia! I will likely toggle back and forth between the countries if that’s okay.
It’s a weird and a bit of a hard transition for me to go from developing an amazing circle of friends in Siem Reap to flying three hours to a completely new place and in many ways, starting over. I have to meet new people, learn a new language and find go-to people to get what I need. It will be more challenging to have local experiences the way I did in Cambodia because I will be more or less passing through different places. But because I’m traveling for awhile with few hard plans, if I meet someone I click with and they bring me around, I can decide to stay longer if I want to.
My biggest fear was becoming a tourist where I am looking up the guided tours to get around, paying triple or more because I don’t have any go-to people for what I need and making too many plans. I was a bit of a tourist today but it’s inevitable when you’re coming to a new place I guess.
I’m still missing Cambodia a lot and I don’t think that feeling will go away soon but I need to try and be present and learn as much about Laos as I can while I’m here. Thanks to my friend, I’ve already met a few amazing and friendly people and we’re going to hang out this weekend for a boat ride, picnic, sunset (if there is one) and more.
To be honest, I don’t know that much about Laos’ at the moment. Since I have up to a month here, I’m focusing on learning as much of the language, culture and history as I can. I am so grateful I have a friend who’s been here for awhile. She’s given me an orientation for Luang Prabang and I’ll explore other areas from here. I love one-way travel and not having a restricted time limit.
This week, I’m most excited about being part of a Buddhist festival on October 14 where monks roam free from their temples and are presented with gifts from locals. During the evening, people will release banana-leaf boats with candles and flowers on top. Luang Prabang is one of several riverside cities that celebrate the day with boat races along the Mekong. The city will be lit up with lanterns, which many of the people around the country as busy making and monks are also making them at the temples. It will be absolutely beautiful.