It pains me to have to put a ripple in the tranquility that defines Luang Prabang, but it seems the criminal elements of Vientiane are finding their way up to the World Heritage City.
Last week, a young man on foot ran up behind me and cut my purse off my shoulder with a very sharp knife; he then jumped over a river embankment, dashing down a steep hill to the Mekhong River where a boat was waiting. When this happened, there were five of us walking along the Mekhong river road, just in front of the National Museum. It is very dark in that location, with no street lamps.
We were being watched roadside from the restaurant where we had just finished dinner- Luang Prabang "LPB Restaurant." Please take care - women especially! You are targeted for your across-the-shoulder bags carrying electronics and kip-stuffed wallet, ready to spend at the famous Luang Prabang Night Market. Don't bring more than you need with you when you leave your hotel, and keep aware of you surroundings at all times. Many times, the purse snatching happens while you are on on foot and the thief is on a motorcycle.
Over the past 20 years, I've traveled in some seriously shady locations and have never had anything like this happen. Won't let this deter me from enjoying the remainder of my travels. But if knife-wielding assailant won't hesitate to use a weapon to commit his crime in a city as peaceful as Luang Prabang, where else may we identify gaps in our personal safety while we travel the wider world?