Luang Prabang

Overview

Situated in the centre of northern Laos, Luang Prabang is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding cultural, historic and architectural values and its harmonious relationship between the natural and built environment. In the 14th century, the King Fa Ngum founded the first Lao Kingdom, Lane Xang, here in Luang Prabang. Luang Prabang remained the capital of Lane Xang until 1565 when the capital was moved to Vientiane. It remained to serve as the country's spiritual and religious centre.

Visitors to Luang Prabang are charmed by the friendly atmosphere of this small town. The town itself offers several unique insights into the history of the region, through excellently preserved Buddhist temples, museum and a variety of Lao, Tai-Lue, Burmese, Chinese and Taui architecture Night Market. In Luang Prabang sell a large variety of traditional goods. The town is famous for its unique textiles and beautiful mulberry paper. Famous foods in Luang Prabang are "Aur Lam" (a thick stew made with the forst herb "Sakhan", meat and eggplants), "Jaew Bong", a sauce made with hot chillies and buffalo skin and "khai Pan" dried river weed lightly fried with sesame seeds and garlic.

Some of the most visited sites in Luang Prabang Town are Wat Xieng Thong, Mount Phou Si, Wat Visounnarath, the former Royal Palace and Wat Manolom. Equally beautiful are the lesser known temples across the Mekong River in Chomphet District. You can take a 1.5 hour walk through the hills and forest opposite the main town to explore the old temple sites and peaceful environment. Just outside of the main town are the beautiful Tad Kwang Si Waterfall, Tham Ting Caves, Ban Xang Hai Village and the tiered waterfall Tad Sae. Further out is muang Ngoi Kao, a quiet village located on the banks of the Nam Ou River surrounded by high karst mountains and sheer limestone cliffs. You can visit these sites on your own or use the services of one of the many tour operators based in town.

Luang Parbang celebrates all of the major Lao Festivals in style. The largest, Pi Mai Lao or Lao New Year takes place officially from 13-15 April, but in Luang Prabang the festival often lasts a full week with a trade fair, "Miss Lao New Year" contest, parades and religious ceremonies. In late December is Hmong New Year. This is a time where the Hmong show off their finest traditional clothing, hold musical performances and other cultural ceremonies. In Luang Prabang, the annual boat races are held in late September, one month earlier than Vientiane and most other places in the country.

While in Luang Prabang, you may observe the morning alms giving ceremony where monks walk through town in single file carrying their alms bowls to give laypeople the opportunity to offer alms and gain merit. Offerings by the people are usually comprised of sticky rice, fruit or simple traditional snacks. Know as "Binthabat" in Lao, this is a sacred religious ceremony. Tourists may participate in and photograph the ceremony, however, the people of Luang Prabang, especially the monks, ask that this is done is a respectful way and visitors do everything they can not to disrupt this ancient tradition.

 

Archaeological evidence suggests that Luang Prabang has been inhabited since at least 8,000 BC. The first Laos Kingdom, Lane Xang, was founded here in the 14th century by King Fa Ngum after he conquered and unified the lands of modern-day Xieng Khouang , the Khorat Plateau and Luang Prabang. The city was first reffered to as Muang Swa and by 1357 the name was again changed to Muang Xieng Dong Xieng Thong by local inhabitants. Shortly thereafter, King Fa Ngum accepted a golden Buddha image called the Pha Bang as a gift from the Khmer monarchy and the thriving city-state became known as Luang Prabang. Luang Prabang was the capital of Lane Xang until moved to Vientiane in 1545 by King Setthathirath (although Luang Prabang remained the country's main religious centre). The city's first contact with western emissaries occurred in the mid 17th century during the reign of King Surigna Vongsa. After his death in 1694, Lane Xang broke up into three separate Kingdoms; Vientiane, Champasack and Luang Prabang.

