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"Consulting the few existing maps of Indochina to guide me in the interior of Laos would have been idiocy, no traveller, at least to my knowledge, having yet penetrated into Western Laos or published authentic data on this country. Asking the indigenous people for information on places further afield than a certain point would have been useless. My objective was to reach Luang Prabang by land, to explore the tribes that paid tribute to this state in the north, and to descend the Mekong again as far as Cambodia. Leaving from Korat, I had to head towards the north as soon as I found practicable paths and inhabited places; undoubtedly I would arrive on the banks of a river, and if I did not fall directly upon Luang Prabang, I would only have to turn towards the east when I judged it necessary. […] On 25th July I arrived in Luang Prabang, a charming small town […]. Its situation is one of the most agreeable; the mountains that close around the Mekong above and below this town form a circular valley, making an arena nine miles wide that must once have been a lake, and frame a ravishing tableau reminiscent of the beautiful lakes Como or Geneva."(Mouhot, 1863)

(Mouhot, 1863)

Market in Luang Prabang in Voyages en Indochine, 1873 (© ANOM All rights reserved)