Luang Prabang Travel Essentials


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Ideal duration: 3 days

Best Time: November to March Read More

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"Luang Prabang: Let's just relax"

Luang Prabang Tourism

Laos is a country where you will not see anything Western or ultra modern. There are no McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Huts or Starbucks Coffee there. Luang Prabang is a wonderful patchwork of traditional Lao wooden houses and hints of European architecture. It is a city in north central Laos, consisting of 58 adjacent villages, of which 33 comprise the UNESCO Town Of Luang Prabang World Heritage Site.

¾Luang Prabang's World Heritage-endorsed old city certainly lives up to its name. Positioned at the confluence of the •mightyê Mekong and the unassuming Nam Khan, the city forms a peninsula in the midst of Laosê paddy-filled landscape, where a relaxing river-view is never far away. Home to a unique marriage of French colonial and Indo-chinese architectural styles, itês easy to see why the main centre had World Heritage status. Every visitor should start one day off by giving alms to the local monks. There are so many monks in Luang Prabang - more than 1,200 live here (ten percent of the cityês population) - that sometimes the whole city can seem like a monastery. A number of colonial mansions here have been converted into hotels and restaurants. In the night Market, one can find a lovely selection of handmade textiles made by the local and hilltribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.

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Currency in Luang Prabang

Major credit cards are accepted in hotels and larger establishments. No other currency is accepted in Laos other than Kip. Most currencies and traveler's cheques are easy to cash, and Thai Baht and Euros can be used, but the recommended currency is the US dollar.

Shopping in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is not noted for its nightlife, but it does have a huge nightmarket which takes over a large area of the town every evening. Luang Prabang trades in handicrafts, art, textiles and jewellery. It begins near the post office and stretches down the main street and into some side streets. There are food and drink stalls as well as lots of handicraft stalls. Among other things we saw colourful sarongs, bags, T-shirts, silver jewellery, some interesting lamps, paintings, bottles of spirits with snakes and other creatures inside.

Nightlife in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is not a nightlife destination. The majority of locals go to bed by 10 and wake up by 6. Staggering home after a heavy night out, while all is peaceful and quiet is not such a great idea. Lao Lao garden is one of the best bars in city. The livelier nightlife in Luang Prabang seems to centre around a small area in Ban Aphay on Rathsavong Road. Like Lao Lao Garden and Ban Pa Garden, on the same strip, it offers a range of two for one, happy hour and cocktail deals. The music also tends to be marginally less raucous and dance orientated than Lao Lao Garden.

History of Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang came into notice as the capital of first Lao kingdom from 1353 onwards. The fragmentation of the Lao kingdom at the end of the 16th century saw Luang Prabang become a militarily weak independent city state paying tribute to the surrounding kingdoms. Ultimately the 1887 sacking of the city by the Chinese Haw led the Luang Prabang monarchy to accept the protection of the French, whose influence led to the construction of the many fine colonial villas that sit harmoniously alongside the traditional Lao architecture. Luang Prabang remained the royal capital until 1975, when the Pathet Lao communist forces seized power with North Vietnamese support and dissolved the ancient monarchy.

Luang Prabang Customs

When in public places around Laos, please show full respect. Especially when you go drinking and so on. Well, there are not much party places in Vientiane so do not expect a Bangkok night strip. More so in Luang Prabang, there are no discos or clubs, only restaurants and cafes that serve beer and liquor. Do not shout in Luang Prabang as it is a land of calm and patience and shattering the piece will do you no favours. Luang Prabang has a lot of temples (Stupas) and places of worship so when you visit these places, please follow the basic rules. It is better for the ladies to stay away from the monks or atleast not touch them, because then he will have to spend days ritually cleansing the disgrace away. Lao authorities are very strict with drugs. So, you should know better as you would not want to be sentenced into a Lao prison. When in Luang Prabang, every morning there is the alms giving which goes on in town area. Observe this ritual in silence, and contribute an offering only if it is meanigful for you and you can do so respectfully. Do not photograph the monks too closely and do not flash them.