By the late 19th century Luang Prabang was under attack by marauding Black Flag bandits who destroyed many sacred Buddha images, temples and historical documents. Under King Sisavang Vong (1904-1959) a number of restoration and beautification projects were launched, many of which are still evident today. French influenced buildings began to appear in the later 1800's, adding to the mixture of Lao, Tai-Lue, Burmese, Chinese and Tai architecture.

Luang Prabang is rich in cultural heritage, and is known as the seat of Lao culture, with monasteries, monuments traditional costumes and surrounded by many types of nature's beauty.

In 1995 UNESCO declared Luang Prabang a World Heritage Site. This distinction confirms, through the concerted action of local, national and international authorities, a real motivation to preserve this wonderfully serene city. The title is justified not only by the many beautiful temples in Luang Prabang, but also by its traditional wooden dwelling, the old colonial style houses and the natural environment that encases it in a perfect harmony of plant and stone.

Outdoor Activities

Trekking

  • Chomphet Trek (Phou Luang Tai): Explore Luang Prabang's rural life on this challenging two-day trek into the hills of Chompet district acroiss the Mekong River, and face difficult climbs on the way to green forests, views of Luang Prabang, farmers' fields, a cave and three ethnic groups: Hmong, Khamu and lowland Lao.
  • Kwang Si Waterfall Walk (Long Lao Trek): Take this great four to five hour alternative walking route to Kwang Si Waterfall, and trek to Hmong and Khamu villages, green forests and mountain tops before arriving at the falls. Village guides are available to enhance the experience by explaing the natural and cultural sites along the way.
  • Muang Ngoi Trek (Kiew Khan): Embark on a two-day trek from Ban Ngoi Kao on the Ou River and spend the night in a Khamu village guesthouse while experiencing the community's forest way of life.
  • Trekking & Hill Tribe Experience: This tour is part of the Luang Prabang community based tourism project "Fair Trek", supporting and sponsoring seven communities in the Trekking and Hiking area.
  • Elephant Ride & Trekking Combination: Outside of Luang Prabang the Elephant Park Project protects former working Elephants and gives them a new home. On your visit you will experience a scenic Elephant ride through forest and river landscape. The afternoon you spend with a soft hiking tour to a small Khamu community. Both parts of the tour support the projects.
  • Trip to the roof of Nong Khiaw: This one day trip takes up to top of the highest mountain in Nong Kiau. We follow an old traillocal people have used for hunting, hiking up to the very top of the limestone cliffs. From therethe breathtaking panorama of Nong Kiau will unfold beneath us, leaving us speechless.
  • Luang Prabang Explorer: This tour takes you into forest and several villages of the most prominentethnic groups in Northern Laos: the Khmu and Hmong. The Khmu are also called "Laos Theung" and settle at a medium altitude, the latter, sometimes called "Laos Soung", live in high regions along the mountain ridges.
  • Luang Prabang Hill Tribe Villages: Northern Laos is home to many ethnic minorities such as Yuan, Hmong, Khmu…This trip is short getaway from Luang Prabang, but enough to visit a good number of villages where the ethnic minorities inhabit. No other better way to experience local daily life!
  • Trek and Boat Trip in Nong Khiaw: Follow the small paths of hunters and farmers into the mountains and villages.
  • Pak Ou District Explorer: This tour takes you into several villages of the most prominent ethnic groups in Northern Laos: the Khmu and Hmong. The Khmu are also called "Laos Theung" and settle at a medium altitude, the later, sometimes called "Laos Soung", live in high regions along the mountain ridges.
  • Pha Pon Golden Mountain Exploration: This trek is predominantly designed for moderately active people who love getting into the great outdoors. Spend two days trekking through dense forest, pass by minority villages and enjoy the Pha Pon Golden Mountain.
  • Xeuang River Insight: This trip is designed for those who are looking for a great paddling adventure in the limestone landscape northeast of Luang Prabang. The first day on the river will prepare you for mastering the swift rapids of the second day.
  • Ou River Explorer: This tour combines the spectacular landscape of the Nam Ou River with a visit to the renowned Pak Ou Caves and paddling on the mighty Mekong. A home stay at a Lao Loum fishing village offers you the unique opportunity to experience the local peoples' way of living.
  • Khan River Experience: For those who prefer a gentle and easy river to be able to watch and relax, a trip on the Nam Khan River is the answer. Besides enjoying the views of rural life on the riverbanks, we will stop at three famed sites in the surroundings of Luang Prabang.
  • Ming River & Khan River Discovery: On this trip you get the chance to paddle down two very scenic rivers of southern Luang Prabang Province: the narrow and over-grown Nam Ming which flows into the much wider winding Nam Khan. When staying the night in a village, we will be able to get a glimpse into the lives of people in rural Laos.
  • Tad Sae Waterfall & Elephant Riding: Trek and Kayak to Tad Sae Waterfall with optional Elephant Riding and Zip-Lines The 1 day tour that does it all: hiking, kayaking, village visits, waterfalls, and optional elephant riding/bathing and zip-lines at an elephant camp right at the Tad Se waterfall. See local Hmong, Khmu, and Lao-Loum village life and Lao's beautiful countryside from land and water. Trekking through jungle and farmland to visit local villages on the outskirts of Luang Prabang is followed by kayaking down the scenic Nam Khan river. In the middle is lunch at the Tad Sae waterfall where you can feed, ride, and bathe elephants or brave the heights of the zip-lines through the canopy of trees. During the wet season, don't forget your swimming suit for a refreshing swim in the aqua blue waters of the Tat Sae waterfall.

