My summer plans: Employed in Luang Prabang!

A monk laughing during the afternoon drumming in Luang Prabang

Surprise! I’ve stopped travelling.

Trying a forehead strap basket at Luang Prabang's Living Land Farm in Laos

Well, that’s not completely true. I’ll be back on the road in September, starting with Vietnam, and hopefully continuing through Cambodia and Southern Thailand (unless I go live on a farm…no joke).

But for the hot, Southeast Asian rainy season of June, July and August? I’m settling down, working 9-5, and unpacking my bag in the UNESCO heritage city of Luang Prabang.

A golden temple at the National Palace Museum in Luang Prabang

Looking down at a Buddhist temple or wat in Luang Prabang, Laos

It was serendipitous, really. I knew I wanted to stop moving for three months, get an apartment, and get a job (travel is fun but unemployment is uncomfortable), but I was 99% sure it would happen in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I was back in town there for Songkran after travelling Burma, and decided to explore Laos during April and May, putting me right on track to settle down somewhere in June.

‘I’m almost certain I’ll spend the summer in Chiang Mai,’ I told my friends, ‘…though I guess the only thing that could change that is if something happens in Luang Prabang.’

Well.

Looking at flowers and stupas on Phousi Mountain, Luang Prabang

A banana leaf offering on Phousi Mountain, Luang Prabang, Laos

Life is funny sometimes. I arrived in Luang Prabang in mid-May after trekking northern Laos, and on my very first day walked into a tour agency to ask directions. They had a cool, youthful vibe, with both foreigners and locals working there, and were partnered with a shop selling handicrafts from small artisans all over Laos. I dug it instantly, and on a whim, went back the next day with my CV.

I had no idea if they were hiring, and what they’d even be hiring for, but what did I have to lose?

Jumping off the rope swing at Kuang Si Waterfall, Luang Prabang, Laos

A fisherman casting his net into the Mekong in Luang Prabang, Laos

Maybe now I should confess that I completely believe in guardian angels. Travel guardian angels, in particular. Or just really kick-ass luck. Not only did they have an opportunity in the skill set I wanted to pursue, but the position came with a room in an apartment, travel opportunities over Laos, and a 3-month work period – perfect timing to meet my friend in Vietnam come September.

This is the sound of me high-fiving the universe. SHAZAM!

Le Cafe Ban Vat Sene in an old French colonial building in Luang Prabang, Laos

Breads and baked goods on selection at Le Banneton cafe in Luang Prabang, Laos

So, there you have it. I won’t be in my heart-achingly beloved northern Thailand – for now, at least – but instead spending my summer doing social media, tourism, writing & photography (and general office bitch work) in Luang Prabang.

I am MORE than stoked. They’ve got me blogging, travelling, and photographing for the company – three of my favourite things!

Hopefully I can get out of any coffee making ;)

The red and gold ceiling of the National Palace Museum in Luang Prabang, Laos

Praying figures at a Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang, Laos

But best of all? I get to know Luang Prabang, this amazing city, even better.

This is a city of such killer charm, it’s difficult to decide how to even begin to explain. The streets lined with old French colonial houses, white-washed and half-timbered, housing cute cafes, boutique hotels, and artist ateliers?

Flowering trees in Luang Prabang

A communist flag and a Lao flag in Luang Prabang A bird in a cage under a padauk tree, Luang Prabang

The absolute riot of colour coming from the flowering trees – red hibiscus, pink and white plumeria, yellow padauk, purple bougainvillea – on every street?

Vintage cars outside of a boutique restaurant in Luang Prabang's old city

A Buddhist wat in red and gold, Luang Prabang

Boys playing in the Nam Khan River, Luang Prabang

The quiet of the city centre, the calm of the avenues, the unending sense of summertime leisure when sitting on the banks of the Mekong, feeling the wind blow past, and watching the clouds and the fishermen go by?

Maybe street art in Luang Prabang

A primary school and French sign in Luang Prabang

Late night bowling in Luang Prabang

No. I don’t know. It’s difficult. Words fail me when I try to describe the sights, the beauty, the peace, that strike me daily in this town.

The local waterfalls, the late nights at the bowling alley (one of the only places to stay open after 11:30), the monks in saffron robes, the gold glinting temples, the flashes of French, the mangoes and jackfruit and bananas ripening on my street.

I’d rather just show them. Maybe the pictures in this post will inspire you to come check this city out for yourself someday.

Kuang Si waterfalls in Luang Prabang

Fan at a temple in Luang Prabang

And if it’s anytime in the next three months, hit me up!

A colourful tuk-tuk in Luang Prabang, Laos

A mosaic at Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang, Laos

Taking picture at sunset over the Mekong from Phousi Mountain, Luang Prabang

Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang, Laos

A quiet street scene in Luang Prabang, Laos

A red vintage car in Luang Prabang, Laos

Have you ever had an amazing, outstanding, serendipitous experience while travelling?

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65 Responses to My summer plans: Employed in Luang Prabang!

  1. Lili 28 May, 2013 at 19:39 #

    Beautiful pictures, what a gorgeous scenery!

