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By the way, we would recommend you to combine your visit to Luang Prabang with other popular and interesting places of Laos, for example: Vang Vieng, Vientiane, etc.
How to Book a Hotel in Luang Prabang
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Hotels of Luang Prabang
A hotel in Luang Prabang is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Luang Prabang hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Luang Prabang are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Luang Prabang hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Luang Prabang hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Luang Prabang have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:
Upscale luxury hotels in Luang Prabang
An upscale full service hotel facility in Luang Prabang that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Luang Prabang hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.
Full service hotels in Luang Prabang
Full service Luang Prabang hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.
Historic inns and boutique hotels in Luang Prabang
Boutique hotels of Luang Prabang are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Luang Prabang boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Luang Prabang may be classified as luxury hotels.
Focused or select service hotels in Luang Prabang
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Luang Prabang travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Luang Prabang focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.
Economy and limited service hotels in Luang Prabang
Small to medium-sized Luang Prabang hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Luang Prabang traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Luang Prabang hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.
Guest houses and B&Bs in Luang Prabang
A bed and breakfast in Luang Prabang is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Luang Prabang bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Luang Prabang B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.
Hostels in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Luang Prabang hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.
Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Luang Prabang
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Luang Prabang hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Luang Prabang lack an on-site restaurant.
Timeshare and destination clubs in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Luang Prabang often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Luang Prabang on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.
Motels in Luang Prabang
A Luang Prabang motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Luang Prabang for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Luang Prabang motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.
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Louangphabang (Lao: ຫລວງພະບາງ) or Luang Phabang (pronounced [lǔaŋ pʰa.bàːŋ]), commonly transliterated into Western languages from pre 1975 Lao spelling ຫຼວງພຣະບາງ (ຣ = silent r) as Luang Prabang, literally meaning: "Royal Buddha Image", is a city in north central Laos, consisting of 58 adjacent villages, of which 33 comprise the UNESCO Town Of Luang Prabang World Heritage Site. It was listed in 1995 for unique and "remarkably" well preserved architectural, religious and cultural heritage, a blend of the rural and urban developments over several centuries, including the French colonial influences during the 19th and 20th centuries.
The centre of the city consists of four main roads and is located on a peninsula at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong River. Luang Prabang is well known for its numerous Buddhist temples and monasteries. Every morning, hundreds of monks from the various monasteries walk through the streets collecting alms. One of the city's major landmarks is Mount Phou Si; a large steep hill which despite the constrained scale of the city, is 150 metres (490 ft) high; a steep staircase leads to Wat Chom Si shrine and an overlook of the city and the rivers.
The city was formerly the capital of a kingdom of the same name. It had also been known by the ancient name of Chiang Thong. It was the royal capital and seat of government of the Kingdom of Laos, until the communist takeover in 1975. The city is part of Luang Prabang District of Luang Prabang Province and is the capital and administrative centre of the province. It lies approximately 300 km (190 mi) north of the capital Vientiane. Currently, the population of the city as a whole is roughly 56,000 inhabitants with the UNESCO protected site being inhabited by around 24,000.
Luang Prabang: History
Muang Sua was the old name of Luang Prabang following its conquest in 698 CE by a Tai prince, Khun Lo. Khun Lo had been awarded the town by his father, Khun Borom, who is associated with the Lao legend of the creation of the world, which the Lao share with the Shan and other peoples of the region. Khun Lo established a dynasty whose fifteen rulers reigned over an independent Muang Sua for nearly a century.
In the second half of the 8th century, Nan-chao intervened frequently in the affairs of the principalities of the middle Mekong Valley, resulting in the occupation of Muang Sua in 709. Nan-chao princes or administrators replaced the aristocracy of Tai overlords. Dates of the occupation are not known, but it probably ended well before the northward expansion of the Khmer empire under Indravarman I (r. 877–89) and extended as far as the territories of Sipsong Panna on the upper Mekong.
In the meantime, the Khmers founded an outpost at Xay Fong near Vientiane, and Champa expanded again in southern Laos, maintaining its presence on the banks of the Mekong until 1070. Chanthaphanit, the local ruler of Xay Fong, moved north to Muang Sua and was accepted peacefully as ruler after the departure of the Nan-chao administrators. Chanthaphanit and his son had long reigns, during which the town became known by the Tai name Xieng Dong Xieng Thong.
The dynasty eventually became involved in the squabbles of a number of principalities. Khun Chuang, a warlike ruler who may have been a Kammu (alternate spellings include Khamu and Khmu) tribesman, extended his territory as a result of the warring of these principalities and ruled from 1128 to 1170. Khun Chuang, a single family ruled over a far-flung territory and reinstituted the Siamese administrative system of the 7th century. At some point, Theravada Buddhism was subsumed by Mahayana Buddhism.
The Phra Bang Buddha, palladium of Lan Xang and namesake of Luang Prabang, Laos. The Phra Bang is regarded as the most sacred and culturally significant Buddha image in Laos. The image is Khmer in origin and cast using an alloy of bronze, gold and silver.