Cave

Nang Eanh Cave

Nang Eanh Cave is known for its exceptional beauty there is a tragic love story behind it. It describes how Nang Eanh has become on the daughter of the cave. She was beautiful and is love with the young man called Thao Kew. Although they were planning to get marries, Nang Eanh's father didn't approve of it because he had someone else in mind for his son-in-law. Her father liked a man called Thoua Kyhod to make preparation for the marriage ceremony to Nang Eanh against her will. On the day of the wedding, Nang Eanh Locked herself in the cave, refused to come out and died eventually in the cave.

Xang Cave

Xang cave looks like an elephant for the outside, but even inside the rock formation looks like an elephant's internal organs. There is a pond with clear water were you can swim in the cave. The rock inside the cave sparkle like jelwels when you shine torchlight against them. The cave in located near Pell village and there is a clear path to the cave from it.


Cycling

Ban Chomphet Experience

This outdoor activity combines cycling, trekking and boating in the rural area around Luang Prabang and along the Mekong. We will experience local daily life and the unique culture while interacting with friendly people of different ethnic minorities and so much more.

Biking & Trekking in Chomphet District

Explore the rural area along the Mekong with this outdoor activity that combines cycling, trekking and boating. We will experience local daily life and unique cultures, interact with friendly local people of different ethnic minorities and much more.

Cycling in Luang Prabang

This one day cycling takes us through many local villages where we will meet different ethnic minorities. We also experience the making of some famous local products and a boat ride. For those who love cycling in the rural area with stop-overs in minority villages, this is the answer.

Cycling to Ban Som & Ban Na

This outdoor activity combines cycling and boating in the rural area along the Mekong. We will experience local daily life and the unique culture, we interact with friendly local people of different ethnic minorities and much more.


Kayaking

Enjoy a relaxing kayaking trip in the diverse nature and landscapes of Luang Prabang , or challLenge yourself on a multiday tour on teh smaller rivers especially in Khan river, Xeung River, Ou river and Mekong river as well.

