Encircled by verdant foliage and mountains, at the confluence of two rivers in north-central Laos, Luang Prabang is the heart and pride of Lao culture. Previously the capital of the first Lao kingdom, temples, pagodas, Lao wooden houses and French colonial buildings form the backdrop of this designated UNESCO World Heritage city. A feast for the eyes, hundreds of monks donning saffron coloured robes roam about on the quiet streets. Wondrous aromas of freshly cooked food and the sweet smell of frangipani trees float through the air. Celebrating life, the local people’s distinctive culture includes traditional dancing, music, and special occasions held throughout the year. The colourful stalls at the outdoor Phosy Market held nightly offer another glimpse at indigenous culture.
Most of Luang Prabang can be explored on foot or on a bicycle. Spiritual encounters can be found at Luang Prabang’s most beautiful temple Wat Xieng Thong, Vat Visoun, Vat Phousi, and Vat Mai. A slow boat ride down the Mekong River to explore the famous Pak Ou Caves and witness local village life is highly recommended. Sense the calm antiquity in one of Southeast Asia’s most atmospheric cities.