Notes on the Geography of Laos: Luang Prabang
What about the surrounding town?
Boats tie up informally.
There are many temples close to the river. At several times of day, monks beat immense bass drums.
The French added precisely surveyed streets--this one parallel to the Mekong but set back one block.
Straight as can be.
The upstream side of the city is confined by the Nam Khan, a stream that parallels the Mekong before joining it, thus creating a peninsula occupied by a third of Louang Prabang. This is the part of the city where efforts to retain a traditional or colonial flavor are most likely to succeed, because there's no room for expansion.
Xiengthong Road is little altered since the French left.
The former French customs house, at the tip of the peninsula, is here under renovation.
Colonial houses, too, survive on this peninsula.
The question is whether to get rid of buildings like this or save them in the name of heritage and tourist dollars. The economic argument is probably more persuasive.
A more recent building with Deco elements.
Another example of European design.
A hotel tries to fit in.
The colonial hospital is still in use as such.
The most active market remains the colonial Talat Dala, across from the hospital.
Inside, bricks of kip are changed.
The market may be traditional, but tastes are changing.
Signs of modernization are everywhere, including not only store-bought clothing but satellite dishes.
Still farther out, a landscape fully in keeping with the pursuit of economic growth.
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