A typical street in Luang Prabang with comfortable houses and shaded pavements Luang Prabang lies at the heart of northern Laos, some 340 kilometres north of the capital Vientiane, and a tortuous 850 west of the Vietnamese capital Hà Nội. Its great asset is its physical geography. The town sits on the banks of the Mekong, already a wide river although still with some 2,400 kilometres (1,500 miles) to go before it reaches the sea. It is held in an arm of the River Nam Khan, on the peninsular formed as that river runs parallel to the Mekong and then turns at right angles to join it. On this spur the heart of the town sits, the rivers offering endless opportunities for waterside cafes, cool walks and pleasing prospects. Maybe it's a little invidious, but this is among a handful of my all time favourite places. One of its key attractions are the wooden buildings, making ample use of the fact that Laos is proportionately the most wooded country in Asia. This page is unbalanced, showing but one side of Luang Prabang - pagodas are the town's crowning delight and await the next page. Small pastries cooking in the sun Gentle traffic (there are no through roads), orange trees and seats aplenty, characterise the town centre A model Luang Prabang house, forming an altar, near the street A main street in the town with motor-bike taxis waiting at the right Although villages in Laos are generally poorer, these well built larger houses seem to mark a level of affluence... ...that is higher than found in similar communities in Vietnam. This is reflected in the higher prices visitors pay The background to the children's play is provided by the River Nam Khan
- richly planted with vegetables
Motorbike sidecar converted to rickshaw style travel - is he the owner or a customer?
This rather splendid eight passenger motorbike (as indicated by the '9' on the side for the number of people allowed in it) caught Han's eye...
While my eye was caught by this girl's hair as she wheels another mode of transport
...and he had little difficulty in persuading the owner to let him have a shot
An alternative form of minibus. Farm tractor unit pulling a trailer equipped with benches for passengers
Another motor tricycle with more protection from the weather; but less aesthetic decoration
A smartly turned out eight passenger motorbike with driver and children on board
A riverside restaurant with a view. Down the Mekong...
...and up the Mekong
And another restaurant. Down the Nam Khan and...
...up the Nam Khan. (The bridge was in the pictures above)
And from the last restaurant the view directly across the river
The Mekong with its wide rocky shores; boats give it scale, as do the monks below
Above and below photographs of the River Nam Khan as it winds around Luang Prabang. Above a small toll bridge, below again seen from further up river
And another angle on the toll bridge and its keeper's house.
A small pop-up cafe sits on the beach nearby
Missing from the page above are the jewels in Luang Prabang's crowning glory - its pagodas.
The subject of the next page.
The next page
of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Viewpoint'.
Or go to the
of the Mosaic Section.