The sun rose as the rain fell. I could hear the heavy drops as they danced across the hotel roof and onto the wooden verandah. Everywhere else lay hushed. The street outside the room was empty, and beyond it the Mekong rushed by.
At least, I think it was the Mekong. Luang Prabang lies on a sliver of land running between the meeting of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. Our hotel, the Xiengthong Palace, was the last residence of the Lao royal family. It rests opposite the revered Buddhist monastery, Wat Xiengthong, away from the bustle of the town.
A walk along the street, around the bend, and one river became the other. Both large, both brown, both soon to be in flood, but the Mekong was far the larger. I never even learnt the name of our street. Everywhere I travel, I steep myself in the history the place, and learn all I can about everything I see; but Luang Prabang cast its spell even as I was in the plane. Continue Reading →