Luang Prabang is a city. I mention it because - once you arrive - drifting amongst the clouds of this beautiful tourist Mecca will quickly make you forget. It’s the colorful home of thousands of golden-robed monks, countless temples coated with ornate art, and markets flogging bargain, scented spices and intensely flavorsome coffee.
Impressively, Laos’ second city has maintained the same sense of tranquility that bought so many here when the country opened to tourism twenty years ago, despite becoming a major Asian trading hub. It’s a far cry from a traditional South-East Asian travel destination; there’s no real manic nightlife to speak of (largely the result of an 11.30 curfew), and – in stark contrast to the vivacious, rampaging scenes of places like Bangkok – Luang Prabang is more about relaxation and contemplation. The perfect South East Asian antidote.
You’ll find plenty of French influence here, and while colonialism’s long finished, its effects still permeate many aspects of culture. Architectural delights like the Golden Hall (a national museum), for example, is half European, half traditional Lao, and houses numerous impressive religious exhibits as well as the former King’s elephant chair. Luang Prabang’s 43 temples, meanwhile, house buddhas, stupas, incredible wall art, and legends galore. They’re fantastic places to explore ancient Lao culture and talk to the monks, with each one guarding its own incredible stories. Some even have their own saunas, which kindly monks might well usher you into, just in case you weren’t hot enough already.
Some important infos :
1.If you are a female tourist, DO NOT touch the monk.
2.Do not give money to the locals, this is to discourage begging.
Luang Prabang’s epic natural surroundings are every bit as much of a draw as the holy city itself. Try the swimmable pools of picture-postcard Kwang Si Falls, or stare down at the magnificent Mekong from the heights of the Pak Ou Caves and their hundreds of striking Buddhist images.
This is Asian escapism at its finest: relaxed, scenic, and a real chance - even in the city – to create your own brand of adventure. Don’t forget to try the plateau coffee and world famous pho in the backstreets, and top it all of with a contemplative Lao Beer. Perfection.