Adventure2017: Laos

For children growing up in rural Laos, opportunities to see their own cultural heritage are few and far between. In fact, the majority of adults from these villages haven’t had the chance, so imagine the excitement in the air when Exodus leaders arrived in the small village of Khok Kham, ready to whisk the children away to the heady heights of Luang Prabang.

Adventure2017 children, Laos Adventure2017 children, Laos

 

Hidden away on the banks of the River Mekong, the village of Khok Kham is impossible to reach by road. Despite being only a short distance from bustling Luang Prabang, its inaccessibility makes it difficult to connect with the rest of the country. For most of these children, this would be the first time they’ve left their village – and they were doing it in style.

Wat Xieng Thong Temple, Luang Prabang Wat Xieng Thong Temple, one of Luang Prabang's many incredible buildings

 

When the small fleet of riverboats arrived, the sense of excitement was palpable. With 37 children between five and twelve years old in tow, it was quite the organisation to get them all aboard and underway. These were the boats that would take the children on their two hour journey to the city, where a day of excitement and wonder awaited. Travellers from all over the world come to Luang Prabang to marvel at its glittering array of temples, waterfalls and beautiful sights. Now, it was their turn.

In the Palace Museum grounds In the Palace Museum grounds

 

First up was the Royal Palace Museum. The pristine white building began life as a home for the royal family, but following the overthrow of the monarchy in the 1970s is now a national museum. The building itself tells a tale of the cultural shifts in Laos’ history, let alone the artefacts inside. After the Palace, the children headed on to the sacred Mount Phousi for the best view over the city. The walk up the steps to the summit is dotted with shrines and reclining Buddhas, and the reward for the incline more than pays off. There’s nowhere in town more perfect for a picnic lunch.

Stairs at Mount Phousi, Luang Prabang, Laos Stairs at Mount Phousi, Luang Prabang, Laos

 

This was the favourite stop for Nin, one of the children from Khok Kham Village School. “I love it very much!” he said of the spiritual hilltop that dominates the Luang Prabang skyline. It was the first time he’d visited anywhere like it.

The children on Mount Phousi The children on Mount Phousi

 

The afternoon was dedicated to the city. Simply the excitement of being in a place as bustling and atmospheric as Luang Prabang was pleasurable enough, with its markets and temples – just taking some time to settle back and drink it all in before the boat journey home. This excursion was part of Adventure2017, Exodus' commitment to give exciting day trips to at least 2,017 children from all over the world in 2017. To find out more about the initiative, see our responsible travel pages. 

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