If travelers love Laos for its relaxed attitude, Luang Prabang is the heart. The small town flanks the spot where the Mekong and Kahn Rivers meet, and where European style cafes and restaurants are stitched into the lush river banks. As a UNESCO World Heritage site and thanks to Laos’ late arrival on the tourist scene, its period architecture is remarkably well preserved. This gives you that highly old world feeling that can’t be found in the more touristy parts of Asia. Active temples appear around every other corner and the prevalence of monks young and old accurately represent Luang Prabang’s strong Buddhist cultural presence. In addition to this, idyllic scenery is only a short ride out of town into the forested hills.
Kuang Si Waterfalls
Undoubtedly the most impressive attraction in Luang Prabang, and an essential photograph for selling the beauty of Southeast Asia, has to be the Kuang Si Waterfalls. A series of stepped, turquoise pools are back dropped by majestic waterfalls that have to be seen to be believed. Like all credible natural phenomena, the flood of fellow tourists (depending on the day of week and season) doesn’t affect visitor satisfaction that much. However, to get the most out of your experience, we advise you to go in the morning to avoid the crowds!
Although for most visitors Luang Prabang’s primary attraction is its ambiance, there are a couple of interesting sights. The Wat Xieng Thong is one of the nicest and most significant monasteries in Laos, where you’ll find a unique reclining Buddha dating back to the temple’s original construction. Another beautiful monument is the golden stupa That Chomsi sitting atop Mount Phu Si in the center of the city. A decent climb brings you to the top where you’re rewarded with a wonderful view of the surrounding area, a favorite at sunset.
Pak Ou Caves
Twenty five miles north of town overlooking the Mekong River are the Pak Ou caves. Inside the two tiered caves (Tham Ting below and the Tham Theung above) are many Buddhist sculptures, and this unique site is rich with the ancient mystique so characteristic of the country and a sure hit if you like your photography.
Luang Prabang is a common favorite by many touring Laos, demonstrating what travelers cherish about the country. The environment is beautiful, which you can experience through engaging activities and well preserved culture, a fine balance that is hard to find in Southeast Asia today. If you’re drawn to the country’s charm, then Luang Prabang won’t disappoint.