When we visited Luang Prabang two years ago we both instantly fell in love with it. It was such a breath of fresh air from the overcrowded cities we had visited in East Asia and I was overwhelmed with how untouched the landscape was. We spent three days there and although we managed to pack a lot in to our time there, nothing we done felt like a chore and we left feeling so revitalised and relaxed.
1. Mount Phousi: The highest point in the town, Mount Phousi has incredible views of the surrounding Lao wilderness. The walk to the peak is pretty strenuous, especially during the day, but entirely worth it. The path up is dotted with various Buddhist sculptures and at the top stands a temple where guests are welcome.
2. Kuang Si Falls: Excursions to the falls can be arranged at almost every hotel in the town as well as at concession stores on the Main Street. They are a must see for anyone visiting Luang Prabang. The pools of water are otherworldly shades of blue and white and the falls themselves are framed perfectly in a cluster of greenery. In front of the entrance are a few rows of market stalls selling traditional Lao cuisine and clothing.
3. Buddhist Temples: Although Luang Prabang is a town of miniscule proportions, it boasts a total of 37 Buddhist temples. The details of the temples is hard to comprehend, and each one is so ornate and unique. The Monks from the temples execute a procession around the town every morning and tourists and locals are able to watch them and donate food.
4. Morning and Night Markets: The early morning market is certainly not for the faint hearted, and is held between 4 and 6am every morning along the Main Street, while the evening markets begins at 5pm. The morning markets consist mainly of fresh food and produce, whilst the evening ones are directed more towards tourists with clothes, souvenirs and plenty of food stalls.
5. Elephant Sanctuaries: In hindsight, I wish we had visited a Sanctuary that really was a sanctuary. The more I think about how unnatural it is to ride elephants, the increasingly guilty I have felt about doing it. If I was to return to Luang Prabang I’d make sure I only visited elephants if they were free from carrying people. There are countless places to visit these magnificent creatures all around the town and excursions can be planned from most hotels.