Performance arts are as much a part of Luang Prabang’s cultural heritage as the UNESCO city’s temples and colonial buildings. Everyone loves a good tale, and the 30-seat Garavek Traditional Story Telling Theatre delivers every evening. Listen to classic Lao folklore in English with traditional musical accompaniment. Hear the legend of Mount Phousi and the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers. Listen to encounters involving legendary trickster Xieng Mieng and Fa Ngum, the first Lane Xang King.
Enjoy an evening at the Royal Ballet at the Luang Prabang National Museum. The troupe of 60 masters performs the legendary Phra-Lak Phra-Lam, the Lao version of the ancient Ramayana poem, which was once banned. (Schedule varies.) If you brought the kids, take them to the Children’s Cultural Centre for a puppet show and traditional Lao performances. They’ll partake in a baci ceremony and watch the “Epock” puppet show with hand-carved entertainers. Dance shows round out the entertainment, and the program changes, depending on the day.
In Luang Namtha, head about 3 km south of town on Route 3 to Vieng Neua Village, home of ethnic Tai Yuan, who arrange cultural performances.
Kualao restaurant combines traditional cuisine with music and dancers backed by Lao instruments in the heart of the capital. Down the road, the Lao National Cultural Hall holds cultural events on special occasions. You can find performances of Pha Lak Pha Lam three times a week at the Lao National Opera Theatre.
Enjoy a show at the Shadow Puppet Theatre in the centre of Champasak Town. A small troupe of artists, musicians, vocalists, comedians, and puppeteers presents a show infusing humour into the classic Ramayana tale. The theatre’s Cinema Tuk Tuk screens the famed film “Chang”, a 1920s motion picture depicting life in northern Laos.