The old capital of Laos is the perfect place to linger around, for a few days, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of this temple town on the Mekong.
The old Royal capital of Laos lived on as a sleepy town, dominated by a Buddhist temple culture, long after the king had been deposed by the communist Pathet Lao take-over in 1975, only to be somewhat woken up when UNESCO declared Luang Prabang a World Heritage site. The waking-up process continued as Laos gradually opened to tourism, and today Luang Prabang is firmly established as the country’s tourist capital – which is still a humble experience compared to anything else touristic in South East Asia.
If any town deserves to be called peaceful, it is Luang Prabang. One can easily spend a few days in town, wandering through temples big and small, and chatting with some of the many orange-clad monks that populate them. Highlight is the Wat Xieng Thong, a large complex with inlaid walls, frescoes and a score of larger and smaller temple buildings varying from well maintained to desperate state of disrepair. Afterwards, nothing better than whiling away the late afternoons sipping a drink, or sampling excellent Lao food, on one of the numerous terraces that line the Mekong River bank, enjoying the inevitable sunset.