Luang Prabang – ancient capital of Laos
Situating at the confluence of Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers, Luang Prabang offers greatness of culture, peacefuness and pristine religion. The city is a atmospheric pot of Laos and French architecture as well as culture making the city uniquely iconic gem. If you’re an adventurer at heart, the country’s lush jungles are home to miles of scenic trails, waterfalls, and underground caves. When embark on a Laos Tours, you will find it’s full of surprises, generous hospitality, spirituality and breathtaking landscape.
A visit to Luang Prabang, Laos is, in many ways, a trip back in time. Tourists are drawn here by a laid-back lifestyle that seemed to have vanished elsewhere in the region, to the place like a relaxed, riverfront town. As the country opens up, with a growing roads and bridges, the tourists’ attraction in Laos becoming more accessible.
Sometimes, it’s quite challenging to describe Luang Prabang. This is because the city is one of those places that you need to feel for yourself to understand. We most definitely expect to find a beautiful city having seen that it is mostly described as the ‘jewel of Indochina.’ Here are some favorite things to do when you eventually find yourself on vacation in the city of Luang Prabang.
A chance to participate in the Baci Ceremony in Laos
This ceremony has been practiced for centuries. Local popluarly use term “Sou Khuan” means “spirit enchanting or spirit calling.” This ceremony involves the tying of a white cotton string around a participant’s wrist and the prayer saying or well-wishing for the person that the service is organized for. This is one exciting ceremonial gathering to be a part of if you have the chance take a Laos Tour.
Mediation at a remoted temple
When you crossed the border into Laos, you will most definitely feel your pulse begin to reduce as your body relaxes into a new level of calmness. It’s still not clear as to what causes this slight sedative effect. The calming presence of the monks, the genuine smiles of the locals, the pockets of pristine nature or the towns that have a languid riverfront vibe. Virtually almost every area in Laos stay true to this vibe. But If you head north to Luang Prabang, you will find that the real magnificent Zen master.
Enjoy the colors of the Luang Prabang Night Market
The South East Asian region is a haven for night markets, and Luang Prabang has one of the most colorful and lively night markets. The market opens from 17:00 – 22:30. The various Hill – tribe traders and local vendors come out to sell their products. The goods are mainly incredible wood carvings, jeweler, lighting, clothing, handicrafts, and other attractive knick-knacks. This is the same case with other markets in the region, and bartering is usual, play hard but fair and haggle politely. The Luang Prabangnight market is such a beautiful place to photograph as the streets are alive with people and color. One thing to keep in mind is that you must be respectful and always seek permission before making a portrait.
Observe or join-in the Luang Prabang Almsgiving ceremony
Monks and Zen go hand in hand just like temples and incense. Probably the most iconic image of the city is saffron-robed barefoot monks on the daily alms collection rounds. Just before dawn, Buddhist monks walk in a single file through the city gathering sticky rice donations from the local lay people. It is a vital aspect of Laos’ culture, and it’s truly magical to witness as long as you do it right.
Contemplate Luang Prabang from Mount Phou Si
The Mount Phousi is one of the most popular spots to watch sunset in Luang Prabang. Ready to climb those stairs early enough to avoid jostle with hundreds of tourists trying to get ‘the shot’. A parachute should probably be included in your Luang Prabang Tour Package, should you miss your steps. Just 100 meters above the center of the old town, this is the location of mount Phousi (or Mount Phu Si).
The hill offers up to 360 – degrees view of the town, rivers confluence, the layers of distant mountains. The mountains also serve as a sacred religious site for Buddhists little wonder its name means ‘sacred hill’. Halfway up the mountain on the Nam Khan Side is Wat Tham Phou Si, and at the summit is Wat Chom Si, a Buddhist stupa where many go for the sunset each day.
Luang Prabang intriguing Temples
What makes this city so unique is the general feeling of mysticism that floats through the town. All thanks to the 34 effective and beautifully gilded temples in Luang Prabang. Whatever your spiritual interests maybe like, weaving your way through the quiet grounds and intricate, deep burgundy and gold of the monasteries is soothing for the soul.
Wat Xieng Thong
Wat Xieng Thong is probably one of the best-known temples in the whole town of Luang Prabang. The temple was built in the 1500s and is the perfect place for you to spark up yourself in some shade and monk – watch, soak up the serenity and contemplate Nirvana. If you are fortunate, you might stumble upon a wedding photo shoot and witness some fantastic traditional costumes.
