An absolute gem: Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang, Laos
During extended travel, some places you find yourself staying another night, and then another and then maybe a few more.  Luang Prabang is one of those places.  It is certainly not an undiscovered place, as the major industry here is tourism.  We've been to some other little towns that have seemingly been scrubbed of their beauty and culture by a steady influx of tourists.Luang Prabang, Laos
It's difficult to explain, but Luang Prabang has managed to keep a soul while successfully managing tourism without becoming tacky.  There are wonderful accommodations ranging from luxury boutiques to backpacker inns.  There's amazing street food vendors all the way up to fine dining.  The natural surroundings are beautiful, the ancient culture is intact and the streets filled with french influenced buildings are lovely.Luang Prabang, Laos  Luang Prabang, Laos
Luang Prabang, Laos
Luang Prabang, LaosLuang Prabang, LaosLuang Prabang, LaosThe stores have personality and individuality (not all selling the same stuff), as well as a great night market supporting local artisans.  I'm sure it has changed a lot over the years maybe for better or worse, but from our standpoint as first time visitors, Luang Prabang is a gem.ILuang Prabang, Laos The time we spent here was completely enjoyable and relaxing.  We were not prepared to put ourselves into a food comma every night, the food options here are world-class.  We also enjoyed visiting the several cultural sights such as the temples and the museum.Luang Prabang, Laos
Luang Prabang, Laos
An amazing experience and at the same time, a low point of our visit was at sunrise.  Each morning at sunrise in Luang Prabang, a procession of Laos Buddhist Monks walk through the streets to gather food for the day.  This tradition to support the lo
cal monks is ancient.IMG_9420-Edit
This ritual is available for us tourists to see and even participate in.  It is really and amazing experience.  As beautiful as this was to witness, we also saw the ugly side of tourism.  Many of the local business have signs that give simple and gracious directions for viewing and photographing the monks at sunrise.  They encourage tourist to wake up early to see the monks procession, but they ask tourists to keep their distance and to always be lower than the monks to show respect.
Luang Prabang, Laos
Luang Prabang, Laos
We saw about an equal amount of respectful tourists and disrespectful (that's too nice, obnoxious) tourists.  We saw an entire busload of people literally walk up within inches of the monks flashing their cameras in the monks faces.  Luang Prabang, Laos
Luang Prabang, Laos
One woman even posed for a picture wrapping her arm around an unknowing monk while he was trying to get food.  As tourists ourselves, we were mortified and completely embarrassed.  Luang Prabang really is a gem, and hopefully it and tourism can grow together not at the expense of one another.Luang Prabang, Laos
Luang Prabang, Laos


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6 Responses to An absolute gem: Luang Prabang, Laos

  1. Jason says:

    Great photos, and totally agree with your comments. We were in Luang Prabang in April last year (New Year) and it was just the most magical, laid back & interesting place. Hope to go back soon, thanks for the visual reminders!

  2. Tea says:

    Beautiful! Can I ask where you stayed? Just wondered if it was any of the places in the pictures?

  3. Thanks Jason, we want to go back soon too!

  4. Unfortunately, we did not stay at the beautiful places in the photos, we had to go a little more economical. We stayed at the Riverside Guesthouse, it was simple but nice place to stay with a really friendly staff.

  5. wnittaya says:

    wonderful picture and place.

  6. Tell me more things about this, I am a big fan of your blog.