North of Laos, Luang Prabang is one of the most mystical cities we can find in the region. It was the capital of the Million Elephant Kingdom until 1545 and there is no doubt that you will fall in love with its beauty but also with its tranquility. You will be in love with everything you see!
Luang Prabang: monks, temples and saffron
The ancient capital of Laos is surrounded by green mountains and lush vegetation. Therefore the ambient humidity is felt at all times of the day.
Luang Prabang has been an important point in the area for centuries, being halfway between Vientiane and China. Thus its road is well maintained and transport services are quite reliable for being in Southeast Asia. However, it is recommended to travel by bicycle or on foot now, which is small and so you can enjoy all its attractions.Temple in Luang Prabang - Anton_Ivanov
The historic center is declared a World Heritage Site. Trucks and buses are prohibited there. But be careful with motorcycles! They are many and can pass at great speed near you.
A very quiet old town in which it is very easy to locate, almost all the streets are parallel to the Mekong River. Most of the attractions, hotels and restaurants are located close to each other, that is, between the river and the sacred Phousi mountain.
Let's see some interesting facts now. The city of Luang Prabang has more than 50 temples and is located 700 meters above sea level. Its nearly 80 thousand inhabitants are divided into twelve different ethnicities and the city has a great French influence that can be observed not only in architecture but also in stores, which offer baguettes and other delicatessen.
What to do in Luang Prabang?
It doesn't matter how many days you stay in this beautiful city, where at 23.30 all shops close and remain completely silent... But there are activities you can not miss!
Alms Delivery CeremonyAlms Delivery Ceremony - Elena Ermakova
It takes place every day. Considering that before midnight you will be back at the hotel and that you will sleep like an angel for the quiet environment, it will not cost you anything to get up early to witness and participate in this ceremony.
Basically at 5.30 in the morning you will see the monks walking the streets always in a row and in silence, collecting alms that gives people, residents and tourists. The "parade" takes place throughout the city, so you can buy some rice and place yourself in a remote street where there are not so many tourists.
Charity is a virtue of the heart, not of the hands.
- Thomas Alva Edison -
Royal PalaceLuang Prabang Royal Palace - lkunl
Even if you are not very fond of going to museums or castles, this house, which belonged to the Laotian monarchy, is nothing like what you may have seen in your life. The throne room has its walls completely covered by colored crystals that form various figures (vegetables, animals and people) to represent everyday life.
It is the only “ostentatious” place, to call it somehow, since the rooms, however, are too simple for a monarch.
Temples and more templesTemple in Luang Prabang - Em7
There are all sizes and wingspan ... and worth going through. Everyone? Well, at least a large part of them. They are very close to each other, so you will have no problem.
You can see Buddha statues in different materials and postures and also learn about the daily chores of the monks. In the local temple language it is said "Wat" and the most popular are: Aham, Ho Pha Bang, Pathum, Mai Suwannaphumahan (almost impossible to say) and Manolon.
Night marketMarket in Luang Prabang - itman__47
Unlike what happens in other fairs in Southeast Asia, nobody here will urge or follow you to buy them an item. Sellers exhibit their products on the floor and sit next to each other, waiting for tourists and locals to consult a price or want to acquire from souvenirs to vegetables, going through clothes to ... Toads!
If you dare you can haggle the value of the merchandise while you rest a little of so many corridors and red roofs.
If you have more time you can explore the surroundings of Luang Prabang, such as the Pak Ou caves, the Tat Kuang Si waterfall and the Phu Si hill. You will not want to return to the routine!