Being an old capital from the Laotian empire, now somehow transformed into a famous touristic destination, Luang Prabang still didn’t lose its charms. Besides the hordes of tourists, it’s still one of the most beautiful cities here! And if you are planning to visit Laos, this is definitely not a place to miss.
The town is a UNESCO World Heritage since 1995, due to the unique mixture of traditional wooden houses, highly intricate temples and leftovers of colonial architecture. Since it was a French protectorate in the past, plenty of cute villas decorate the city. Some of them now are gorgeous little cafés or boutique hotels. Best way to appreciate Luang Prabang is walking around, not only to see the architecture and enjoy the street life but also to meet some friendly locals. You can join them for lunch or at least for a couple of shots of rice wine – a must in this country!
So why should you visit Luang Prabang and what are the top things to do?
Laotian architecture and its unbeatable beauty.
Some ideas for you to start exploring:
- Haw Kham, one of the city’s symbol. It was the royal palace when Laos was a monarchy – now it became a national museum
- Chomsy Hill (Phou Si), a small and easy hike to reach the best place scenery in town – perfect for an unforgettable sunrise or sunset
- Vat Xieng Toung monastery or the smaller Vat Sirimoungkhoun Sayaram, Vat Khili, Vat Sop Sickharam and Vat Sibounheuang
- Evening stroll along the Mekong’s river getting enchanted by mysterious opaque brown waters and thick jungle on the other side
- Traditional dance performances
- Kuang Si waterfalls just outside the city, a great place to relax and cool down from the Southeast Asian heat, meet new travellers and visit the bear rescue centre nearby. Organize your tuk-tuk ride with other travellers in your guesthouse to get a better price, and don’t forget to bargain!
There’s also plenty of delicious Laotian food, look for some authentic meals in the less touristic places.
Freshly brewed coffee and proper baguettes, a legacy of the French culture, are very common! A great alternative to more Asian style breakfasts.
In terms of drinking don’t expect much of a nightlife! You can have some drinks in nice locations though, such as Utopia (a pleasant open-air lounge), Icon Klub or Hive Bar.
The night market in the downtown.
If you want to go to the countryside not too far, you should go to Nong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi. These two villages are on the river and surrounded by mountains.
Anyway, Luang Prabang is a must see on your Laos trip. Check Camboticket website for transportation options from Siem Reap and start exploring!