Deep in the centre of Laos, the former capital city of Luang Prabang boasts UNESCO World Heritage status thanks to its vividly coloured temples, rich heritage and is also surrounded by a mountainous landscape filled with cascading waterfalls and caves ready to explore.
The city itself is a shimmering patchwork of golden temple roofs, burnt orange monks’ robes and teak-bordered French-colonial architecture. Wander down the busy streets and discover the ancient monasteries, hunt for bargains in the night markets and cycle throughout the area, from the old quarter to the rugged mountains beyond the city limits.
As the countryside surrounding the city offers a large menu of active pursuits; visit various waterfalls such as Kuang Si and Tad Sae. These don’t have the biggest descents, but instead meander through multiple, step-like pools, many of which you can bathe in. Or venture into the depths of the Pak Ou Cave system, trek along the forest-shrouded Tiger Trails and kayak along the winding waterways.
When to go
This is a year-round destination but the months of November to April are best for warm days and cool nights.
What to do
- Explore ancient temples and monasteries
- Shop at night markets and dine in local restaurants
- Visit nearby waterfalls and unique cave systems