Sunday, 30 June 2013

Luang Prabang - a real Asian gem

Luang Prabang is one of the most beautiful places in South East Asia. Surrounded by mountains and two rivers, Mekong and Tam Khan, it has spectacular views and lots of trekking routes to explore.
The whole town is the UNESCO Heritage site, which itself is an extraordinary fact.
To me the houses of Luang Prabang were the biggest attraction and I just couldn't stop and admire them every few steps.

The main street of the town is charming. It is lined up with shops, bars and restaurants all in a colonial style, similar to each other, without neon signs and all marked with just wooden name boards.

One of the houses in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang was just what I expected from an Asian town: small, quiet roads, with motorcycles passing through, palm trees lining the pavements, monks walking by, and a feel of relaxation and calmness.

A quiet side street in town
There are plenty of temples around the town and it is only enough to turn in one of the small streets to find yourself in one of the golden worship places.

A temple in Luang Prabang
One of the biggest temples is the Wat Xieng Thong, which was built in 1560. It is a classic Luang Prabang architecture with roofs sweeping low to the ground. Next to it stands the royal funeral chapel, where 12 meters high funeral chariot is located. The entrance costs 20,000 Kip.

Royal Funeral Chapel
Another attraction of the town is the Royal Palace Museum. It was constructed in 1904 for King Sisavanag and his family. The building in itself is not very interesting, but the museum holds various religious objects, some Buddhist sculptures and historical artifacts. There is also the Royal Car Collection, which was closed during my visit. The entry is $2, you need to take your shoes off and leave your possessions with the security. No photography is permitted.

The temple, next to the Royal Museum
During the night the main street in Luang Prabang transforms into a night market. There is everything one might need: clothing, jewellery, souvenirs, and food, food, food...

Crazy about the Asian food

Oh, how I miss all these

Enjoying the food in a very posh surroundings

Not sure about the freshness of the product here...
Make your way to the Nam Khan River side and enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. There are a couple of bars along the road, where you can enjoy the Beer Lao or a light meal in a very romantic surroundings.

A bar overviewing the river

Mekong River

More photos from Luang Prabang:

A small shrine, next to a temple

Sleepy cat

Luang Prabang by night

Main street

A very exotic view - the main street in Luang Prabang

Street seller 

About Luang Prabang:

-It is the capital of the Luang Prabang province
-There are over 50,000 people living in the town
-You can get there by taking a bus or a mini van from Vientiane, or fly from Bangkok to the Luang Prabang International Airport
-There are plenty of hostels and hotels around the town. I paid around 100,000 K for a double room, with bathroom and air con
-The town is also famous for the morning alms, when orange robed monks line the streets and collect food from the locals. The sad fact is that tourists almost fight over the best spots to view the alms, pushing through the locals and showing a general lack of respect. That was the reason of why I didn't go to see it. I preferred to witness it in a quiet town in Burma.

Have you been to Luang Prabang? Are you going to visit the town? Don't be shy! Leave a comment!


  1. It is on our to do list for our trip in Asia next year. Dont wanna miss it!

    1. It is a very beautiful place. Spend a few days there and don't rush.

  2. Jo, it’s so amazing to me to see buildings (albeit I have to do it vicariously through pictures until I finally get to go explore for myself) that were built hundreds of years ago. I don't know if it was your intention but that Crazy about Asian food was wicked cool. And I'm glad you put up that pic and subtitle about your concern with the freshness of product :)

    1. that 'crazy about Asian food' photo I took by mistake - well, I thought I had the camera set up and when I pressed the release button I accidently turned the lens and the photo turned out to look quite cool.
      Yes, some of the meat there just lies on tables and they have special fans to get rid of the flies. The stench is unbearable sometimes.