The first thing we did once arriving in Luang Prabang was rent some bikes and head on over to visit the Snake Whiskey man of Laos. He makes some MEAN Mekong moonshine. Very mean, very intense and very strong like the sign suggests, meant to pump you up with strength. After I drank my shot, I threw a tuk tuk into the Mekong. Unfortunately my camera battery died.
If you’re into extremely strong drinks and don’t mind risking your life drinking a plethora of poisonous things you’d never want to encounter in the wilderness, I suggest you visit him and “give it a shot”. The concoction has cobra, other snakes, scorpions, weird centipedes, and all sorts of other creepy crawlies. Basically anything that is poisonous, he finds and crams into these jugs and lets them ferment.
It was a special Valentine’s Day treat.
At 60% alcohol, I almost barfed after downing my shot. It burned my mouth, my throat, my stomach . . . The burning sensation set up camp in my stomach for a while, until I gave a huge burp, breathing out fire like a dragon. Fighting back nausea, I hobbled back onto my bike and continued to weave through the town, passing locals setting up for the night markets as the sun started to set. It is essential to be confident when bike riding through the streets of Southeast Asia as cars and scooters will always weave around you at all times. This aggressive bike riding on my part is where the courage from the snake whiskey came in handy.
In the evenings in Luang Prabang, the night markets come alive. There are endless upon endless and rows upon rows of market stalls, all laid out on the ground. I particularly enjoyed the food markets, where you can grab a giant, heaping pile of great food for only a dollar. After dinner the shopping would begin, and by default, so would the haggling. I’ve learned that locals do expect a good haggle, and will use a calculator to communicate back and forth.