History and Environment
The 3 Nagas, Luang Prabang welcomes you to the ancient town of Luang Prabang in northern Laos, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995. The seat of kings for much of her history, this small jewel-like town is known as the cultural centre of Laos, its rich heritage apparent in monasteries, monuments and the traditional costumes still worn by locals.
Life moves at a languid pace here and time-honoured traditions continue. Early risers will be treated to the sight of streets lined with temple-bound monks in their saffron-hued robes, receiving alms from the faithful.
The town is sited on a peninsula at the confluence of the Mekong and Khan rivers, surrounded by peaks and dense foliage. From a distance, only golden-spired stupas can be seen emerging from the lush greenery. At the heart of Luang Prabang rises Mount Phousi, a 150-metre-high rocky outcrop with forested slopes, dotted with sacred shrines and stupas, and offering spectacular views of the town and surrounding landscape.
Because of its compact size, Luang Prabang is easily explored on foot, by bicycle or boat. Visit the many temples and the Royal Palace Museum within the town itself. Or take a Luang Prabang tour to nearby sights such as the stunning Kuang Si waterfall and park just half an hour's drive away. Adventurous travellers will find numerous options for exploring the area further including hill-tribe and mountain treks, kayaking and eco-tours during your Laos holiday.
How to fly to Luang Prabang
Visa on Arrival
Visa-on-Arrival is available at the airport - price is variable based upon your nationality, but ranges from around US $30 to $40.
You need a passport picture to obtain a visa. If you don't have one, they'll scan your picture from your passport and charge you an additional USD1. Please check current regulations before you travel. All governments retain the right to change visa regulations with sometimes little prior notice.
ASEAN nationals do not need a visa to enter Laos for stays not exceeding 30 days.
Taxis into town cost about USD6, whether you are by yourself or with 3 other people. There is a taxi counter just outside the arrival hall. These "taxis" are in fact non air-conditioned local tuk tuks, and whilst cheap and convenient for travel around the town we recommend that your avail yourself of one of our optional airport transfer vehicles. This can be an air conditioned CRV, or one of our two vintage automobiles.
Seasons in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang's northerly location gives it more pronounced seasons than other, Southeast Asian destinations, although the climate is still decidedly tropical.
As in Thailand to the south, there is a cool and dry season from October to March, which is the best time to visit. The monsoon begins in April, and peaks in August/September.
Luang Prabang has a greater temperature range than more southerly cities. Nights can be very cold from December to February, while days in March and April can be very hot, before the rains arrive. We recommend that you bring appropriate clothing for the period of your Laos holiday.
While the rainy season is pronounced in Luang Prabang, with the rain increasing steadily from April to peak in August/September, we would hasten to point out that the rainy season is not a bad time to visit. The rain tends to come in the late afternoon, leaving clear mornings to explore the city before retiring for an afternoon nap before dinner.
Laos Events and Festivals
New Year's Day: Laos celebrates the Christian new-year with as much fun as anywhere else in the world. Book a luxury suite in our boutique Luang Prabang hotel in Laos and experience a unique New Year’s Eve celebration, Laotian style.
Boun Pha Wet: Temples around the country celebrate Jataka, a reincarnation of the Buddha in the form of the Lao prince Vestsantara. Festivities fill the towns and many men join the monkhood on this auspicious occasion.
Vietnamese Tet and Chinese New Year: fireworks, dragon parades and lots of partying accompany this new year celebration based around the Chinese and Vietnamese communities in Laos.
Magha Puja: To commemorate a famous speech made by the Buddha to 1,250 monks, the temples of Laos are lit up with candles. Traditional chanting by monks can be heard throughout the night.
Boun Khoun Khao: This traditional harvest festival pays homage to the spirits of the land, and is celebrated in every village throughout the country.
Lao New Year (Pimai): Water fights and a nationwide mood of partying overtake Laos for several days during the traditional new year, which takes place at the hottest time of the year.
Rocket Festival: In an effort to bring back the rains, bamboo rockets are fired into the skies all across Laos, accompanied by music, dancing, drinking and cultural performances.
Visa Bochea Day: The Buddha’s birthday is a reverent time for Buddhists to make merit by visiting temples and making offerings to monks.
Buddhist Lent: This somber festival marks the time when the monks retreat into their temples for three months of meditation.
Boat Racing Festival: Marking the end of Buddhist Lent is this wonderful festival where teams of rowers bring their colorful boats to the Mekong for a day of races, singing, eating and drinking.
Festival of the Dead: Luang Prabang is the place to experience this interesting ritual where the spirits of the dead are remembered, accompanied by exciting boat races on the Mekong.
Hmong New Year: The Hmong ethnic group is one of the largest in northern Laos. During their traditional new year, Hmong villages put on some wonderful performances, games and fun events.
That Luang Festival: Vientiane’s biggest festival involves a massive temporary market, live music, dancing, games and drinking. Offerings are made by the monks at this temple’s famous stupa and fireworks mark the end of the event.
Kayaking and river tours
Test the water on one of the sit-on-top kayaks or take a river tour on one of the larger riverboats
World Heritage Tour
One of the most beautiful World Heritage sites, Luang Prabang offers 32 historic temples on the peninsula, a former Royal Palace and many classic French colonial buildings that can be enjoyed with a range of walks spanning 40 minutes to three hours.
Discover Luang Prabang
By our chauffeur driven vintage 50’s Citroen or Benz
Private Dining Experience
Enjoy a romantic dinner in the privacy of your garden or in one of the many spots throughout our gardens. Set up comes complete with 100 candles and personal butler.
Pak Ou Caves and Kuang Si Falls
Enjoy a two hour trip on the Mekong River, observing the lifestyles of the riverside communities. At Pak Ou caves you disembark to explore these interesting caves filled with thousands of Buddha images.
Visit the Elephant Park project where protected Asian elephants will carry you through the lush landscape of the Nam Khan river bank. A short boat ride will take you to tad Sae where you can cool down under the cascading waterfalls.
Trekking to Kuang Si Waterfall and Village visit
Discover the culture and lifestyles of Hmong and Khamu people as we start our hike at the Long Lao village. We explore a cave, claimed to have been a bomb shelter during the Second Indochina War. The crystal clear water of the Kuang Si Waterfall is the perfect place for a refreshing dip at the end of the hike.