The former capital of Laos and today a UNESCO World Heritage city, Luang Prabang is one of the country’s most sought-after destinations for travellers. The city boasts a blend of architectural styles, with old European colonial buildings sitting alongside traditional Laotian structures, with some modern buildings thrown in for good measure!
A city that offers much for visitors, it is easy to explore many of the main places of interest by foot and by bicycle. There are also plenty of tuk tuks too if you want to explore further afield. From a river beach to lively bars, from massage parlours to riverside restaurants, and from glorious Buddhist temples to amazing vistas, here are some of the top things to see and do when visiting the diverse and attractive Luang Prabang:
Situated in the centre of town, Mount Phousi is a popular lookout point. Climb the 300 steps to the top for enchanting panoramic views out across Luang Prabang, taking in the glittering roofs of temples, the nearby landscapes, and the majestic mountains rising up in the distance.
Mount Phousi is especially popular at sun rise or sun set – enjoy the changing colours of the sky over the mighty Mekong River.
Royal Palace Museum
The Royal Palace Museum, also sometimes known as Haw Kham, is located in large and well-manicured grounds. A great place if you want to know more about Laos’s history and culture, you can also enjoy the splendid architecture of the Royal Palace itself. Built in the early 1900s, it was the former home of the monarchs during French colonialism.
Vat Xieng Thong
Vat / Wat Xieng Thong, also known as the Golden City Temple, is one of the most important temples in all of Laos. Constructed in the 1560s on the orders of the king at that time, King Setthathirat, the temple today houses the ornate funeral vehicle of the late monarch. Previously used for many important royal ceremonies and events, the temple is also the final resting place of another of Laos’s past kings, King Sisavangvong. Although Luang Prabang has many magnificent temples, this one should definitely be pretty high near on your list of temples to visit when in town.
Garavek Traditional Storytelling Theatre
With shows performed in English, you can spend an enjoyable time watching as tales about Laos’s legends unfold on the small stage. Enjoy local music, performed on traditional instruments, and learn more about the Laotian culture and beliefs. Shows are held most evenings, although you should try to reserve your seat ahead of the performance to avoid disappointment.
Pak Ou Caves
You’ll need some form of transport to get to the Pak Ou Caves, as they are some 25 kilometres outside of the heart of Luang Prabang. Also sometimes referred to as the Buddha Caves, the interesting cave complex contains thousands of old Buddha statues in all sizes and poses. It is one of the most revered holy sites in all of Laos. You will also see various shrines and you can enjoy the lovely views of the river.
Other great things to experience when visiting Luang Prabang include the early morning alms ceremony, where monks collect offerings from locals and tourists, the serene Vipassana Temple, the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre, the bustling evening market, the beautiful Kuang Si Falls, which are around a 30-minute drive from the centre of Luang Prabang, and Tad Sae Waterfall.
*** Main Image By www.flickr.com/photos/13523064@N03Tags:Laos, Luang Prabang