Xieng Dong Xieng Thong experienced a brief period of Khmer suzerainty under Jayavarman VII from 1185 to 1191. By 1180 the Sipsong Panna had regained their independence from the Khmers, however, and in 1238 an internal uprising in the Khmer outpost of Sukhothai expelled the Khmer overlords. Xieng Dong Xieng Thong in 1353 became the capital of the Lan Xang kingdom. In 1359 the Khmer king from Angkor gave the Phra Bang to his son-in-law, the first Lang Xang monarch Fa Ngum (1353-1373); to provide Buddhist legitimacy both to Fa Ngum's rule and by extension to the sovereignty of Laos and was used to spread Theravada Buddhism in the new kingdom. The capital name was changed to Luangphabang, where it was kept, named after the Buddha image. The capital was moved in 1560 by King Setthathirath I to Vientiane, which remains the capital today.
Market in Luang Prabang pre-1901
In 1707, Lan Xang fell apart because of a dynastic struggle and Luang Prabang became the capital of the independent Kingdom of Luang Phrabang. When France annexed Laos, the French recognised Luang Prabang as the royal residence of Laos. Eventually, the ruler of Luang Prabang became synonymous with the figurehead of Laos. When Laos achieved independence, the king of Luang Prabang, Sisavang Vong, became the head of state of the Kingdom of Laos.
Luang Prabang: World War II
Statue of Sisavang Vong, King of Luang Phrabang 1904–46, King of Laos 1946–59
The town was the scene of many events during and in the aftermath of World War II and it was occupied by several foreign countries during the war (Vichy France, Thailand, Imperial Japan, Free France, and Nationalist China). Initially the Vichy French controlled the city but lost it to Thai forces following the Franco-Thai War of 1940–1941. On 9 March 1945, a nationalist group declared Laos once more independent, with Luang Prabang as its capital but on 7 April 1945 two battalions of Japanese troops occupied the city. The Japanese attempted to force Sisavang Vong (the King of Luang Phrabang) to declare Laotian independence but on 8 April he instead simply declared an end to Laos' status as a French protectorate. The King then secretly sent Prince Kindavong to represent Laos to the Allied forces and Sisavang Vatthana as representative to the Japanese. Following Japan's surrender to the Allies, Free French forces were sent to reoccupy Laos and entered Luang Prabang on 25 August, at which time the King assured the French that Laos remained a French colonial protectorate. In September the Chinese Nationalist forces arrived to receive the surrender of the remaining Japanese forces but also quickly set about buying up the Laotian opium crop.
Luang Prabang: Laotian Civil War era
Damage caused by a communist ground attack on Luang Prabang airfield, 1967
In April and May 1946 the French attempted to recapture Laos by using paratroops to retake Vientiane and Luang Prabang and drive Phetsarath and the Lao Issara ministers out of Laos and into Thailand and Vietnam. During the First Indochina War the Viet Minh and Pathet Lao forces attempted to capture the city several times in 1953 and 1954 but were stopped before they could reach it by French forces. During the Laotian Civil War of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, a secret American airbase was located at Luang Prabang and it was the scene of fighting. Luang Prabang remained the royal capital until 1975, when the Pathet Lao communist forces seized power with North Vietnamese support and dissolved the ancient monarchy.
Luang Prabang: Monarchs of Luang Prabang
Buddhist Temple at Haw Kham (Royal Palace) complex
Khun Lo, warlord who founded the city
Fa Ngum, prince of Luang Prabang who founded Lan Xang
Oun Kham, king who ruled under the French
Kham Souk (Zakarine), king who ruled under the French and who pushed for independence
Sisavang Vong, king under the French, and who, when France granted Laos independence, became king of the whole country
Luang Prabang: Tourism
Kuang Si waterfalls, near Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang has both natural and historical sites. Among the natural tourism sites are the Kuang Si Falls, Tat Sae Waterfalls, and Pak Ou Caves. Elephant riding is offered at some sites. Phou Si, in the center of the town, has broad views of the town and river systems, and is a popular place to watch the sun setting over the Mekong River. At the end of the main street of Luang Prabang is a night market where stalls sell shirts, bracelets, and other souvenirs. The Haw Kham Royal Palace Museum and the Wat Xieng Thong temple are among the best known historical sites. The town, particularly the main street, is dotted with many smaller wats such as Wat Hosian Voravihane. Every morning at sunrise, monks walk in a procession through the streets accepting alms offered by local residents, an event popular with tourists but subject to some controversy surrounding tourist etiquette. Mountain biking is quite common, with people often biking around the town or to the waterfalls for the day. Down the Mekong River, a 15-minute boat ride from the city centre, Ban Chan (the pottery village ) is an interesting place. Luang Prabang received 'Best City' in the Wanderlust Travel Awards 2015.
Luang Prabang: Gastronomy
O-lam, the most popular dish in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang has a rich artistic and culinary history and the city's cooks were hired by the king. Typical local dishes include: O-lam (Or lam, the favourite dish of Luang Prabang locals), Luang Prabang sausage, mokpa (steamed fish), Mekong River moss (served fried) with its chilli sauce (cheo bong).
