The moment I arrived in Luang Prabang I had an instant thought: I could stick around here for a while. The city is a perfect combination of the Lao and western culture, it seemed like the right place to rest from my regular travels. LP has been named World Heritage Site in 1995 and ever since tourism has been growing rapidly. When you walk on the main street you might think you’re in Europe rather than in Laos. There are plenty of cute western cafes and restaurants, the streets are clean, there are even nice pavements and that’s a rarity in Asia:) But it’s not all about consumerism, oh no! It’s the beautiful temples that made the city so alluring. Anywhere you go you’ll see young monks in their signature orange robes. They are actually novices studying to become monks. Even though it’s not obligatory, many boys join the monastery at least once in their lifetime. To most of them it’s the only chance to get an education. Some disrobe after few years and go back to their village to help on a farm and some go to university.
It’s wonderful that the boys have such an opportunity to study but I cannot stop thinking about the girls. What about the girls? They can join the monastery as a nun but as far as I’ve been told they won’t get the same education. Even if they stay in a monastery they will pray, meditate and prepare meals for the monks and novices… I truly hope that one day girls and boys will get equal opportunities.
I’ve stayed in Luang Prabang for 1,5 weeks which for me seemed like a month. After being on a move for 3 months I needed to rest:) My days were filled with activities though, but it was nice to go back in the evening to the same place. I rented a bicycle for the time I was there and that made me feel almost like home;)
I volunteered at an English centre where I helped the Lao teachers, mainly with pronunciation. For them I was the native speaker, ha;) It was a wonderful experience as I got to know the students a little bit, they were between 16 and 20 years old. They told me their plans and dreams, and I hope they’ve learned something about Europe as well:)