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Luang Prabang: The best sunset I’ve ever seen

The best sunset

Luang Prabang bored me senseless. I was at a loose end after the slow boat’s drama and tak bat’s disappointment

Despite being in South East Asia, the weather was bitterly cold. My damp hotel room had no windows and made me depressed. Laotian food was also very average, making me long for Thai cooking.

So with nothing better to do, I followed the path of others before me, and turned to the bottle. This was attractive for obvious reasons, but also because Laos has surprisingly good beer.


Imaginatively named Beerlaos, it’s the best beer I had in Asia. A lager with full flavour, it easily beat Korea’s watery Cass, Thailand’s Leo and Indonesia’s Bintang. 

But drinking is better with a nice setting, and this is something Luang Prabang actually got right. All along the Mekong riverfront were terraces. You could sit on these with a beer, see the sunset, and watch the boats float past. 

Luang Prabang sunset on the Mekong

This became a daily habit. But was it really what I’d come to Luang Prabang for? It felt like a big waste of time. But then fate intervened. 

As usual, it had been cloudy all day, and I was having an evening beer by the river. I looked off at the distant mountains, and noticed a strange pink glow. And it was spreading. I grabbed my camera and left the bar, sliding down the riverbank to the water’s edge.

Luang Prabang sunset on the Mekong

Luang Prabang sunset on the Mekong

The colour had spread from the behind the mountains and now covered the whole sky. The clouds were dappled pink, then shifted to a violent red. The sky was on fire, a volcanic eruption signalling the end the world. The river became a shimmering pool that looked like it would burn my hand if I touched it.

Luang Prabang sunset on the Mekong

Luang Prabang sunset on the Mekong

Without exaggeration, it was the best sunset I’d ever seen. And I would’ve missed it entirely if Luang Prabang hadn’t driven me to drink.

Where’s been the best sunset you’ve ever seen? Let me know in the comments below

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