Luang Prabang: Transportation
New terminal, Luang Prabang International Airport, Apr 2014
Luang Prabang is served by Luang Prabang International Airport with non-stop flights to adjoining countries.
Luang Prabang is linked by Route 13 with Vang Vieng and Vientiane, and by Route 1 with Muang Xay. Route 13 also connects the city to Cambodia.
The road from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang is poorly maintained, remote, unlit, unmarked and dangerous for the unfamiliar, particularly in the wet season. Buses regularly travel the route in 14–16 hours.
Route 13 from Vientiane, passing Vang Vieng, to Luang Prabang is paved, though the surface is in poor condition at places. It is also relatively narrow, with sharp curves. There are no markings or lighting on the road. Since 2014, a new road connects Kasi (close to Vang Vieng) to Luang Prabang, allowing the trip to be made in about 3 hours (compared to 5 hours via Route 13). Several daily buses run from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, taking 11–13 hours.
The Mekong River itself is also an important transportation link. At Chiang Khong it is possible to hire a barge to cross the river. A trip from Huay Xai, across from Thailand, downstream to Luang Prabang takes two days by slow boat, typically with a stop at Pakbeng.
If coming from Vietnam, sleeper buses can be caught from Hanoi to either Luang Prabang or Vang Vieng.
Luang Prabang: Climate
Luang Prabang features a tropical wet and dry climate (Aw) under the Köppen climate classification. While the city is generally very warm throughout the year, it is noticeably cooler during December and January. Luang Prabang also experiences wet and dry seasons, with the wet season from April until October, and the dry season during the remaining five months. The city receives approximately 1,450 millimetres (57 in) of precipitation annually.
Climate data for Luang Prabang
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average rainy days
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source #1: NOAA (1961–1990)
Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (extremes)
Luang Prabang: Sister cities
Bagan, Myanmar (2009)
Luang Prabang: See also
Luang Prabang Range
Big Brother Mouse
Pak Ou Caves
Luang Prabang: Gallery
View from Phou si summit facing south-east
Monks collecting alms at dawn, Luang Prabang
Royal Palace, Luang Prabang
Primary school, Luang Prabang
A young monk, Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang night market
Buddha images at Vat Visounarath
Boats on the Mekong at Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang: References
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Ricklefs, M. C.; Lockhart, Bruce; Lau, Albert; Reyes, Portia; Aung-Thwin, Maitrii. A New History of Southeast Asia. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137015549. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
Saqalli, Mehdi; Jourdren, Marine; Maestripieri, Nicolas; Guillerme, Sylvie; Maire, Eric; Soulileuth, Bounsamai; Latsachach, Keoudone; Sounyafong, Phabvilay; Tammahuxsa, Louy; Sengtaheuanghoung, Oloth; Ribolzi, Olivier; Becerra, Sylvia (1 June 2015). "Backward waters, modern waters: Perception-Based Regional Mapping territory uses and water-related sanitary stakes in Luang Phabang area (Lao PDR)". Applied Geography. 60: 184–193. doi:10.1016/j.apgeog.2015.04.001. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
Ladwig, Patrice (1 January 2014). "Worshipping Relics and Animating Statues. Transformations of Buddhist statecraft in contemporary Laos". Modern Asian Studies. 49 (06): 1875–1902. doi:10.1017/S0026749X13000486. ISSN 0026-749X. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
Lockhart, Bruce M. (1 January 2002). "Review of Laos Culture and Society, ; The Politics of Ritual and Remembrance: Laos since 1975, Grant Evans; Theravadins, Colonialists and Commissars in Laos, , ; Essai d'Anthropologie Politique Sur Le Laos Contemporain: Marché, Socialisme, Et Genies". Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. 33 (1): 180–184. doi:10.1017/s0022463402300080. JSTOR 20072402.
Ammon, Ulrich. Sociolinguistics: An International Handbook of the Science of Language and Society. Walter de Gruyter. p. 2010. ISBN 9783110184181. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
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Burke, Andrew; Vaisutis, Justine. Laos. Lonely Planet. p. 345. ISBN 9781741045680. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
"Luangprabang at a Glance (page 2)" (PDF). Ministry of Public Works and Transport (Laos). Retrieved 15 June 2016.
Application of Information and Communication Technology to Promote Sustainable Development A Case Study: Town of Luang Prabang, Lao PDR (pdf) Tokyo Institute of Technology, Retrieved June 15, 2016
"Town of Luang Prabang - Map". UNESCO. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
"Town of Luang Prabang - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". UNESCO. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
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Daniel White (28 January 2010). Frommer's Cambodia and Laos. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 270–. ISBN 978-0-470-61583-6. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
Promkerd, Prasartthong; Khoprasert, Yuvaluk; Virathavone, Phongthep; Thoummabouth, Manivone; Sirisak, Ouane; Jäkel, Thomas (1 March 2008). "Factors explaining the abundance of rodents in the city of Luang Prabang, Lao PDR, as revealed by field and household surveys". Integrative Zoology. 3 (1): 11–20. doi:10.1111/j.1749-4877.2008.00069.x. ISSN 1749-4877. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
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