Luang Prabang Information
Area: 19.714 km2
Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Manolom, Royal Palace Museum, Mount Phou Si, Tad Kwang Si Waterfall, Pak Ou Caves, Tham Ting Caves, Ban Xang Hai Village, Waterfall Tad Sae.
Luang Prabang is often described as the 'Jewel in Laos Crown'. Even though the town is well and truly on the tourist trail, it has nonetheless managed to preserve its natural splendor and inherent charm, exuding a missed-out-on-modernization vibe.
The majority of the city's sights can be reached on foot, so getting a map and making your way to the many temples (33 to be exact) is a good way to soak up the surroundings and observe the way of the Lao people, and the large monk community. The wonder of the ancient temples is apparent at first glance; the gentle and unassuming nature of the locals, given the chance, will also leave a lasting impression.
Luang Prabang, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, sits at 700 metres above sea level at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers. Being Laos' premier tourist destination and arguably Southeast Asia's most beautiful heritage town, Luang Prabang's entire historical section is dedicated to tourism, with everything from former royal palaces to over 33 Vats (temples), quaint shop-houses and sidewalk cafés. This former Royal capital still remains the main centre for Buddhist learning in Laos and is the perfect location for spiritual contemplation.
Cascading waterfalls, scaling peaks and the milky-brown waters of the Mekong River provide ample opportunity to explore Luang Prabang. This small and peaceful town is one of the few places where you can allow yourself to wind down completely and just go with the flow.
Visitors can enjoy the sights of monks collecting alms early in the morning, charming colonial architecture and ornate temples of distinct Laotian design, as well as spend relaxed afternoons at any one of the cafes that line the Mekong. Handmade crafts dominate the markets here, with embroidered quilts, wall hangings and scarves sold by women dressed in colourful ethnic costume.
Accommodation is varied and plentiful, with restored heritage houses offering comfortable and intimate stays. Large hotel chains haven't found their way here yet, but there are still some luxury options for those looking for a colonial touch of class. The delightful holiday spot of Luang Prabang regularly keeps visitors here for much longer than planned. Hospitable locals make stays here even more enjoyable and the range and charm of hotels ensures you can enjoy the tranquility of Luang Prabang in comfort.