The ancient beauty of Luang Prabang has been inhabited for thousands of years and until 1975, this was the royal capital. Today, this small town’s rich architecture and cultural heritage, which earned UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1995, continues to be one of the most popular areas with tourists. Former glorious palaces, numerous temples or ‘Wats’, and beautiful waterfalls that meet the Mekong River can all be found here.
Despite its popularity with visitors, the environment has retained its authenticity and unique ambiance. At the far northern tip of this incredible town, Wat Xieng Thong (Temple of the Golden City) can be found. Low sweeping roofs, extravagantly gilded decoration, and the remarkable ‘Tree of Life’ glass mosaic are just some of this temple’s exquisite features. On the outskirts of Luang Prabang lies the Phousi market - a lively place where the locals shop daily. If you have a longing for exotic fruits, this is the place to try them.
Animal lovers need to ensure they stop at the Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre, where it is sometimes possible to assist with a scatter feed by hiding food for the bears. This wonderful sanctuary has rescued over 20 Moon Bears (also known as Asian black bears) from poachers and given them enriching enclosures where they are safely protected and have all sorts of play equipment to enjoy. Wooden paths give visitors the perfect viewing spots from a safe distance.
Another natural wonder is that of Kuang Si Falls, the largest waterfall in Luang Prabang, with three tiers culminating in a 50-metre drop. Hiking trails tailored to varying abilities allow you to get up close to marvel at this spectacular sight.