Monks collect morning alms in Luang Prabang.

One hour after landing in Luang Prabang, Allana and I were walking along the bank of the Nam Khan, looking for a fruit-shake and green papaya salad.

Laos is hot in August, and kids jumped from the roofs of riverboats, cannonballing into the brown current. Everything felt soft and slow and easy. “Laos has got to be the most chill country in the world,” said Allana.

It’s strange, how easily I find myself easing back into Luang Prabang. A few flights, a few airports, a night in Bangkok, one last flight up the Mekong and all of sudden I’m squeezing fresh limes into my noodle soup and stopping by Joma for coffee and air-con.

The rivers are higher than I’ve ever seen them before, and there aren’t many tourists this time of year.

Tourists, water – everything flows past Luang Prabang. Sometimes there’s more water, sometimes more falang, but the old woman still fans her cooking fire in the alleyway, and the monks will wake up early to collect their alms.

This town has never lost its calm.