  • Kayaking & Biking:Welcome to a day of adventure in Laos! After pick up service you can choose a fitting bike and start cycling out of Luang Prabang. We take a side road and come through small villages along the way.
  • Trek & Kayak to Tad Sae Waterfall with optional Elephant Riding and Zip-Lines: The 1 day tour that does it all: hiking, kayaking, village visits, waterfalls, and optional elephant riding/bathing and zip-lines at an elephant camp right at the Tad Se waterfall.
  • Kayaking in Luang Prabang: A soft river kayaking is what you will experience today. We start around 08:30AM from your hotel and will bring you up river into the Nam Khan river valley. Here you get instructions and equipment! Slowly paddle down the river and discover village life and wonderful countryside. Lush and green mountains are all around you while fishermen and young children will surround you from time to tim.
  • Khan River Experience: For those who prefer a gentle and easy river to be able to watch and relax, a trip on the Nam Khan River is the answer. Besides enjoying the views of rural life on the riverbanks, we will stop at three famed sites in the surroundings of Luang Prabang
  • Ming River and Khan River Discovery: On this trip you get the chance to paddle down two very scenic rivers of southern Luang Prabang Province: the narrow and over-grown Nam Ming which flows into the much wider winding Nam Khan.
  • Ou River Explorer: This tour combines the spectacular landscape of the Nam Ou River with a visit to the renowned Pak Ou Caves and paddling on the mighty Mekong. A home stay at a Lao Loum fishing village offers you the unique opportunity to experience the local peoples' way of living.
  • Xeuang River Insight: This trip is designed for those who are looking for a great paddling adventure in the limestone landscape northeast of Luang Prabang. The first day on the river will prepare you for mastering the swift rapids of the second day.
  • Pak Ou District Explorer: This tour takes you into several villages of the most prominent ethnic groups in Northern Laos: the Khmu and Hmong. The Khmu are also called "Laos Theung" and settle at a medium altitude, the later, sometimes called "Laos Soung", live in high regions along the mountain ridges. You will see two scenic waterfalls on day 3. Day 4 and 5 are spent kayaking and relaxing in the rural setting of the Lower Nam Ou River.

Cultural Visit

 

The National Museum

The National Museum, constructed in 1904. Various royal religions objects are displayed in the large entrance hall. Many gifts from foreign envoys (including a rock brought back from the moon!) and religious and cultural artifacts are on display here including the 14th century gold Phabang (Buddha image) from which Luang Prabang derives its name.

Wat Xieng Thong

Built during the 16th Century by King Saysetthathirath, Wat Xieng Thong temple is one of the most interesting examples of Buddhist art and architecture in Luang Prabang and arguably one of the most beautiful temples in Asia. The ornate carved and gilded funeral vehicle of the former king is kept in one of the buildings in the temple grounds. This temple was used for the the most important Royal ceremonies and houses the bones of King Sisavangvong.

Phousi Mountain

Incredible Mountain it's located in centre of town visitors will need to climb 328 zigzag stairs up to the top of the Mountain from there you will see a perfect 360 panoramic view of the whole city. Mount Phousi is Luang Prabang Holy Mountain, and at its very top sites the 20 m high Wat Chomsi stupa.

Wat Chomphet

Located across the Mekong river to the north of Ban Xieng Mene, Vat Chomphet is built on the top of a hill, and offers stunning views of Luang Prabang town and the river. The temple was built in 1888, and although currently undergoing renovation, the dragon and bird designs on the ceiling still retain their mystical power.

Wat That Luang

Located behind the old stadium on the way to Kuang Si waterfall. Wat That Luang was built on a knoll in 1818 by king Manthatourath. Before 1975, Wat That Luang was used to hold funeral rites and cremate the country‘s highest dignitaries.

Wat Visounnarath

The most ancient temple of Luang Prabang. It was originally erected in 1515 and was rebuilt in 1898. For some time it housed the Phabang Buddhas until the onset of invasions which included the pirate "black flag" invasion. Its windows, with the wooden railings, are inspired from the Wat Phou temple. Inside you can admire ancient statues and steles. Within the walls you will see that Pathoume or That Mak Mo (know as watermelon stupa because of its similarities to the fruit) which is a stone stupa built by king Visionarath's wife. Next door, separately by a very city's most important genies.

Wat Mai Souvannaphummaham

Built in 1796, Vat mai (New Monastery) was given its present name following the restoration undertaken in 1821 by King Manthathourat. Notice the 4- tiered roof when visiting the temple, as well as the scenes from daily life and the leend of vessantara on the bas-relief walls.