    • Naomi Alyssa 2 June, 2013 at 15:31 #

      Thank you! This place really does have gorgeous scenery…every day, it strikes me. Truly unique <3

  2. Beth 29 May, 2013 at 05:38 #

    It’s pretty awesome when life hands you exactly what you want when you want it… I’m happy for your new job!! Your photos are great. I’m just starting to learn how to take pictures. Thanks for the inspiration. You rule :)
    Peace!

    • Naomi Alyssa 2 June, 2013 at 15:32 #

      It is….oh, it is. Thank you for the kind words! :)

  3. Thomas Dembie 29 May, 2013 at 05:40 #

    Sounds like you’ll be having an amazing summer! Looking forward to hearing about your experience. I love Luang Prabang. The sites are wonderful, but what I like the most is the friendly people.

    • Naomi Alyssa 2 June, 2013 at 15:33 #

      Too true! People have really been opening up here…it’s great to experience :)

  4. Candace 29 May, 2013 at 23:25 #

    NAOMI! My heart is absolutely exploding with excitement for you right now. You and I both share a big love for Luang Prabang, and I am equal parts so jealous and so happy you get to call it home for this summer! And not only that, but that you’ve found such a perfect fit of a job for you, too! Serendipity never ceases to amaze me :) Have a *fantastic* summer, and know that I will be over here in the US, eating up your every post!!!

    • Naomi Alyssa 2 June, 2013 at 15:35 #

      Thank you thank you my love! Now come back and let’s hang out ;) xx

  5. Sojourner 30 May, 2013 at 06:35 #

    Your photos are stunning! Enjoy your time in Luang Prabang :)

  6. Tyrhone 30 May, 2013 at 07:12 #

    Wow. Very serendipitous. Congratulations. Great photos in there. The one thing I most miss about Laos is the sticky rice, man they do great sticky rice.

  7. RIka | Cubicle Throwdown 30 May, 2013 at 09:56 #

    Oh my gosh – what a perfect sounding job!! And I’ve heard such amazing things about Luang Prabang… I am definitely looking forward to hearing all about your summer home. I did have something awesome like that happen to me last December – I was working as a dive instructor at a luxury resort here on Roatan but was not happy, and my divers one week happened to own a megayacht that they were traveling through the Caribbean on. They asked me to continue on their trip with them and I ended up in the fancy VIP suite on a huge yacht, getting paid to dive and stay on board as a guest! We traveled through Belize and Mexico and I ended up in Miami for another six weeks hanging out with the crew after the trip. It was incredible…and they’ve just asked me to come back for another 3 week trip in the Bahamas in July :)

    • Naomi Alyssa 2 June, 2013 at 15:45 #

      WHOA. Way more badass than this opportunity, ha! How exciting :)

  8. Kirstin 30 May, 2013 at 12:16 #

    This is so awesome! It’s exciting that you’ll get a chance to immerse yourself in one place for a while. What’s the live music scene like there? We have some crazy dreams about planning a Southeast Asia tour for my husband’s band and a few other Bishkek rock groups.

    • Naomi Alyssa 2 June, 2013 at 15:47 #

      Not that great, apparently – I asked a local last night and she said ‘Nothing outside of weddings,’ ha! But if you guys came by we could definitely arrange something. DO IT!! xx

  9. Maia 30 May, 2013 at 14:07 #

    Congrats! Loves so lovely! You are opening my eyes to this part of Asia. Someday I’ll have to check it out. :)

    • Naomi Alyssa 2 June, 2013 at 15:48 #

      You HAVE to. Come when I’m still here and we can have crazy adventures together!! ;) xx

  10. Jennifer 31 May, 2013 at 16:14 #

    Congrats on your new job, it sounds like a great opportunity and must be nice to settle down after travelling for a while.

  11. Kiera @easytravelmom 31 May, 2013 at 21:09 #

    Talk about timing – that’s great. Congrats. I look forward to reading more and the pictures do speak a thousand words!

  12. Digital Nomads 1 June, 2013 at 01:48 #

    Great photos! It was around 4-5 years ago when we first visited the city, gorgeous place! Would love to go again one day, maybe volunteering too :)

    • Naomi Alyssa 2 June, 2013 at 15:52 #

      Volunteering would be so much fun. I’ve been looking for some opportunities and will share if I find them! :)

      • Digital Nomads 21 June, 2013 at 05:33 #

        Please email us of any opportunity, the beauty of being digital nomad and location independent is to accept opportunities. As we say in France, “profites-en”
        :)

  13. Jessica J. Hill 4 June, 2013 at 12:44 #

    I love Luang Prabang! I completely understand your heartbreak at not settling in Thailand, but Luang Prabang is just as cool and it gives you a chance to explore something new! What an awesome opportunity.

    • Naomi Alyssa 4 June, 2013 at 15:29 #

      Very true…and I do, maybe, just a bit, still harbour a hope that I’ll be in northern Thailand more permanently at some point ;)

  14. Mohamed Mansour 5 June, 2013 at 04:58 #

    …Is that a picture of the locals worshiping Chuck Norris? Have Chuck Norris jokes taken over the rest of the world too?

