While LuangPrabang is considered the tourism hub of Laos, it never feels like a bustling tourist trap found around the region. The languid pace, friendly faces and picturesque landscapes will more than make up for almost any weather conditions that may come your way.
Luang Prabang was once the royal capital until Vientiane became the administrative capital in 1946. Today, it remains as the most visited city in Laos. 90 percent of the people in the country work in agricul- ture, with rice accounting for 80 percent of agricultural production in Laos. This is an unspoiled destination that has yet to be discovered en masse – its religion, culture and tradition still tenacious. A natural beauty, Luang Prabang is surrounded by mountains and is 700 metres above sea level at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers.
The city’s old-world charm is made up of over 2,000 saffron-clad monks living in 33 gilded Buddhist temples and monastries, breath- taking scenery, sustainable community outreach programmes, rich culture and Gallic villas revived as boutique hotels.
Watch the town come to life during a visit to the morning market. For the early risers wake up before dawn to witness and participate in offering alms to hundreds of saffron-robed monks, a living Buddhist tradition for the people of Luang Prabang which dates back genera- tions. Visit the Royal Palace Museum which was the residence of the king up until when the monarchy was overthrown in 1975. Next visit the so-called 'Temple of the Golden City' Wat Xiengthong.
Approximately 30 kilometres away from the city, Tat Kuang Si is home to one of the most stunning waterfalls in Southeast Asia as well as the Free the Bears Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre.
Learn about the various bear species and the sanctuary’s rescue efforts. Trek up to the top of the waterfall for some great photo opportunities or dip into one of the many cooling pools as you go downstream.
The forests around KuangSi Waterfall have always attracted a large number of butterflies. Olaf and Ineke from the Netherlands sold everything they had and moved to LuangPrabang to realise their dream of creating a research centre studying and publishing about Laos butterflies, host plants and other conservation projects
Rising 150 metres above the centre of town, Mount Phousi cuts a distinctive figure on the Luang Prabang skyline. The hill is popular as a place to watch the sun rise or set over the Mekong River.
From the summit you can enjoy a spectacular 360 degree outlook across the city and its many temples, and out over the surrounding landscape to the mountains in the distance. Count on spending a couple of hours for the climb and descent, with several stops to see the temples, rest under the shady trees and admire the magical views.
There are hundreds of steps to negotiate, but the climb is gentle enough for anyone who is in reasonable health. For a complete experience, go up Mount Phousi on one side and use the other set of steps to make your way down again. You can pray and make offerings at several temples along the way. Next to Wat Chomsi at the top of the hill you can buy flowers to offer for blessings, as well as caged birds. The Laos believe that if you set a bird free you will enjoy good luck and happiness in the future.
A symbol of great historic importance, this magnificent masterpiece is characteristic of the Luang Prabang style and features an elaborate tree of life mosaic, intricately carved walls, rare Buddhist deities and a 12-metre high funeral carriage.
Also known as the ‘Golden Tree Monastery’, Wat Xieng Thong acts as a gateway to Luang Prabang as it is strategically situated close to where the Mekong joins the Nam Khan River. This site is famous as the location for the coronation of Lao kings and as an important gathering place for significant annual festivities. The original temple was created in 1560 under the royal instruction of King Setthathirath and narrowly missed invasion on several occasions, nevertheless time took hold and much-needed remodelling took place during the 1960s. The temple still remains in its original form with repairs undertaken to the roof, and gold leaf gilding and gold lacquering restoration added to the walls and entrance.
Opening Hours: Daily from 08:00-17:00
08:00am – 11:30am and 13:00pm – 15:30pm (Cleaning on Thursday, they close at 15:00pm) Close on Sunday
08:00am – 11:00am and 13:00pm – 15:00pm
It is almost a ritual for first-time LuangPrabang visitors to visit the Royal Palace Museum, which houses exhibits tracing back several centuries to the turbulent past of the Lane Xang kingdom and colonial era. Originally the residence of the royal family, the royal chambers, murals and artefacts have been carefully restored to offer a fascinating glimpse into the royal family’s lifestyle.
A cluster of natural falls located along a small tributary of the beautiful Nam Khan River in Luang Prabang. Situated about 18km southeast of Luang Prabang, this site is truly a cannot-be-missed destination in a trip to Laos.
A spectacular natural masterpiece which is best appreciated in the rainy season, as the months from March through July there is hardly water in the pools for swimming. Although not as high as the famous Kuang Si, the Tad Sae Waterfalls is still one of the most beautiful Laos waterfalls. The water pours over the incredible limestone cliffs across many levels before flowing into large pools.
The cascades of the Tad Sae give photographing travelers fantastic chance to record amazing pictures. Travelers will have chance to see the wonder of the nature with beautiful waterfalls and majestic limestone formations among the lush green tropical jungle.
Discover the charm, unique pace & authenticity of life here by enjoying a cup of coffee or tea at the local café or strolling/cycling around to mingle with the friendly local faces and architecture.
The landscapes and urban fabric retain a high degree of authenticity, and the site is not disturbed by any major construction.The religious buildings are regularly maintained; monks teach young monks resto- ration techniques for their heritage. Moreover, the Buddhist cult and the cultural traditions related to it (rites and ceremonies) are still alive and practiced diligently. However, the degree of the authenticity of materials and construction techniques of many houses is low, since, for a long period, unsuitable modern techniques and materials (concrete, in particular) have often been used to replace traditional materials.
Luang Prabang is an outstanding example of the fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with those built by the European colonial authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Its unique, remark- ably well-preserved townscape illustrates a key stage in the blending of these two distinct cultural traditions.
Watch the town come to life during a visit to the morning market.
For the early risers wake up before dawn to witness and participate in offering alms to hundreds of saffron-robed monks, a living Buddhist tradition for the people of Luang Prabang which dates back generations
Lao First Royal Botanical garden blooms in Luang Prabang.
Draped in 40 hectares of thick tropical jungle and laced with limestone cliffs, a misty mountain beside the wide Mekong River in northern Laos might seem an improbable setting for one of Asia’s newest and most ambitious botanic gardens.
The garden is built on land that was formerly the site of a hunting pavilion owned by the rulers of Luang Prabang - Laos put an end to the monarchy when the country became communist in 1975.
Discover the incredible diverse flora of Laos and learn how local people have been using plants for medicine, food and wellbeing for centuries. There is plenty to explore – from the 280 species of ginger plants in the Ginger Garden, to the medicinal plants in the ethno-botanic section which is divided into areas such as ‘plants for women’s health’ and ‘plants for skin conditions‘. There’s a lovely restaurant on site where you can grab some food and enjoy the greenery – as well as a pond full of water lilies.
A stunning waterfall, breathtaking valley views and plenty of places to picnic – Nahm Dong Nature Park is a fantastic place to spend the day. This family-friendly park is close to Luang Prabang, yet offers visitors the feeling that they are in the middle of the jungle.
To reach the centerpiece of the park, Nam Dong Falls, you walk past a field of roses and an organic vegetable garden. There’s a wooden balcony over the gushing water where you can feast on Lao food from the nature park restaurant as you take in the inspiring scenery.
Ziplining through mountains and forest, Feel the adrenaline rush and excitement! Six stations of Zip-line - total length of over 800 meters. The longest 300 meters will take your breath away
Cable bridge treetop walk and treehouse are also worth a visit