Wat Sene

The temple's name is said to com e from a donation of 100,000 Kip which was used to construct the temple in 1781. The bird of the Buddha, Vat sene also houses two longboats which are used in the annual Boat Racing Festival.

Wat Xieng man

Wat Xiengman is the oldest and best-known temple in the Comphet district. It was built in the 16th century before the reign King Xaysetthatirath, where as the Putthasimma was built in the 18th century by the King Anourout MuthatouRath ang the king Chantha Rath. The decorative temple door was the work of corroboration between Luang Prabang and Myanmar artisans.

Wat Luang Khoun

Wat luang khoun was built in the 18th century. At first, it was always regarded as a place for meditation rather than a place for worship, but during King Anoulou Manthaturath era in the 19th century, it was established as the temple for meditation and continued to be one for monks. All the King in the past such as King Sisavangvong and King Sisangvattana became a monk in this temple before there were crowned.

French Colonial Architecture

New secular building styles were introduced to Luang Prabang between 1893 and 1907 as the French gradually assumed administrative control of Laos. In constructing administrative buildings and houses the French introduced European construction techniques and materials. For instance, the restriction on the use of bricks, which were previously used only for temples. Was lifted. The French, however, did not merely transplant European styles into Luang Prabang. Instead, they employed styles developed in Vietnam and produced designs inspired by vernacular temple architecture and secular wooden structures that were better suited to the warm and humid Laotian climate.

As a result, a new Laotian architectural style emerged, based on indigenous domestic architecture but freely incorporating French and Vietnamese design elements along with European and Chinese technical innovations. The Laotian royalty and aristocracy, who had previously lived in wooden houses, had their new masonry residences constructed in this style. The former Royal Palace, which today houses the Luang Prabang National Museum, was built between 1904 and 1909 and serves as a fine example of the French-inspired architecture that was popular at that time.

The French introduced some elements of Chinese architecture and urbanism indirectly. To execute French public works, skilled Vietnamese laborers were imported. These laborers settled near the foot of the peninsula and built their own commercial quarters which were brick, with living accommodation on the upper floors. All of these architectural styles can still be seen today in Luang Prabang.

Nature

Rivers

Nam Ming-Nam Khan

The appeal of this river is its proximity to Luang Prabang. The Ming can be bouncy but smoothes out once it joins the larger Khan River. The Khan offers both rainforest and farmlands and offers a number of fun rapids along the way.

Nam Ou

Most people paddle the Ou just above Luang Prabang but its upper reaches near the Chinese border are more pristine, cutting through the undisturbed Phou Den Din NPA in which there are few villages. This is the longest inbound river in all of Laos is well known for its spectacular karsts formations and natural scenery.

Nam Pa

This small river meanders through rugged mountains north of Luang Prabang and has some excellent rapids as well as opportunities for birdwatching. This Nam Pa is ideal for short, one-day trips into some remote villages and forest.

Nam Xeung

This river takes you through limestone landscapes northeast of Luang Prabang with some swift rapids. It is best from July to October. Rafting is possible in the rainy season only between June and September.


Waterfalls

Tad Kwang Si Waterfall

Situated 25km south of Luang Prabang, Kwang Si Waterfall makes for an excellent daytrip. Accessible by tuk-tuk, minivan, Motorcycle or bicycle. The 650 feet high waterfall is at its most picturesque during the wet season however it can be visited year-round. Children are not recommended to climb to the top of the waterfall, but they can swim in the various pools at the bottom. Walkways and there are many small restaurant available to service you and the Kwang si waterfall area is good for a picnic. On the road out to Kwang Si Waterfall, there are a number of villages housing traditional hydro-rice mills.

