- Encounters with locals
- Place or Religious Monument
- Place or Historical Monument
- Unesco World Heritage
To discover the northern region of Laos, I advise you to spend several days in Luang Prabang. The city will suit both those who need a break as well as those who are looking for an ideal base to discover the surrounding area from.
Let's be clear: I immediately fell in love with this region of Laos. Pleasantly situated on the banks of the Mekong, Luang Prabang is a very pleasant stopover city that is bathed in an exceptional atmosphere that will make you want to extend your stay for a few days. I particularly took advantage of my free time to visit the temples and the many religious monuments in the city, without failing to make a visit to the beautiful cascading Kuang Si waterfall, located 30 km away.
When evening comes, don't miss the atmosphere of the night market with its many souvenir booths, shops offering succulent grilled meats, sandwiches and delicious fresh fruit cocktails.
During the Chinese New Year festivities, I would recommend you book your accommodation in advance!
For me, Luang Prabang is the jewel in the crown of Laos. As soon as I arrived, I felt a striking contrast with the rest of the country. In fact, Luang Prabang is situated on the banks of the Mekong River at 700 m altitude and thus enjoys a cool climate. Don't forget to take warmer clothes but you can forget mosquito protection!
It is easy to wander through the centre of the city, alternating visits to buildings with colonial architecture and the many temples. I particularly enjoyed the evening strolls by lantern light, which is truly enchanting.
However, I must admit that the row of western restaurants spoils the local charm a little. I found that it is well-worth crossing the bamboo bridge (only in the dry season) to reach the other side of the city because it offers a unique viewpoint to admire the work of the weavers and the rearing of silkworms. I went there on foot but it is also possible to rent a bike in the centre of the city.
When I was small, my parents' friends filled my head with stories about Luang Prabang and ever since I have dreamed about going to this emblematic place in Laos. I have to say that I was not disappointed, quite the contrary. Although Luang Prabang is a well known and frequently visited town, its charm has not been spoiled by the tourists. The temples are all magnificent, beautifully decorated and adorned with glorious sculptures, each more beautiful than the last.
At the end of the day a market sets up in the main street where you can find clothes and local crafts. On a perpendicular road to this there is another market, which specialises in food and where you will be spoilt for choice. Most of the stalls have buffets with lots of different dishes - it would be hard not to find something you want!
Luang Prabang is somewhere you must goduring your trip to Laos.
The best way to get to Laung Prabang is by boat along the River Laos. That was how I discovered this East Asian jewel during my trip to Laos. It's simply stunning. So beautiful that it was a classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Capital of Laos until 1563, its name means 'Great Sacred Gold Statue'. One thing you should know is that Luang Prabang is a culinary heaven. At the market, for under a quid, you can eat as much fried rice, noodles, tempura and curry as you like...it's the best!
Once in Luang Prabang be prepared to get up early. The Rera kicks off every morning at 5.30am. It's one of the most impressive Buddhist rituals you can see. As Buddha himself once did, young monks file down the streets begging for food. As the cortege advances, some monks wear blank expressions and the heavy silence makes this religious occasion even more remarkable. Watching all these monks in their orange robes walk barefoot down the street is a once in a lifetime spectacle. It's a shame, however, when the disrespectful clicking of tourists' cameras breaks the silence.
After you've done a day's sightseeing, I suggest you head up Mount Phousi to watch the sun set. One great discovery I made in Laung Prabang was the Red Cross sauna. It's cheap and all revenue goes towards helping a Laotian village. What's more every time you go, you're served with a delicious cup of tea. I have to admit I spent more time with a cup of tea in my hand than I did in the steam rooms.