Let me start by saying that Hilcia and I have never visited a city anywhere in our travels quite like Luang Prabang. It is a city, small as it may be, that is deeply in touch with Laotian roots, a city that is vibrant and so alive, and one that embraces, respects and reveres nature.
Luang Prabang lies along the Mekong River and was the royal capital of Laos until the mid 1970’s. There is a deep and complex history here that has shaped the people and the city itself, and I am guessing, ultimately as the world changes and modernizes further, especially South Asia, there will be big differences in the future of places like this. Luckily, Luang Prabang is classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site and has found some protection from the dangers of moving too quickly into that modernization. So, for now, in the city and among the outskirts you will find beautiful ancient temples, pristine waterfalls, a butterfly zoo, and multiple elephant sanctuaries, among so many other fantastic sites. All of these, we will share with you later, for this article, we’ll get more into depth about the city.
In the city itself, there are an abundance of food stalls or wonderful sit-down restaurants serving up deliciousness at all levels. There are small boutique shops, open markets and great architecture everywhere, and just steps away from all this lies the mighty Mekong River. That’s just a quick synopsis of what can be found within the city itself.
Now, let’s get back to the food! Until I had visited Luang Prabang, I had actually never tried Laotian food. But, I must say, it has now become one of my favorites among South Asian cuisines. A fantastic influence of many cultures through years of migration, location and rule, there are Cambodian, Thai and French influences in every dish. There’s fish, chicken, buffalo meat and all other types of meats, veggies and more. Mix it all up with lemon grass, galangal and a ton of other spices, herbs and sauces and…my mouth starts watering as I write.
When you’re finally done eating, walk your meal off with a stroll down one of the main streets, there’s really only four. Walk along Sakkaline Road, browse the wonderul little boutiques and shops, take in the tuk-tuks and architecture. Make your way through the town and find one of the beautiful temples along the way. Step inside Wat Xiengthong…absorb the colors, smell the incense, take in the serenity. If you really want to participate in the livelihood of Luang Prabang and support the city and culture, you can even support the education of a young monk for only about $100 USD for a year.
By the time you reach the end of the Road, you’ll be at Riverview Park. Stop for a coffee or local drink and look out at the Nam Khan River as it meets the amazing Mekong…you won’t be disappointed.
We cannot recommend a visit to this incredible place enough! It’s a place that most travelers have never truly thought about visiting, but really quaint, magical and mesmerizing. So book your trip today and help fantastic cultures like Luang Prabang not just survive, but truly thrive. We need more places like this in this world!
Find out more about Luang Prabang here:
Official Laos Tourism Site
Sponsor and Support Monks
Protect Laotian Elephants
Unfortunately, we did not see more of Laos at the time. We definitely plan on revisiting soon though!
We loved Luang Prabang! A really awesome little city that we keep encouraging others to visit. Did you see more of Laos? What did you think of it as a whole?
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