Tad Sae Waterfall

Located 15km southeast of Luang Prabang, the falls can easily be reached by tuk-tuk, minivan, motorcycle. The picturesque journey allows visitors to admire the countryside, while the falls themselves are small but impressive. It is not unusual for visitors to have the falls to themselves. Swimming is possible in some of the tiered pools and at the base of the falls. The best time to visit is from June to October and other month you also can do some activities such: picnic, elephant riding, trekking and etc, for more detail of the trip you can go to local tour company/agencies there are available to service you in town.

Hoy Khua waterfall (100 Families Waterfall)

Hoy Khua waterfall is located in the west of Comphet district. It is the village called Paklueng. The height of waterfall is about 30m. there used to be around 100 families lives in this village. That is why, it is called "100 families waterfall" the abundance of water remains throughout the year. The is a swimming area for visitors to enjoy.


National Protected Area – Phou Loei

Location:
Luang Prabang & Houaphanh Province

 

Area:
1,465 sq. km

 

Eco-tourism Activities Available:
None yet

 

Key Species:
Clouded leopard, tiger, and leopard. All large cats endemic to Indochina are reported to exist.

 

Habitat:
Mixed deciduous and evergreen forest covering rough highlands ranging from 500 m – 2,257 m. Drainage is primarily southwest into the Nam Khan and Nam Xuang Rivers. Much bamboo and grassland is found in the NPA, probably the result of past shifting cultivation.

 

Access:
Most conveniently accessed by an all- weather road from Phonsavanh on Route 7 and Route 1 to MeuangHiam. The northern area can be approached from XamNeua on a rough seasonal road, which traverses Nam Et NBCA in an east-west direction.

Shopping

Ban Phanom

This village, located 4 km to the north of Luang Prabang, was a former royal weaving village, and is now an official tourism village. You can view women working on their looms, buy their products and stroll in the village; it can be reached by bicycle or tuk-tuk.

Ban Xieng Lek and Ban Xang Khong

It's located 2 km to the north of Luang Prabang town along the river, you can watch villagers making Posa paper (made from mulberry bark) and weaving traditional textiles.

Ban Hat Hien

Ban Hat Hian is one of the province's famous blacksmith villages. Handmade knives and other agricultural tools are for sale here. The village is located 2 km from town, just past the airport.

Ban Chan

This village is famous for its traditional pottery-making, where you can watch pots being hand-thrown and fired in old ovens. The village's lamps and pots decorate the small streets of Luang Prabang's old town, and are known all over northern Laos. Ban Chan is located in Chomphet District, across the Mekong River and to the south. It can be by boat in 15 minutes, or by taking a boat across to Xieng Mene and walking downstream along the river for 25 minutes.

Ban Xang Hai

Ban Xang Hai is famous for its Lao Lao (homemade alcohol) which is available for tasting and purchase. A variety of handicrafts are also for sale here. The village, 29 km north of Luang Prabang, is a common stop on the boat ride to Tham Ting caves, but can also be reached by car in one and half hours.

Wat Xieng Thong

Wat Xieng Thong translates as ‘temple of the Golden City' located in Luang Prabang. This Buddhist temple is one of the most beautiful and singnificant monuments in Lao.

 

Boat Racing Festival in Luang Prabang

In Luang Prabang, a courageous traditional boat racing festival is held simultaneously every year. On both sides of the Nam Khan River, lots of tourists together with local People cheer the rowers of boats.

 

Royal Palace Museum

Located in the heart of Luang Prabang, the Royal Palace Museum was first constructed in 1904 in the French colonial era. Visit the museum and see the real "Prabang" Buddha image.

 

Giving Alms

Buddhism is part of everyday life in the country, and a great way to see their love for Lord Buddha. One of the most interesting things to do, especially in Luang Prabang, is to line up early in the morning and give food to the monks.

 

The View from Mount Phou Si

For a spectacular sunset, this 100 meter high hill is located in the center of Luang Prabang's old town with the Mekong River on one side, and Nam Khan River on the other.

 

Kwang Si Waterfall

Talking of waterfalls, if you want to see one of Laos' most dramatic, Kwang Si Waterfall should be at the top of your list. This three-tier waterfall is situated approximately 29km to the south of Luang Prabang, cascading 60 meters.

