Kuma Words 17

Kuma Words 17

I spent the New Year at Luang Prabang in Laos. Situated at the confluence of the Mekong River, Luang Prabang is the former capital of Laos, and seat of the Lan Xang dynasty. It is a special place where the Mekong, appearing as ubiquitous deep brown surface, can be seen and felt anywhere in the city.

A great charm of this city is that many of its older narrow streets still remain. In my view, no matter how beautiful the green space is, a town cannot be perceived as attractive without walkable streets and alleys. Among Asian resorts, Chiang Mai and Hoi An share this feature, and I’ve found Luang Prabang quite comparable to the other two.

Another interesting aspect of the city is the culture of the sauna. I enjoyed an intense herbal sauna in a tattered shack-like bath.

It didn’t immediately occur to enjoy a sauna in a southern country, but it’s true that sauna has enhanced the unity of early communities, playing an important role also as a social and medical facility. From east Africa, humans migrated with the culture of sauna in hand, spreading the tradition to a global scale.

In Asian countries such as Korea, Japan, or Thailand the sauna has indeed existed since ancient times, In Thailand however, sauna culture disappeared 80 years ago with the influx of western culture, enduring only deep in the mountains of Laos.

I realized how influential mountains and valleys can be in preserving culture. In 2019, KKAA will keep our effort to protect and maintain the strength of the nature.