Luang Prabang wears the crown as the top tourist destination in Laos. The UNESCO World Heritage City remains rooted in its past as the Lane Xang Kingdom’s capital and French colonial stronghold. More and more natural and cultural activities are adding to its lure, and the city is sustainably adapting to the growing number of tourists.
With Lao welcoming more international airlines, including low-cost carriers, flights from regional hubs to Luang Prabang are on the rise. Several airlines now offer routes from regional countries, with more in the pipeline.
Lao Airlines and Lao Skyway offer domestic flights. Overland travel is available from Thailand, Vietnam, and China, and vans and busses travel to Luang Prabang from around the country’s capital and north.
The city offers green options for maintaining the UNESCO site’s environment. The e-Bus operates three routes in electric tuk tuks, which are cheaper than traditional vehicles. Renting bicycles remains popular for reaching the city’s sites. Many hotels provide transfers to/from the Central Tourist District and airport. The airport’s official transfer counter offers rides to your hotel for LAK 50,000.
Many of Luang Prabang’s 60-plus hotels and some 230 guesthouses sit inside “The Peninsula”. You’ll find most in the Mekong River area in the quiet neighbourhoods a step away from the main tourist hub. Some 15 resorts are nestled in the surrounding mountains and natural river settings. Budget hotels and good quality guesthouses generally cost $25-$60 per night. Star-rated hotels run between $150 and $500, though super-luxury suites can fetch $1,000 or more.
The city offers almost 300 restaurants including hotel dining outlets, and menus meet all appetites. Lao and local dishes tempt the culinary curious, while international eateries present a range of options. Many restaurants use locally grown and organic ingredients, and a growing number have achieved “The Mark” for meeting international standards for clean and safe dining. Visitors often enjoy meals at terrace restaurants lining the Mekong Riverbanks.