Unesco-listed Luang Prabang lies on a peninsula at the confluence of the Mekong and the Nam Khan rivers. The historical centre is well-preserved, and away from the main tourist drag, this former royal capital with around 50,000 inhabitants is charming, quiet and peaceful.
The town has over 30 Buddhist temples dotted amongst French colonial architecture that remains relatively unchanged. It is a culturally rich city with a laid back, cosmopolitan community.
If you are looking for bustling, grand and amazing, then this is not the place. But if laid-back, friendly and a place free of McDonald’s is more your thing, then Luang Prabang is the place to be.
Decision to linger
After surviving the first night in a horrid guesthouse which I had booked in a hurry, I ventured out the next morning to look for a new place to stay. I soon found a very good room in a convenient location with a very decent bed, a hot water system that actually works, and even cable (yes, BBC!). I then proceeded to wander around with the aim to just get a feel of the town.
As soon as you get away from the busiest areas – which is convenient for booking tours and such things – it is lovely and quiet, especially along the river. Being the dry season, the weather is very pleasant, with cool mornings and nights, although day time temperatures do sometimes reach the 30s, but it is not humid.
I liked what I saw, and felt good. I decided it was a good place to hang out for a bit. So despite initially wanting to stay for three nights, I ended up staying for eight.