Wet start to the year in Laos
Why celebrate the start of a new year only once? If you time your trip right, you could enjoy another chance to start afresh and feel cleansed, plus have a whole lot of fun in the process.
My friend Catie and I went on an epic 9-week adventure through Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The trip was one of the best I have taken and included everything from snorkeling off Phu Quoc Island in South Vietnam, to staying with a local family in the country side of Cambodia and timing our trip to coincide with a fantastic local festival in Laos.
We conveniently planned to be in Luang Prabang for the much anticipated Pimai Lao – a New Year’s celebration that takes place in many Southeast Asian countries in April. The bad news was that we weren’t the only ones with the bright idea and the hostels and cheap hotels near town were booked.
As we walked the 20 minutes into town to join the celebrations, we soon got a taste of how this festival would play out as we dodged children shooting water guns at us from all angles. It is common to spray water on one another to cleanse prior to the New Year. Well, we sure were cleansed. (A fellow traveler caught this great action shot of Catie getting flour thrown on her after she was sprayed with water and me in the background enjoying the show.)
On day two we were much better prepared for what to expect. I promise, it’s all good fun, but I recommend you not wear any clothes you don’t want to get dirty and book accommodation early or time your Intrepid trip well.
Luang Prabang is truly a beautiful city. Some of my other highlights include visiting the cool Kuang Si waterfalls, shopping at the Luang Prabang night market and hiking to the temple on Mount Phousi.
If you’re up for some extreme local culture, hire a boat to take you to the small village of Nong Khiaw, North on the Mekong River. There are some great treks nearby with beautiful vistas and you can visit caves from the Indochina war.
Hopefully you get the chance to take your own trip to Laos and experience it for yourself. And I hope when you get back from your Asian adventure that your shoes also look like this…a sign that you got amongst it all and had a great time!
Photos by Maya Markowitz.