Located about 425km from Vientiane capital to the north, and at the confluence of Mekong and Nam Khan River at an elevation of more than 300 meters above sea level, Luang Prabang is the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Laos. Luang Prabang is known as the center of Lao Buddha with the historic and religious relics built in the different dynasties and highly appropriated for its art and architecture. Visiting Luang Prabang, you will get more opportunities to approach the unique features in Lao culture in particular and Southeast Asian culture in general. Typically, the following are 5 attractive sites in Luang Prabang for those who get bored with the noisy sounds of modern cities.
1. Luang Prabang’s old town
You will have peace of mind when strolling the old streets in the ancient capital Luang Prabang. The architecture of houses here including the antique roofs, the mossy walls and the woody doors, brings the cozy and nostalgic atmosphere for the this town. Luang Prabang’s old town reminds tourists, especially Vietnamese tourists, of Hoi An Ancient Town in Quang Nam, Vietnam. Luang Prabang seems not to be same as a modern city; on the contrary, it looks like the peaceful countryside in the middle of the city with the quiet spaces without the loud noise of vehicles. There is no modern buildings in this town, so you can explore this old town by bike or on foot. It sounds fantastic, isn’t it?
2. Pak Ou Caves
A beauty spot that you can not ignore when coming to Luang Prabang is Pak Ou Cave, also known as Buddha Cave. Located near the center of Luangprabang, Pak Ou Cave is a sacred destination that always attracts many tourists each year. It takes about 2 hours from the center of Luangprabang by boat. The extremely special feature of this cave is the unique carving with more than 4000 Buddha statues dating back to 300 year ago. Thousands of Buddha statues placed inside the cave brings really great scenery in the eyes of tourists.
3. Luang Prabang’s night market
If you reach to Luang Prabang without visiting the night market, it’s supposed that you haven’t come to Luang Prabang yet. There are two main night markets here: cuisine market and souvenir market. Both markets open from 17 to 22 o’clock at night. Visiting the cuisine market, you will have chance to enjoy the attractive dishes such as papaya salad (a popular dish of Lao people), grilled chicken and grilled fish (special dishes of Luang Prabang), etc. Moreover, this is also the heaven of fruit sake and cake. It’s more interesting and surprising if you catch some counters of Vietnamese in this market. The second one is the souvenir market. This is an ideal place for you to buy gifts for your family and friends after finishing the trip. Unlike any other markets, Luang Prabang’s night market is full of traditional souvenirs of Laos including clothes, bags, brocade, lanterns; especially you can buy some silver jewelries such as ring, bracelet, ear-ring, necklace, etc. It will be great when taking away such special gifts for your beloved people.
4. Kuang Si Waterfall
Kuang Si Waterfall is about approximately 30 km from the center of Luang Prabang. This is a fascinating beauty spot that attracts a large number of tourists to Laos. With the natural blue water and the fresh air, Kuang Si is as beautiful as a picture. The main waterfall is about 60 meters high, falling down and forming the small nice lakes like the natural swimming pools in the green of nature. You can also take long walks in the forest and have a panorama of natural scenery. This destination is very suitable for people loving exploration.
5. Xieng Thong Temple
Xieng Thong Temple, also known as “Wat Xieng Thong” which means the “Temple of the Golden City”, is one of the oldest and most important temples of Luang Prabang in Laos. The temple is built in 1560 and situated at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan River. “Wat Xieng Thong” is also famous for its wonderful stories and legends of the Buddha in the pictures on the walls. Each year, on Bunpimay (Lao New Year), the dignitaries in the Lao Buddhist Temple as well as the officials come to Xiang Thong to welcome the New Year and express their beliefs with the Buddhism. If you were a Buddhist, Xieng Thong Temple would be a perfect choice.
In spite of being a small city in an area of 25 hectares with only 22,000 people, Luang Prabang is one the most important tourist destinations of Laos. Especially, in combination of the natural and magnificent beauty of the royal buildings, temples or the old towns, Luang Prabang was recognized and included in the list of world cultural heritage in 1995 by UNESSCO. Furthermore, there is also a system of other 129 tourist destinations and more than 40 old pagodas with the original architecture of Laos that pull back the soul of tourists, especially foreigners. For your journey to Laos, let’s come to Luang Prabang to have such wonderful experiences.