"It Really is the Jewel of the Jewel of SE Asia" Top 5 Page for this destination Luang Prabang by thedouglas

Luang Prabang Travel Guide: 1,101 reviews and 2,808 photos

Luang Prabang is Laos's Premiere Destination

This scenic little town is surrounded by mountains at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers - making for eye candy every which way you look! Whethere you are at ground level, or tackle the steps up to Phu Si (which we did), this is a scenic little place, where you really want to put your feet up and take it easy! Probably our most downtime in a 5 week holiday.

The streetscape is a mixture of French provincial architecture, and there are said to have been 66 Buddhist temples in this little town! There are an abundance of monks, occupying many of the remaining temples and schools.

One of the highlights of a visit to Luang Prabang is the daily alms ceremony, where hundreds of saffron adorned monks and their novices walk along Sisavangvong Street and accept alms from the locals. Tourists can participate, but there are some behavioural requirements, which basically relate to not being too intrusive, doing anything which would undermine the religious ceremonial aspect of this process for the monks and the locals. It is also encouraged that you do NOT purchase food for offering from the opportunistic vendors selling packets of rice etc in the street.

Local Crafts

This area is famous for its textiles - and there is no disappointment when you go daily to the night market - this just sets up in the street at sunset, and the street becomes alive with hundreds of stalls, most of which sell beautifully, mostly handloomed and crafted cottons and silks, Hmong applique blankets/doona covers and hangings and Laos weavings. Other examples of this craft are available in the many stores along Sisavangvong Street.

Silversmithing is also a major craft amongst the hilltribes, and wares are available at the markets and in silver stores.

Carvings are also a traditional craft, and available in the stores, more so than the market.

Afternoon siesta time

The afternoons were very warm when we visited Luang Prabang - and the parasols came out, as well as people just finding a cool spot to chill out and limit physical activity.

This was when we discovered and continued to sample lemon shakes!

We have returned to Luang Prabang less 1 year later, and were amazed at the difference in this little town. The secret it out! What a change a year can make. The previously sleepy little town, which closed up shutters by 9.00pm is now humming. I walked onto our balcony at 10.00pm on the first night, and, along with the market still doing a roaring trade, all of the retail and travel businesses I could see were still operating!!! We found it difficult to get a table at the guesthouse restaurant, which is right beside the night market and very popular.

There is so much building and renovation/restoration happening in Luang Prabang. It was not easy to get accommodation during this trip, and it is obvious that change is afoot!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Atmosphere - atmosphere - atmosphere
  • Cons:Nothing - nothing - nothing - or maybe, having to share it!
  • In a nutshell:A place which seems lost in time - a unique blend of multiculturalism and style
  • Last visit to Luang Prabang: Mar 2007
  • Intro Updated Jun 8, 2007
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Reviews (47)

Comments (33)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Feb 7, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    great tips!

  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo
    Jan 26, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    Lovely, helpful page. Cheers, Irene

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo
    Apr 16, 2009 at 5:11 AM

    Great pages. Laos has changed a bit since the early 60s. This is another country we have to leave the bike behind to visit. Just as well, since there is too much to see while riding a scooter. thanks again.

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Mar 25, 2009 at 6:00 AM

    Great tips!

  • Robmj's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2009 at 2:17 AM

    Great page, looks like you enjoyed Laos, as we did on our recent trip

  • gaolei's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2008 at 8:28 AM

    Great page! Answers most of my questions, I am putting Luang Prabang higher up my Bucket List!

  • juliewong's Profile Photo
    Jul 23, 2008 at 7:21 AM

    Hey, the tips were of great help for my next planned trip. Was thinking whether to do laos or some other place.

  • triplehelix's Profile Photo
    Mar 5, 2008 at 1:56 PM

    thats so annoying when they nag you for money. next time i travel i'll bring a ton of monopoly money :p. i plan on visiting laos on my next trip.

  • Tijavi's Profile Photo
    Jan 25, 2008 at 10:53 AM

    Great pages...market is very interesting but I'm surprised by the absence of dogs. The naked kids enjoying the water remind me of my own childhood in the Philippines - hahaha!!!

  • magor65's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2008 at 6:07 AM

    Your Luang Prabang pages are so interesting and useful. It's just another month and I'm going to see the place by myself. I can't wait...

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