    • Naomi Alyssa 5 June, 2013 at 12:58 #

      Ha! You mean those stickers? Man, I have no idea…but that’s a good theory ;)

  15. Ryan 6 June, 2013 at 10:45 #

    Hey Naomi! Sounds like a wonderful experience! Keep on rockin’!
    Ryan

  16. Ekua 13 June, 2013 at 12:06 #

    Congrats, sounds like a good way to spend the summer! I have such fond memories of that town, the lazy days, the falls, the night market, and the late night bowling alley. Great photos, enjoy your summer.

  17. Nicola 14 June, 2013 at 14:06 #

    I’ll miss you in Chiang Mai dear friend, but Luang Prabang does sound amazing. Have a wonderful summer!! I’m heading off to Thailand today and am so excited :) Love you!

  18. Jessica Wray 20 June, 2013 at 12:28 #

    Wow, congrats! I love Luang Prabang. Have a fantastic summer…I’m sure you will ;)

    Btw, LOVE the photos!

    • Naomi Alyssa 22 June, 2013 at 14:35 #

      Thank you kindly Jess! It is an awesome city ;)

  19. Jessica 3 July, 2013 at 22:27 #

    Looks amazing! Enjoy it :)

  20. miaa 8 July, 2013 at 21:44 #

    Excellent post looks really awesome

  21. Lauren @ All Things Go 19 July, 2013 at 19:30 #

    Wow your photos are incredible. I’m SO excited about going now!

  22. Pidi 19 July, 2013 at 19:38 #

    Wow! Wow! Wow! You lucky travel blogger,photographer, life celebrator. Love the blog,love the pictures even more…inspires me to pack up and leave- only the kids are in the way… :( Have a great summer.

    • Naomi Alyssa 20 July, 2013 at 11:10 #

      Thank you kindly! I hope you have a chance to travel with your kids. It was one of the greatest gifts my own parents gave me! :)

  23. Joel 22 July, 2013 at 23:13 #

    Amazing pictures! I am planning to go on my first backpacking trip to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia next year. If lady luck shines on me, maybe i’ll be able to get a local job for awhile? Anyway, what are the requirements to land that job of yours?

    Joel

    • Naomi Alyssa 23 July, 2013 at 13:47 #

      Well, blogging, actually – they hired me for my experience in social media, photographing and writing. As well as my obsession with travel. That helped too ;)

      Have fun on your trip – it’s going to be epic!!

  24. Morgan 23 July, 2013 at 08:35 #

    Congrats! Do you typically stop and find work for a period and then move on?

    • Naomi Alyssa 23 July, 2013 at 13:57 #

      Yep. Spent a month working around Thailand, then travelled – came here to work for three months, then travelling again – moving in Australia in the fall, then working in Bali in March, and off on another adventure after that. Gotta find some way to stay abroad! ;)

  25. Jon Stark 25 July, 2013 at 12:50 #

    Hi Naomi,
    We did Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, etc last year.
    You will love it.
    Cheers,
    Jon and Jenny

    • Naomi Alyssa 26 July, 2013 at 13:57 #

      Thanks guys! It is an amazing part of the world :)

  26. czharina 26 July, 2013 at 18:45 #

    I will be there in November..really excited to see the place..are you still there?

    • Naomi Alyssa 31 July, 2013 at 16:26 #

      Nope, I leave at the end of August…lame! :/ But you’ll have crazy fun here – it’s such a cool town :)

  27. Lunaguava 28 July, 2013 at 05:55 #

    One of the first thoughts I had when visiting Luang Prabang a couple of years ago was: “I could definitely live here”. And this was before even trying the mango sticky rice, mind you. It’s a gorgeous place, and prone to serendipitous encounters. Thank you for reviving my memory of waterfalls, lush colors, vintage cars and little kids drowsing by the Mekong. Best of luck on your travels.

  28. Phoebe H 4 September, 2013 at 23:20 #

    This is an amazing summer plan! Been to Luang Prabang before and would definitely say that it does have a cool young vibe to it. Lovely place and photos!x

    • Naomi Alyssa 7 November, 2013 at 20:19 #

      Thank you kindly Phoebe! it does have a different vibe there…

  29. Nina 18 January, 2014 at 16:02 #

    This is great! I just love when the world works out like that. I feel like it happens more to people who let life play its course and not try to plan every detail. Every time I do plan, and it does work out… I just tell myself, it will play out fine. It always does! Yay for your awesome opportunity!

  30. Mathilde 14 June, 2014 at 16:38 #

    Hi Naomi! I am currently trekking northern Lao I was doing my little research on google, to try to find a job in Luang Prabang for this summer (june, july, august…). And I just loved your story. This is (if any kind of holy creature can hear me) exactly what I would like to happen to me!
    Would you mind giving me the contact of this place you worked for in LP? Hopefully they’ll have a similar opportunity! I’m also a photographer, this would just be the best deal ever!
    Well, as you stayed in LP quite a while, maybe you ave other tips, or other places that might be interested into hiring a young vibrant and dynamic little french girl for summer !
    Let me know ! All the best

    Mathilde

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