It’s been eight years since we were last in Laos and hasn’t time flown?! It seems only yesterday we were celebrating Christmas by the river in Vang Vieng and drinking fruit shakes in Luang Prabang.

Motivated by new AirAsia flights from Bangkok to Luang Prabang (avoiding the long bus trip from Vientianne) and a nice off-season cheapie courtesy of Jetstar to Bangkok we embarked on ten days out of Australia to Asia, at probably the hottest time of year possible!

So, if you’re wondering why all the photos are taken at dawn and dusk… the rest of the day was largely spent in hibernation (the pool), avoiding the 40 degree sun as best we could.

For those unfamiliar with the not-so-sleepy town of Luang Prabang – it’s the former capital of Laos and dotted with classic French colonial buildings and accompanying assortment of excellent food. On the surface, not much has changed over the years but there is certainly more money in Laos than our last visit. Brand new Toyota 4WD’s are everywhere as are ATM’s and new, generally tasteful boutique hotels.

We spent the first day just wandering around, exploring and eating (our favourite pastime). The next day involved a tuk-tuk ride to a nearby waterfall where locals had picnics and tourists took endless selfies. The Kouang Si waterfall is 30km or so out of town but worth the drive and the water was stunning. Rach enjoyed cooling off with a dip under the majestic falls.

Being the crazy kids that we are, the next day’s adventure was a zip-line excursion, 20km out of town on a boat ride down the Mekong River. Similar to what we did in India a couple of years ago – the course was 12 lines set up high between trees in the jungle. It felt safe apart from the cheeky guides who insisted on swinging the line and rope bridges and laughing all the time. Good fun!

The last day called for a 4:30am start to witness the local monks walking the streets of Luang Prabang in their age-old alms ceremony. In the pre-dawn stillness, locals give monks sticky rice as an offering of kindness and in return for blessings. It is a unique sight to see the procession of hundreds of monks making their way through town, a traditional aspect of Lao life that has transcended time.

Laos no longer feels like a backward country – at least not in ‘civilised’ Luang Prabang, but I’m sure out in the countryside, not much has changed.