Luang Prabang is the former capital of Laos and since 1995 a UNESCO World Heritage City.
Set at the confluence of two rivers that almost surround the town, and beneath a temple-topped hill, Luang Prabang is a wonderful patchwork of traditional Lao wooden houses and hints of European architecture; reminders of when Laos was part of the French colony of Indochina.
As a visitor, you cannot help but be amazed by the tidiness and cleanliness of perhaps the most beautiful city in all of Southeast Asia with atmospheric and charming personalities.
The airport is just north of town and has scheduled flights from/to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hanoi, Pakse,Siem Reap and Vientiane.
Taxis into town cost about USD 9, taxi counter is just outside the arrival hall.
Highway 13 connects Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng and Vientiane in the south and via Highway 1 to the north. Highway 13 is asphalt and in relatively good shape during dry season all the way to Vientiane.
Upon arrival at a bus station, there are tuk-tuks that will take you for about 6 USD to the city centre, which is near the Royal Palace.
Alms ceremony — monks at dawn (06:00) collecting alms of rice from kneeling villagers and tourists, who form the majority, along Sakkaline Road near Wat Sensoukharam. Just look for the long row of rice baskets and stools that have been laid out for tourists who have paid for the privilege of giving alms.
Haw Kham — the former royal palace and now national museum, admission30,000 kip, no photo/video/bag/shoes allowed, free locker. Open 08:00-11:30 and 13:30-16:00 every day except Tuesday.
Phou Si — the main hill in the city from which you have a good view of the whole area. It's not a very steep climb from the bottom and sunrise and sunset are the most sensible and rewarding times to go up.
Sunset on the waterfront — take a walk along the Mekong, or sit and enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants and watch the sun sink into the horizon.
Vat Xieng Toung — the oldest monastery in town and one of the most beautiful. Opens from 06:00-18:00. Entry fee 25,000 kip.
Vipassana temple and park — this golden temple, highly visible from Phou Si, is a shrine for Buddhists who practice Vipassana meditation.
Out of town:
Kuang Si Falls. Closes 17:30. A large multi-stage waterfall, accessible by boat or truck hire, some 29 km south of Luang Prabang. It is worth putting a whole day or more aside for seeing this because it is a great place to relax. There are multiple pools at different levels, all of which are reportedly safe to bathe in, and are extremely picturesque.
Pak Ou Caves. The famous "Buddha caves" with beautiful scenery are north of town on the Mekong and can be reached by road (approx. 1 hr.) or river boat (around 1.5 hr.). It's also possible to finish the trip at the "whisky village" where the local Laolao rice spirit is made.
Restaurants line Sisavangvong Road and the roads along the Mekong and Nam Khan. You can choose from traditional Lao dishes, including buffalo sausage, Western meals or very high quality French cuisine.
There are also numerous market stalls for cheaper food, including baguettes, crepes, and pancakes.
Luang Prabang has the best selection of accommodation in Laos, with something to suit every budget.
While the big chains have yet to make an appearance, there are plenty of guesthouses and boutique hotels.
Visit Luang Prabang - one of the most charming cities in Southeast Asia - with us!