Louangphabang or Luang Phabang is a city in north central Laos, consisting of 58 adjacent villages, of which 33 comprise the UNESCO Town Of Luang Prabang World Heritage Site
It was listed in 1995 for unique and "remarkably" well preserved architectural, religious and cultural heritage, a blend of the rural and urban developments over several centuries, including the French colonial influences during the 19th and 20th centuries. The center of the designated unesco town consists of 4 main roads and is located on a peninsula at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong River. The town is well known for its numerous Buddhist temples and monasteries. Every morning, hundreds of monks from the various monasteries walk through the streets collecting alms. One of the major landmarks in the city is mount Phou si; a large steep hill which despite the constrained scale of the city, is 150 metres (490 ft) high; a steep staircase leads to Wat Chom Si shrine and an overlook of the city and the rivers.
The town was formerly the capital of a kingdom of the same name. It had also been known by the ancient name of Chiang Thong. It was the royal capital and seat of government of the Kingdom of Laos, until the communist takeover in 1975. The city is part of Luang Prabang District of Luang Prabang Province and is the capital and administrative center of the province. It lies approximately 300 km (190 mi) north of the capital Vientiane. Currently, the population of the city as a whole is roughly 60,000 inhabitants with the UNESCO protected site being inhabited by around 30,000.
Luang Prabang has both natural and historical sites. Among the natural tourism sites are the Kuang Si Falls, Tat Sae Waterfalls, and Pak Ou Caves. Elephant riding is offered at some sites. Phou Si, in the center of the town, has broad views of the town and river systems, and is a popular place to watch the sun setting over the Mekong River
Luang Prabang features a tropical wet and dry climate
While the city is generally very warm throughout the year, it is noticeably cooler during December and January.
Luang Prabang is served by Luang Prabang International Airport with non-stop flights to adjoining countries.
The Mekong River itself is also an important transportation link. At Chiang Khong it is possible to hire a barge to cross the river. A trip from Huay Xai, across from Thailand, downstream to Luang Prabang takes two days by slow boat, typically with a stop at Pakbeng.
If coming from Vietnam, sleeper buses can be caught from Hanoi to either Luang Prabang or Vang Vieng.
What to see??
- Luang Prabang Range
- Big Brother Mouse
- Phra Bang
- Xieng Keo
- Pak Ou Caves
- Emerald Buddha
- Phou si