The ancient town Luang Prabang is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding cultural, historic and architectural values and its harmonious relationship between the natural and built environment. Luang Prabang remained the capital of Lane Xang until 1565 when the capital was moved to Vientiane. It remained to serve as the country’s spiritual and religious centre.
Luang Prabang was the capital of the Lan Xang Kingdom until 1545 when King Phothisarat moved the administrative seat to Vientiane. The town of Luang Prabang owes its present name to the Pha Bang, a revered Buddha image (now in the Royal Palace Museum) which was brought to the town in the early 1500s.
Luang Prabang is one of those hidden treasures. It’s hard to keep such a magical place a secret for very long.
1.Visit Wat XiengThong – “monastery of the golden city”
The Wat Xieng Thong, “monastery of the golden city”, is the religious emblem of Luang Prabang and one of the highest symbols of Buddhism in Laos which was the reason why it was spared from the plunder of 1887.\r\nIt was considered as the architectural reference of Luang Prabang with a very pointed vihan which comes down very low (more information on this subject in the article on religious architecture.)
2.Kuang Si Waterfall near Luang Prabang
Kuang Si (Xi) Waterfall is the biggest in the Luang Prabang area with three tiers leading to a 50-metre drop into spectacular azure pools before flowing downstream. Kuang Si Falls is another “must-see” attraction in Luang Prabang. The falls are truly spectacular and the biggest waterfall in Luang Prabang. You can make your own way to the waterfall by hiring a motorcycle or boat ( and then ride down the Mekong River before catching another boat for a short hop across to the falls). The pools also make great swimming holes and are very popular with both tourists and locals. You can change clothes for swimming at the wooden huts located close to the entrance.
3.Discovering Pak Ou caves – The Caves are among the most revered holy sites in Laos
One of the most respected holy sites in Lao; Pak Ou Caves have a history dating back thousands of years. Packed with over 4,000 Buddha icons, the Caves, a shrine to the river spirit and Lord Buddha, are set in a dramatic limestone cliff at the point where the Mekong joins the Nam Ou River. The two “Buddha Caves” of Tham Ting and Tham Phoum are the best known. These caves have been used for centuries as a repository for old Buddha images that can no longer be venerated on an altar, either because they are damaged to the point of disfigurement
4. Luang Prabang Night Market – One of the best markets in SeAsia
Luang Prabang night market is something not to be missed when visiting this charming city. It’s an amazing sight and offers the most extensive collection of handicrafts in the country. The night market, in the centre of town, it is located along Sisavangvong Road from the Royal Palace Museum, “opens its doors” every evening at round about 5 o’clock. Taking a leisurely walk through the night market is an enjoyable experience in itself. It is not unusual to lose track of time while you stroll amongst the stalls. In fact if you look around, you will see many tourists moving slowly, seemingly transfixed while enjoying their shopping.
5. Mount Phousi in Luang Prabang
Mount Phousi, also written Mount Phu Si, is a hill right at the centre of the old town of Luang Prabang. It is bordered on one side by the Mekong River and on the other side by the Khan River. There are two ways to go up Mount Phousi. The first is via the staircase along Phousi Road (Thanon Ratsayong), while the other is via the staircase from Sisavangvong Road (Thanon Phithosalat). When I explored Mount Phousi with some members of AsiaExplorers, we climbed up the hill from the Phousi Road side.
This incredible mountain is located in the center of town. After climbing 328 zigzag steps you will be rewarded with a perfect 360 panoramic view of the whole town. Mount Phousi is Luang Prabang’s Holy Mountain where you will find the 20 meter high Wat Chomsi stupa.
6. Elephant Riding and Trekking or Elephant Village
The Elephant Park Project Area is located about 15 km out of town and in the middle of a wonderful mountainous surrounding. Elephant Village is an elephant sanctuary and tourist destination in Luang Prabang, Laos. We are operated by caring individuals who focus on protection and rehabilitation of elephants in Laos. Easy half day trekking (about 3-4 hours) will lead you out into a local Khammu village where you get an insight in every day life and culture of this ethnic minority.
Luang Prabang is unique, remarkably well-preserved townscape illustrates a key stage in the blending of these two distinct cultural traditions.
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