Luang Prabang is one of those hidden treasures. It’s a place you may have read about in your Lonely Planet book or heard whispers of through the traveling community or via travel blogs, but it doesn’t seem to be on the main-stream tourist agenda quite yet. It’s getting there, I’m afraid. It’s hard to keep such a magical place a secret for very long.
I think our G Adventures Resource Guide sums up the city perfectly (therefor I need not change a single word): “Luang Prabang is the splendid old capital of Laos, featuring a cluster of shimmering royal temples and remnants of the faded grandeur of the Lao Monarchy. The town is often described as jewel-like – tiny and compact. It is one of those Southeast Asian cities that most people have heard of, with preconceptions surpassed once visited. The unique character and charm of Luang Prabang helps to make it one of the most popular destinations in the country, with its laid-back lifestyle, numerous temples and friendly people.”
Tangor, #2 Ranked of 98 Restaurants in LP on Trip Advisor
Leave it to us culinary queens to land at the #2 restaurant in all of Luang Prabang (according to Trip Advisor. Read the restaurant reviews here). One of my cohorts, Ann Marie, actually received a few recommendations to hit the cozy French bistro from several people who had passed through the city. It only took us an hour or so to find the place. It was well worth the quest, though. The wine list is excellent, and the French chef waits on you himself, showing the utmost hospitality.
We perched on the front porch to watch the world go slowly by down one of the town’s main streets, Rue Sisavangvong. My Burmese fish curry was out of this world!
The decor displayed a perfect balance between modern and antique, French and Asian…
We thought this jeep parked on the street was wicked.
Clubbing It (sort of)
Hive Bar is a favorite among visitors and locals alike. The trendy outdoor spot had a sultry Miami club-type feel, married with a more laid-back (but still chic) island vibe. When we arrived, a fashion show was in full force. The following act was a group of extremely talented young men breakdancing on stage (videos forthcoming!).
There are so many dining options, especially for such a compact town. We walked past this one restaurant constantly that always had live local musicians playing outside, as well as performers dancing.
For our G Adventures group dinner, we opted for Lao Lao Garden, an outdoor oasis with a warm, charming atmosphere. The food wasn’t so bad either!
We stayed in Luang Prabang for three nights. I could have easily spent a week there. We encountered one couple who came with the intention of spending a week, and they were still enjoying the town five weeks later! They just never left! I’ve heard that this happens to many travelers who get lured in and transfixed by the charming nature of LP. It doesn’t hurt that there are endless things to do, including visits to: tons of shimmering temples, the mesmerizing Kuang Si waterfalls, an extremely interesting ethnology museum, an interactive elephant sanctuary (half-day and day trips available), and my favorite, just walking around and enjoying the town. For this reason, I’ll be devoting the next several posts to this lovely little part of the world in northern Laos.
Thanks for stopping by!