The Royal Palace Museum
Also known as “Haw Kham”, Royal Palace is worth visiting if you are keen on the history of the nation of Laos and its Royal Lineage. The museum accommodates many historical items. It was built in 1904, featuring a blend of Laos’s traditional lifestyle. There are several buildings in the palace compound, including the Royal Barge Shelter, an ornate pavilion that accommodates the standing Buddha statue called Prabang and a conference hall. The Palace building can be visualized in three main sections: the front wing, the throne hall, and the back wing.
The Wat Visoun
This place is otherwise known as the Wat Wisunarat. It locates at the corner of monomai and phomathat roads in the same compound as the Wat Aham in Luang Prabang. Built in 1513 and Wat Visoun is of the oldest buildings in Luang Prabang. The Wat Visoun currently accommodates the largest Buddha statue in Luang Prabang, the phra Chao Ong Luang. Just outside the Wat you will be able to find the Melon Stupa. This place once contained over a hundred Buddha statues which are currently stored in the Royal Palace museum for safety.
The Wat Mai
In English Wat Mai means as ‘New Monastery’. This is one of the largest and most beautiful temples in the whole of Laos. Its central position makes Wat Mai one of the most popular temples of this ancient Royal Town. The temple was built by a king known as King Anourout at the end of the 18th century. The Vat Mai is so important to the Laotians, because after being destroyed by the Chinese, it served as a temple for the royal family.
The Pak Ou Caves
The caves are located in the north of Luang Prabang on the Mekong river and can be accessed through road or a riverboat. There are tens if not hundreds of tiny wooden Buddhist statues laid out over the wall shelves which mostly not intact. The buddha figures are in many statuses like meditating, resting in peace, reclining, preaching, etc.
An emotional visit to the elephant village Sanctuary
The country of Laos is renown as the “home for millions of elephants.” Taking a trip to Laos, you should not miss the chance to explore the elephant village sanctuary. Another names of it is the Elephant Project works towards providing a peaceful for all the rescued Laos Elephants. Some of the elephants at the temple are disabled. Therefore, they are given a home in the jungle where they can rest and recover. Those elephants also have a chance of rehabilitation with an onsite fulltime vet to assist those in dire need.
Eat the content of your heart in Buffet Street:
Luang Prabang Buffet Street, just off the main Night Market, is an exciting experience. A small laneway of market style buffet, with delicious local dishes ranging from fish, meat to vegan recipes. How it works is that you pay for the bowl, pick what you want, and then wash it down with a beer. Vacations like this is every tourist’s dream. The seating style is common; this is perfect because it allows you to meet fellow travelers over a decent meal.
Spend a Utopian Night by the river at Utopia Bar
The Luang PrabangUtopian Bar is a very tourist-centric hangout, and alcohol is probably not overly close to the original definition of ‘ZEN.’ However, once you have melted into the cushions and pillows that are scattered about on the floor and outdoor areas of this favorite bar, ordered a nice cold Beerlao, and caught up on the day’s happenings, you would see reasons why this is on the list.
Admire the Beauty of Kuang Si Waterfalls
A surprising proportion of what’s impressive about Laos revolves around water, especially as it’s a landlocked country. Sadly, the pools at Kuang Si waterfalls has to be seen to be believed. This is because Kuang Si, one of the Four Must see Waterfalls in Laos, is like swimming in the sky. Hike up to the top, before you embark on this; ensure you have the appropriate footwear on, as this is one of the primary keys to success here. Amazingly, you can stand in the waterfall, about a meter back from lip.
Also, there is a small market at the entrance to the falls, stocking food and souvenirs. Also, there is the Tat Kuang Si Bear rescue center. You will have to walk through the grounds to get up to the falls themselves.
Cooking Class in Luang Prabang
The meals in this town are so delicious that you may extend your holidays and call in sick. The most effective way to inhale the atmosphere of a place indeed is to try and prepare its delicious food. If you are going to take a cooking class in Laos, Luang Prabangis probably the best place to do it. French/Asian fusion flavors abound, and you will want to be taking some recipes home to relive food nirvana in your very own kitchen. These foods are very healthy and pack a punch of headlines in your Laos Gastronomy Journeystory. Tamarind is the best-recommended restaurant and cooking school that is located in Luang Prabang. They operate almost daily, offering daily classes and are known for quality.
Enjoy Yoga, Cycle or wander through the City
Given that you would barely find any traffic on the roads, this is the perfect place to hire a bicycle or lace up those walking shoes you have in your Luang Prabang Tour Package and spend quality time exploring the surrounds. There’s almost something to discover every French laneway. And a cycle to the hills around the town will leave you in utter amazement.
Your Laos tours would not be complete without some meditation and a little ‘om’. So let get your yoga on in some of the most beautiful spots in Luang Prabang.