"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: 1,014 reviews and 2,540 photos
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.
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.
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: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
The day and night markets are both attended by either family or village groups - with people of all ages, from the money... more travel advice
This food is incredibly taste, cheap and always very fresh. Cooked just before you eat it - and never any leftovers.... more travel advice
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