Luang Prabang, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, sits at 700 metres above sea level at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers. Being Laos' premier tourist destination and arguably Southeast Asia's most beautiful heritage town, Luang Prabang's entire historical section is dedicated to tourism, with everything from former royal palaces to over 33 Vats (temples), quaint shop-houses and sidewalk cafés. This former Royal capital still remains the main centre for Buddhist learning in Laos and is the perfect location for spiritual contemplation.
Cascading waterfalls, scaling peaks and the milky-brown waters of the Mekong River provide ample opportunity to explore Luang Prabang. This small and peaceful town is one of the few places where you can allow yourself to wind down completely and just go with the flow.
Luang Prabang is fairly compact and best explored on foot or bicycle, unless you want to get out of the heritage area and discover other off-the-beaten-path attractions. Most five-star hotels may offer scheduled shuttle service to/from the old city.
Otherwise, your option is limited to tuk-tuks (motorised three-wheelers, also called Jumbos), which can easily be flagged down. Whether just going from one place to another or chartering for an entire day, these tuk-tuks come in very handy. Always negotiate a price before getting in.
For crossing the river, you will need to charter a long-tail boat. To get to Pak Ou or Ting Cave, hire a boat in front of Vat Xieng Thong. Boats that go to Xieng Maen are in front of Vat Phon Xai (west of town centre). To get to Vang Vieng, charter a Jumbo and get to the Southern Bus Terminal.
Luang Prabang International Airport is about 4km north of the old city. To get to town, you have three options (in case your hotel doesn’t offer free transfer service). Taxi and hotel shuttle service are both convenient but relatively expensive.
The hotel shuttle service may cost up to US$7 per person per trip, while the taxi is usually about US$7 per trip. You can locate a taxi stand right outside the arrival hall, while hotel shuttle is available on a pre-arranged basis. The cheapest option is a Jumbo tuk-tuk, which waits for passengers outside the airport gate. There’s no bus service to the old city.
|Important Phone Numbers|
|Tourist Police||252 903|
|Lao Airlines||212 172|
|Bangkok Airways||253 334|
|Southern Bus Station (to Vang Vieng, Pakse, Vientiane)||252 066|
|Provincial Hospital||252 049|
|Lao China Friendship Hospital||254 026|
|Luang Prabang Airport||212 173|
|Tourist Information||212 489|