Short Cuts

BOOKS ON TAP Don't be fooled by the pretentious nameŚL'estranger Literary Salon is Luang Prabang's coolest bar, perched on the second floor of a gorgeous teakwood shophouse overlooking the Nam Khan river in Thanon Kingkitsalat. Paper lanterns cast a gentle glow over cushions scattered invitingly about the polished wooden floor, as a mix of funk and trip-hoppy sounds filter from the speakers. Marvel at the collection of old National Geographics lining the upstairs walls or browse in the secondhand bookshop downstairs.

CULTURAL ALCHEMY As a younger man, Thithpheng Maniphone was silversmith to Laos' royalty. These days, the 72-year-old master artisan...

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