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Luang Prabang

This enchanting former royal capital lies within a particularly scenic spot: a verdant valley shaped by lush, green mountains on a bend between the mighty Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, spiritual Luang Prabang exudes peace and tranquillity. The historic old town feels like a village and its pretty streets lined with colonial houses, delightful boutiques and restaurants are a pleasure to stroll or cycle around.

From watching long lines of saffron robed monks emerging from the morning mist to collect their alms, exploring the abundant temples to relaxing with a cup of strong Lao coffee outside one of the many colonial houses; Luang Prabang cannot fail but charm even the most world weary traveller. Luckily, this laid-back town retains its charming atmosphere to this day, thanks to remaining relatively untouched by Western influence and the tourist hoards that flock to neighbouring Thailand. During a stay here, make sure to visit the vibrant food markets to mix with friendly locals and try their Gallic and Lao delicacies.

We also highly recommend you visit the impressive Wat Xieng Thong temple and the 18th century monastery Wat Mai, as well as Wat Chomsi temple for striking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. If you are after more natural wonders, take a walk through the jungle-covered terrain with the help of our guides to be met by the magnificent azure-blue Kuang Si falls. Heralded as one of the most enchanting of its kind in all of Asia with its remarkable three-tiered cascade that drops 60 metres, this is a destination in itself but it also doubles as a layered turquoise natural swimming pool in which to take a refreshing dip. Wildlife lovers will appreciate the elephant sanctuary nearby, too.

Another adventurous activity not to be missed here is a scenic boat ride up the Mekong river to the Pak Ou Caves: a sacred spot, with an estimated 4,000 Buddha statues hidden away in atmospheric limestone crevices.

A celebratory mood fills the air of sleepy Luang Prabang during a number of local festivals throughout the year: visit during Lao New Year in April, or for the renowned Festival of Lights in October to join in the merriment in all their glory.

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LAOS Luang Prabang River LAOS Luang Prabang River
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