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By Asmodeane in Posts, Travel

Oh Lung Prabang, Luang Prabang… Where to start. Lets start with the overbearing hype I’ve listened to for the three weeks before I arrived in Luang Prabang. I’ve asked a lot of people along the way as to where they’ve been, what they recommend, what they’d warn against, all like a proper backpacker. And the three people I’ve “interviewed” that have been to Luang Prabang have all used adjectives like “amazing”, “brilliant”, “awesome”… The city of fucking waterfalls and temples. So yeah, we were pretty stoked to get there. The truth, however, proved to be quite different, as it has a nasty habit of being.

Luang Prabang, far from being a tranquil nexus of tranquil tranquility, is pretty much an overpriced Mecca of middle aged western wankers with zimmer frames (gross exaggeration) and disappointed backpackers who haven’t yet heard the news of Luang Prabang’s demise over the backpacker grapevine. The place is bunk, people. There is nothing to see here, move along. It is terribly overpriced, more expensive than both Vientiane and Vang Vieng, and it is geared towards the kind of tourist that despises adversity. Everywhere you go, you are confronted with a Las Palmas-like view of bakeries, spas, tons of gray-haired white people, banana pancake stands, and a few bewildered backpackers. The shittiest of shitty guesthouses charge 100k for a night, a princely sum that ought to get you a decent room with a decent toilet (the kind that doesn’t smell of sewage and that has proper hot water) close to town center. Here, it gets you a rape room with dirty walls, full of palm prints, as if the previous occupants were forcibly taken from behind, palms futilely grasping onto said white washed walls. They say that if you press your palm against a drity, bloody imprint on the wall, you can feel their pain wash over you…

I’m scratching my head here, trying to think of something to counerbalance the flood of negativity in the above paragraph. And I am coming up empty. There is nothing there to counterbalance with, people. You might find solace in organized tours to look at poor disenfranchised tribal people in the forests nearby, or maybe you like seeing elephants beaten into submission, forced to carry heavy loads and maybe even step over prone tourists, but there is nothing there in Luang Prabang itself.

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