 

Pak Ou Caves

About 25km by boat from Luang Prabang along the Mekong River, at the mouth of the Nam Ou, are the famous Pak Ou caves. Two caves in the lower part of a limestone cliff facing the river are crammed with Buddha images of all styes and sizes (but mostly classic Luang Prabang standing Buddha images).

 

Night Bazar in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang night Market (Night Bazar) is something you simply can't miss when visiting this UNESCO world Heritage city. The market is open daily from 5pm to about 10pm. It is located along Sisavangvong Road from the Royal Palace Museum.

 

Luang Prabang Lao Open

The new face of the Lao Golf Industry is no more evident than with the emergence of the Luang Prabang Lao Open, which is now a permanent fixture of the Asian Tour. Every year, you can enjoy watching Asia's finest golfers battle it out to be the Lao Open champion at Luang Prabang Golf Club.

 

Luang Prabang Film Festival

You really know a country is moving forward when they host their own film festival. The Luang Prabang Film Festival (LPFF) is an annual celebration of filmmaking is southeast Asia that aims to educate Lao people about film as a means of cultural expression and communication, and to support a nascent local industry and art form.

 

Zip Line in Luang Prabang

Fly between the treetops and to turquoise Tad Sae waterfalls with this exhilarating zip Prabang.

Main event Schedule

January
  • Boun Khoun Khao (Harvest Festival)
  • Boun Phavet
February
  • Boun Makhaboucha
April
  • "Boun Pi Mai" Lao's New Year
May
  • Boun Visakhaboucha
  • Boun Bang Fai (Rocket Festival)
July
  • Boun Khao Phansa
August
  • Boun Khao Padabdin
September
  • Boun Khao Salak
October
  • Boun Ok Phansa (End of Buddhist Lent)
December
  • Kin Chiang (Hmong New Year)
  • Boun Pot Py or Boun Kreu (Khmu New Year)
Boun Khoun Khao (Harvest Festival)

Celebrated after rice has been harvested, in which a ceremony is held to give thanks to the spirit of the land and ensure the next harvest will be plentiful.

Boun Phavet

A temple based festival when jataka or story of Prince Vestsantara (the Buddha's penultimate life) are recited. The festival lasts for three days and three nights. Visiting fortuneteller are also a popular attraction at this time.

Boun Makhaboucha

Held during the full moon commemorating the speech given by Buddha to 1,250 enlightened monks. Temple goers circumnavigate the Wat Three times with candles in a ceremony known as vien tian.Boun khao Chi - special bread of sticky rice, coated with egg and then grilled, is made and offered to the monks. This offering occurs during Makha bous'a, but is no longer widely practiced.

"Boun Pi Mai" Lao's New Year

Boun Pi Mai - New year festival beginning in mid -April and last three days. Held before the on set of the rainy season, it recognizes the important of water in people's lives. It's also a purification festival during which Buddha images in the household and the temples are ritually cleaned with sacred water. the Prabang image is moved out of the national museum during the festival to be purified in the ground of Vat Mai. The water from cleaning ceremonies is then poured or splashed by people on to each other to clean them luck for the coming year. The most elaborate New year festival rites in Lao PDR are held in Luang Prabang with processions of the legendary guardian spirit of town. Traditionally, Boun Pi Mai also served to reaffirm Lao kingship.

Boun Visakhaboucha

Falling usually on the fifteenth day of the sixth lunar month, this festival cerebrates the birth, death and tatsahou (enlightenment) of Buddha.

Boun Bang Fai (Rocket Festival)

This festival is a rain-making and fertility festival. Held justbefore the rain season, it is a wild and happy ceremony, involving music, dance and street processions, culminating in the firing of rockets.  Rockets are fired to tempt the gods to produce rain needed for rice cultivation and also to send the naga from the river bank into the rice field in order to attract rain. This festival is held in Muang nan District.

