On my first trip to Thailand a few years back, it took me a while to realise why the bars were full of sunburnt Brits and Aussies with bandaged limbs. It was enough to keep me off the mopeds in Koh Samui, but Luang Prabang is immeasurably more leisurely.
So on my last day, my Swedish buddy Max and I rent out scooters and head off on our 100cc Honda Waves for the waterfall at Kuang Si. It's an incredibly laid back drive through pristine rice paddies and in the shadow of rolling hills, the old brown river never that far away.
We pass through tiny villages, and in each one the kids run out to the roadside and high five us as we pass. It's an unspeakably glorious ride. The sun beats down, the empty highway meanders nonchalantly and we stop just occasionally to take photos, or for the odd Laotian roadblock.
The crock of gold at the end of this particular rainbow is a stunning multi-layered waterfall. Limestone gives the water a bright turquoise glint. Good enough to swim in, cold enough to find an excuse. We climb up the top, wade through the water, ponder the edge, and make our way down. It is serene, peaceful and the perfect end to a perfect journey.