Luang Prabang is a city in central Laos. Luang Prabang offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers;
- Royal Palace
- Mount Phousi (and view of the city)
- Boat ride on the Mekong River
- Sakkaline Road, the main street
- Wat Xieng Thong
- Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham
- Wat Sen
Hotels are incredibly cheap in Luang Prabang, you’ll find an amazing deal, whatever standard of hotel you are looking for.
Luang Prabang is a very small town, to get a landscape view of the town (above) there is a staircase you can take to Mount Phousi. From the top you can see how lush the area is, the Mekong river flowing through it and the unique buildings and temples. You don’t need to book accommodation in advance as there are lots of hotels and guesthouses throughout town. The main stretch of hotels and restaurants are found along Sakkaline Road but you can find them scattered all over town as tourism is the number one source of income in Luang Prabang. All the temples, museums and points of interest are within walking distance of the main street as well.
The Mekong River is the 12th longest river in the world, it starts in Tibet and runs through Yunnan, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
A must visit in Luang Prabang is the Royal Palace, which was built by the French in 1904 for the former King of Laos, Sisavang Vong. There is a statue of King Sisavang Vong in the grounds. It’s free to walk around the premises and take photos, you’ll find the stunning temple, Haw Pha Bang (above) behind the Royal Palace.
Today the Royal Palace is home to the National Museum. If you don’t want to visit the museum I’d still recommend a walk through the grounds to photograph the stunning buildings and gardens.
Luang Prabang is famous for weaving and paper handicrafts. Xangkhongposa Village (above) is one such place where you can see these being produced by the local people and buy them if you wish. The paper handicrafts are made from Saa Paper which is produced from the bark of Mulberry trees. The paper has a rough, textured finish making the finished products unique to this area. The paper handicrafts they produce range from postcards to lampshades, you’ll not see anything similar anywhere else. Even if you don’t wish to buy anything it’s interesting to see how such items are made and you can always leave a small tip to support this community.
On the Mekong river you’ll see lots of boats (above). You can hire these boats, I didn’t particularly want to go on a boat up the Mekong but out of curiosity I bargained with the sailor (in Thai) to take me on a short ride. For a 10 minute ride that I didn’t really want to go on, I paid ended up paying him around $2.
There is a regular boat service which will take you as far as Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai in Thailand. This service takes takes several days, you can find information about this service in travel agents and guest houses throughout Luang Prabang.
There is an daily overnight VIP bus between Luang Prabang and Vientiane, the capital city of Laos which is on the border with Thailand. The cost of this overnight bus service is $20, this is great value as this is not only the mode of transport to the next destination but also your hotel for the night. There’s plenty of legroom on the bus and I managed to sleep all the way to Vientiane, waking up as we arrived. The overnight journey to Vientiane takes 10 hours, arriving early morning the next day.