Clinging to the mighty Mekong River in northern Laos is the UNESCO World Heritage city of Luang Prabang. We discovered so much about Lao tradition and culture, from spicy food, friendly smiling people to elaborate carved temples. This picturesque and endearing mountain town charmed and captivated our hearts. It is truly one of the rare gems of Asia.
Camp It is a men's only camping weekend for gay, bi, and trans men who love men and this was our very first time. Making things even more precarious, this was also the first time we had put up our tent in the last four years and there were storms approaching from every direction. It was sure to be an entertaining weekend, one way or another.
It's Saturday morning late February and we had an important date on the Sunshine Coast at the Pride Festival. The fabulous Eumundi Markets just a short drive south of Noosa in Queensland, are always hugely popular but on this day the Markets would be the venue for a Pride celebration which would add even more colour, zing and sparkle than usual.
From the moment we arrived in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, we felt an immediate sense of relaxation. Sauntering across the hot tarmac to the passport control area we did a quick scramble for the US$35 and two small ID photos required for the visa on arrival purchase. It was our first visit to this small Asian city and our friendly immigration officer taught us 'Khorp Jai' is Lao for "thank you".
The gay section of Patong Beach is directly in front of hotel La Flora Resort Patong or near the orange beach watch tower with the rainbow flag beside it. This is the place to be during the day with lots of gay men in their recently purchased swimwear filling the beach in high season. The sun lounges have unfortunately gone but beach umbrellas can be hired for 100BHT or you can buy your own for about 250BHT from the local market stalls.
The ferry terminal was only a few hundred metres from the centre of town. In Commercial Street (the main thoroughfare through town), it was no surprise to see hundreds of gay men of all ages, shapes and sizes, mmasses of rainbow flags and billboards chocked full of gay events. The first big street banner to catch our attention was a welcome to the National Gay Pilots Association. They were in town for the long weekend. How perfect, we were ready to fly.