Located on a peninsula formed by the scenic Mekong and the Nam Khan Rivers and lying among lush green mountain ranges, Luang Prabang is the center of long-lasting culture and history of Laos. Luang Prabang is the home of cultural sites with a splendid collection of Buddhist monasteries and temples.
Especially, the fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with ones built by the European colonial authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries has made this town more special and typical. Its unique, remarkably well-preserved townscape shows a key stage in the mixture of these two distinct cultural traditions. It was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
Luang Prabang is the center of Buddhism. It was named after a statue of Buddha, the Prabang. There are many legends relating to creating the city, one of which is that Buddha smiled when he rested there during his travels, predicting that it would one day be the site of a rich and powerful city. Known as Muang Sua, then Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang became the capital of the powerful kingdom of Lane Xang from the 14th to the 16th century, its prosperousness and influence were related to its strategic location on the Silk Route. In 1893 after the French Protectorate was established, the country was divided into three independent kingdoms, Luang Prabang once again became the royal and religious capital and seat of the Kingdom of Laos. It played this role until Vientiane became the official capital in 1946.
Luang Prabang has a lot of attractive destinations, both natural and historical sites. Among the fantastic natural sites are Kuang Si Falls with great natural waterfalls where visitors can swim in the topaz pools below the falls; Tat Sae Waterfalls, is a wonderful spot for swimming, lounging and bathing; Pak Ou Caves, which contain thousands of gold lacquered Buddha images left there over hundreds of years; Phou si, which is in perfect harmony in the natural environment, stands at the heart of the historic town built on a peninsula delimited by the Mekong and the Nam Khan, has a broad views of the town and river systems and is also a suitable place to watch the sun setting over the Mekkong river. Luang Prabang also offers a great opportunity of cultural sites as Wat Xieng Thong, consists of an ensemble of the most complex structures of all the pagodas of the town; Haw Kham Royal Palace Museum, shows an large range of the royal paraphernalia from the reign of the country’s monarchs. Here, you can join in the daily morning rituals of alms-giving, in which hundreds of orange-robed monks walking through town, collecting alms from faithful residents. Beside cultural and historical heritages, visitors have another chance to take a tour around the city to enjoy the fresh air and crystal clear water, huge spectacular lush mountains, which make themselves escape from busy life to relax.
Because of the different landscapes, a variety of outdoor activities are very popular, in which mountain biking is the most common because the town lies in the center of mountainous area.