Mention to friends and family that you are travelling to Luang Prabang and you will probably get one of two responses — a blank stare or a rapturous review of what is quite possibly Southeast Asia’s best kept secret.
As those who have walked the picturesque streets of this elegant enclave of French colonial architecture will tell you, you are absolutely in for something special here. The tiny laneways of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town hide innumerable treasures that would take weeks to work your way through completely.
Explore bustling markets and glittering wats, stroll beneath fragrant Frangipanis past stunning gardens festooned with orchids, and admire restored villas housing boutique guesthouses, restaurants and cafes. It all creates an atmosphere akin to a very pleasant dream.
Pick your time to visit Luang Prabang and elsewhere in northern Laos carefully. In the off season (May and June) the weather can get very hot, with high humidity. The upside is that there are less tourists around, however you may find that some activities don’t operate at this time. August brings lots of rain, while November, December and January are the coolest months to visit — with average temperatures of around 20 degrees.
This Luang Prabang city guide is packed with ideas for things to see and do. Enjoy your visit.