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A Travel Guide To Luang Prabang with some great tips and advice.
Sitting at 700m above sea level at the confluence of both the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers, resides Luang Prabang. The town is nestled among mountain ranges and is found in the Northern part of Laos. Many travellers and even local people, believe that Luang Prabang is actually the cultural centre of Laos. Luang Prabang has been a UNESCO World Heritage listed site since 1995, and is largely known for its very quiet ambience and close connection to Laos Buddhist culture.
Luang Prabang was actually once the ancient royal capital of Laos, before it was moved to Vientiane in 1545. Thanks to this, the town has many great points of interest, such as the royal palace museum and the many temples and pagodas that were once frequented by the royal family. Luang Prabang also has a strong French influence to it, largely due to the French occupation of Indochina during the turn of the 20th century.
Due to the strong history and cultural ties, Luang Prabang offers a wide range of activities for any traveller. Perhaps the most famous of these cultural activities is the daily sunrise Alms Giving Ceremony with the local monks.
The town is also surrounded by very dense forest, which means you can explore the surrounding waterfalls, buddha caves, elephant camps and bear sanctuaries. So the great thing is, no matter what you enjoy, you should find something fun to do in Luang Prabang. Read our article “8 Things To Do In Luang Prabang”, for some more info.
Luang Prabang is easy to get to, both domestically and internationally, as it has its own airport. It is also a really small town so you can easily rely on your own two feet to get around. In terms of cost, the town is more expensive than Vientiane, however it is still quite cheap overall, remember after all, you are in Asia!
We can’t speak more highly of this place and it is by far the best place we have been to so far in Asia. We recommend a stay of around 3-4 nights just because there is a lot to do and enjoy in Luang Prabang.
Top Tips And Advice
- Don’t take the bus from Vientiane! The journey is 12 hours of winding poorly maintained roads.
- You can fly cheaply to Luang Prabang from Vientiane, China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.
- Stay in a guesthouse in the “Old Town” section of Luang Prabang.
- Take a Tuk Tuk to the Kuang Si Waterfalls for some great nature walks and swimming.
- Climb Mount Phousi at sunrise instead of sunset to avoid the crowds and get great views of the town.
- Visit between November and February to avoid the monsoon season.
- Some of the best places to eat are in the “Old Town.” A personal favourite was Khaiphaen.
- Go for a walk through the night market for some great atmosphere after dinner.
- Not everywhere will take credit cards, so be sure to carry plenty of cash!
Where To Stay In Luang Prabang
The best place to stay is in the Old Town section. This area of town has most of the guesthouses and hotels situated within it. You are also within walking distance of many of the main tourist attractions, bars, restaurants and even the river.
However, no matter where you decide to stay, Luang Prabang is small enough that it shouldn’t really matter too much. Have a look on websites such as Booking.com, Hostelworld or Hostelbookers for the best deals.
Getting Around Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang is really small, so you can easily navigate yourself around by foot. Bars, restaurants and tourist attractions are really easy to find. If you want to head out of town to the elephant camps or the Kuang Si Waterfalls, then it’s best to take a Tuk Tuk. These are literally all over the town, so you don’t have to stress too much when searching for one.
The only time you will need a taxi is when you come from the airport, however once you reach the main town, you will be fine. Remember the easiest way to actually get to Luang Prabang is to fly. Airlines fly from Vientiane, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Check out Skyscanner for the latest deals. Travelling overland is not recommended largely because the journey is long and very uncomfortable.