This is Laos's religious and artistic capital, and its combination of impressive natural surroundings, historic architecture, and friendly inhabitants make it one of the region's most pleasant towns. The city's abundance of ancient temples led UNESCO to declare it a World Heritage Site in 1995, and since then it's been bustling with construction and renovation activity.
But the charm of Luang Prabang is not exclusively architectural—just as pleasant are the people, who seem to spend as much time on the streets as they do in their homes. Children play on the sidewalks while matrons gossip in the shade, young women in traditional dress zip past on motor scooters, and Buddhist monks in saffron robes stroll by with black umbrellas, which protect their shaven heads from the tropical sun.
Despite scores of guesthouses, finding accommodations here can be a challenge in the peak season. And when you visit the top attractions, be prepared for crowds of tourists.
Discuss your travel plan with our local experts!GET IN TOUCH
Some of the most visited sites in Luang Prabang Town are Wat Xieng Thong, Mount Phou Si, Wat Visounnarath, (the former Royal Palace) and Wat Manolom. Equally beautiful are the lesser known temples across the Mekong River in Chomphet District. You can take a 1.5 hour walk through the hills and forest opposite the main town to explore the old temple sites and peaceful environment. Just outside of the main town are the beautiful Tad Kwang Si Waterfall, Tham Ting Caves, Ban Xang Hai Village and the tiered waterfall Tad Sae. Further out is Muang Ngoi Kao, a quiet village located on the banks of the Nam Ou River surrounded by high karst mountains and sheer limestone cliffs. You can visit these sites on your own or use the services of one of the many tour operators based in town.