Contentment & Cuisine in Luang Prabang—G Adventures

Contentment & Cuisine in Luang Prabang: G Adventures — February 2017.

As I walked up to the check-out counter at the 7-Eleven store in Luang Prabang, Laos, I glimpsed a flash of saffron. It was the ubiquitous yellow, wrapped robe of the Buddhist monks who are a large part of the population here. I stepped into line behind the young monk — still a teenager — and only then did I notice that his purchases, on the glass-topped counter in front of us, consisted solely of candy and ice cream bars. Once his treats were bagged up, he pushed through the doors to where three other young monks awaited him. Giggling, they strolled away, their bright robes billowing behind them.

Teenagers, it seems, are similar the world over.

The peaceful tenets of Buddhism are the foundation of the small, land-locked country of Laos; and these harmonious beliefs reflect in every aspect of the place. Although many Asian countries are Buddhist and filled with temples and robed monks, there is something especially tranquil and serene about Laos, earning it the global nickname of “Laid-back Laos.” It is a cultural norm to avoid any and all stress, and the phrase “Baw pen nyang” (“no problem”) could easily be the national motto.

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