Religion of Luang Prabang

Buddhism is the main religion that is followed in Luang Prabang thatis followed by 40-50% of the total population whereas the remainder of the population belongs to at least 48 distinct ethnic minority groups. Most of these ethnic groups (30%) are practitioners of Satsana Phi .

Daily Budget for Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang offers more facilities and is very cheap as compared to other cities. Backpacking budget travel would cost around LAK 1,50,000 whereas luxury travel would cost around LAK 3,00,000. Drinks are so cheap that one may want to buy beer only rather than water.

Exchanging Money in Luang Prabang

Only a few ATM machines are available in town. There are no International ATM's in Luang Prabang, there is a bank where you can change money, do travellers cheques etc.

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How to Reach Luang Prabang

How to Reach Overview

Luang Prabang can be accesed by Road, Waterways and by air.

How to reach Luang Prabang by flight

Luang Prabang is served by Lao Airlines, Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways and PB Air, with regular services to Vientiane, Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

How to reach Luang Prabang by road

Taxis and mini buses can be hired through guesthouses, hotels and tour operators. Tourists are not permitted to rent motorcycles.

How to reach Luang Prabang by train

There are no trains in Laos.

How to reach Luang Prabang by bus

There are two major bus depots in Luang Prabang, southern and northern bus station. Buses are available to Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Xieng Khouang and Luang Namtha.Tuk-tuks, trishaws (lot-sam-lor) and jumbos (small tuk-tuks) are available all over town and are an easy way to get around.

How to reach Luang Prabang by waterways

Boats are easily available from nearby places such as to Houay Xai (16 hours), Pakbeng (8 hours), Thasouang (8 hours), Meuang Khuea (7 hours), Nong Khiaw (7 hours), Thadeu (5 hours) and Paklay (24 hours).

Local transport in Luang Prabang

Transportation in Luang Prabang offers many alternatives. The inner city of Luang Prabang is easy enough to walk on foot and that is almost preferred due to the fact that there is one way traffic on both the roads by the river and many other sideroads. To walk from the beginning of the night market to the tip of the peninsula takes about 15 minutes if you go by the mainroad of Luang Prabang. Transportation by motorbike in Luang Prabang and outside is a great way to explore the region further. Driving to the waterfalls or caves is an adventure in itself but be very careful not to go to fast, always wear a helmet and be wary of the sharp turns and unexpected traffic. Luang Prabang transportation by tuk tuk is another alternative that can take you shorter or longer distances. If you hire a tuk tuk to go somewhere far, you negotiate a price for both ways.

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Luang Prabang, Laos

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FAQs on Luang Prabang

What is the best time to visit Luang prabang?

Despite having two distinct weather seasons you can travel in Laos all-year-round and with no coastline to influence things. Laos enjoys a warm, tropical climate year-round. The cooler, drier months of the year are from November to March; however, temperatures rarely drop below 22çC (72çF) during the day. Humidity is highest between May and September, when sunbursts follow tropical downpours and temperatures can climb to 35çC (95çF).
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What are the places near Luang prabang?

The top places near to Luang prabang are Vientiane which is 218 km from Luang prabang, Phonsavan which is located 120 km from Luang prabang, Huay xai which is located 179 km from Luang prabang, Luang namtha which is located 167 km from Luang prabang, Sapa which is located 325 km from Luang prabang

What are the things to do in Luang prabang?

The top things to do in Luang prabang are Mount Phousi, Palace museum, Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Mai, The elephant village, Kuang Si falls. You can see all the places to visit in Luang prabang here

What is the best way to reach Luang prabang?

Luang Prabang can be accesed by Road, Waterways and by air.
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What is the local food in Luang prabang?

Laos has a lot of food options more than it's diversified architecture. Khao Niaw (The sticky rice is a traditional Laos food, which is rolled by hand into small pieces. It is often contained in a small woven basket. You can enjoy the sticky rice with other food and sauces.). Khao Jee (A typical Laos food, which can be found on every street corner in Luang Prabang. You can fill it with tomatoes, carrot, cheese, and pork meat topped with chili sauce. Further choices can be chicken, avocado and bacon). Or lam (This food originates from the northern of Luang Prabang. It is a stew mainly made from vegetables, eggplants, beans, black mushrooms and gourds).
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