Boun Khao Phansa

Held on the full moon, this festival marks the beginning of Buddhist lent, the three month period of monastic seclusion and meditation during the rainy season, when monks are required to stay within their Vat. Monks are traditionally ordained, are expected to remain in the Vat for the entire three months.

Boun Khao Padabdin

Held on the full moon. During this festival is held during the ninth Buddhist lunar month and is an important part of traditional agriculture cycle. The festival pays tribute to the naga, (mythical snake water deities) with the intention of attracting the naga from the inundated rice field back into the river. This festival also commemorates the end of the rainy season and brings luck for an abundant harvest. This festival is also including boat racing festival on the Nam Khan River.

Boun Khao Salak

Held on the full moon, this festival involves the giving of offerings to a specific monk (decided by a lottery system). Offerings include daily necessities such as books, pen, sugar, coffee and cigarettes. Laypeople also give tung peng (wax flower candles) to the monks. This ritual brings merit to the givers.

Boun Ok Phansa (End of Buddhist Lent)

Held on the full moon, ending of the rainy season period of monastic seclusion. Monks who were ordained for the phansa period leave the Vat and rejoin families. This festival also involves launching candle-lit offerings on the river at night.

Boun Lai Heua Fai

A festival for the phanga naga to bring good luck. Each village makes and decorates a boat. These boats are then paraded through the town and at night are launched on the river and ceremonially set on fire as offerings to spirits. This festival involves the ritual flowers, onto the river. These offerings are launched at of bad luck and give thanks to the water spirits. On holding boat races, people ritually reclaim the land from the naga, chasing them out from fields and streams and back into the Mekong River.

Kin Chiang (Hmong New Year)

In December the province's various ethnic minorities, most notably the Hmong, celebrate the past years harvest and new lunar new year with weeklong festivals that feature music, dancing and special foods. This is an excellent time to see traditional dress, festive textiles, silver jewelry and traditional musical instruments.

Boun Pot Py or Boun Kreu (Khmu New Year)

This festival is also held in December in every year, Boun pot py or Boun Kreu meaning is festival celebration of the year past for their harvest and welcoming for the new year. This events including: singing of the traditional song( Treum, Jeum…), dancing(Te kai), competition traditional sports, Khmu food and drink pottery alcohol ("lao Hai").

Air

Luang Prabang is served by Lao Airlines, Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways and PB Air, with regular services to Vientiane, Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

Land

Southern Bus Station : To Vientiane (10 hours), Vang Vieng (6 hours), Xieng Khouang (8 hours) and Luang Namtha (8 hours).

Northern Bus Station : To Oudomxay (5 hours), Nong Khiaw (3 hours), Pakmong (2.5 hours) and Vieng Kham (5 hours).

Boat

Slow Boat : to Houay Xai (16 hours), Pakbeng (8 hours), Thasouang (8 hours), Meuang Khuea (7 hours), Nong Khiaw (7 hours), Thadeu (5 hours) and Paklay (24 hours).

Speed Boat : to Houay Xai (6 hours) and Pakbeng (3 hours).

Transport within Luang Prabang:

Tuk-tuks, trishaws (lot-sam-lor) and jumbos (small tuk-tuks) are available all over town and are an easy way to get around. Taxis and mini buses can be hired through guesthouses, hotels and tour operators. It is also possible to rent bicycles for about $2 per day. Please note that tourists are not permitted to rent motorcycles.

Please be aware that transportation schedules and prices are subject to change, so we suggest you check the above information at transportation terminals or through a travel agent prior to your trip.

Located:
Northern Laos (Norhtern Heritage)
Total area:
16,8755 square kilometers
Population:
447,541
Districts:
  • Luang Prabang
  • Xieng Ngeun
  • Nan
  • Pak Ou
  • Nambak
  • Ngoi
  • Pakxeng
  • Phonxay
  • Chomphet
  • Viengkham
  • Phounkhone
  • Phonthong
Capital:
Luang Prabang