Laos was one of the most incredible places I've ever visited. We originally planned to only stay in Luang Prabang for 2 nights, but ended up being there for 9! We could absolutely not bring ourselves to leave.
The moment we got off of the plane, we could feel an immense wave of calm ; especially after spending more time than we had wanted to in the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. Something about this place was so soothing. The people were incredible accommodating, and appreciative. The food was to die for, and so inexpensive that we feasted like royalty at every meal. There were buddhist monks walking around town, and more temples in one place than I've ever seen before. The temples were not flashy or meant to attract crowds, instead they felt ancient and holy. There was an incredible spirit in this town, quiet and respectful. I indulged in full body massages nearly every day, and I'll let you in on an outrageous secret... they were only $7/hour. Now that is a good way to spend your time.
We met the most sincere people; an artist who grew up as a monk, creating stencils for temples (stencils pictured above), a masseuse who studied and worked her way to pay for school and dreamed of coming to the states, and all of the travelers we encountered at our quaint hotel at Villa Maly. We hiked waterfalls, rode bikes all around town, and bargained for amazing pieces at the local night market. We crossed the Mekong River and trekked up 300 stairs to an abandoned temple. We adventured every day. We indulged by the pool, drinking out of coconuts and pigging out on veggie spring rolls... Life in Laos is a beautiful thing.
I fell in love with this place so much, that I am dying to go back! Next July/ August, Sean Phelps & I are planning on leading our own retreat at an incredible resort we found. A dream come true. More details to come!