Travel Tips » LAOS - CAMBODIA » Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang is one of the most atmospheric and popular destinations in Laos.
The riverine town of Luang Prabang, once the capital of Laos and still considered to be its religious heart, breathes a rich meld of French Indochinese architecture and subtle Theravada Buddhist temples, and imparts on visitors an especially unique vibe. Luang Prabang is strikingly situated on a peninsula formed by the confluence of two rivers. Its palm-lined riverbanks, ochredaubed houses, terracotta roofs and saffron-robed monks all come together to form a picture postcard increasingly difficult to find in Southeast Asia
Somnambulant and languid, its peaceful feel masks its fascinating history of conquest and recapture, and only hints at the intricate culture and complex traditions that take place here every day.
The former royal capital, the town sits on a long thin spit of land set at the confluence of the Mekong and Khan Rivers. Littered with dozens of wats, colonial buildings and trading houses, its tree-lined banks, dotted with temple roofs and the rising peak of Mt Phousi, Luang Prabang has enchanted those who arrive by boat for centuries -- and docking by boat remains one of the best ways to arrive here.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, the town was described by the global body as "an outstanding example of the fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with those built by the European colonial authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its unique, remarkably well-preserved townscape illustrates a key stage in the blending of these two distinct cultural traditions."