Imagine a town that has beautiful old intricate temples on every corner and when waking early you can witness hundreds of monks in saffron robes walking the streets collecting alms.
Luang Prabang is located around 350km north of the country’s capital Vientiane. This spectacular town is bordered by two rivers the Mekong on one side and the Nam Khan on the other. The town itself is small and very walkable and we enjoyed strolling and looking at all the various temples and historic buildings in the area.
The old town in Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the oldest temple or Wat dates back to 1513. There is also a large concentration of monks in the area because of all the Temples and Wats.
One of our favourite activities while in Luang Prabang was waking up early to watch the hundreds of monks walk the streets of town collecting alms. Whatever food they collected that day was all the food they would have to eat. Also lining the streets were many children with baskets and if the monks had too much food they would put it in the kids baskets. The kids especially enjoyed watching the procession and were intrigued.
One morning our 3-year-old exclaimed “I want to be a Monk when I grow up”. When asking him why his reply was “so I can get lots of sticky rice and lollies from all the people”.
Walking the town during the day we would often hear chanting and drums coming from the many temples around.
After the morning alms we would then head to the markets. At the morning markets you can find an array of different foods. It was fun to see all the different types of food that is sold there and we would get purple sticky rice with coconut shavings and palm sugar for breakfast.
Laos has a rich french history and you will see french inspired architecture and restaurants in town. We also met a french man and his lovely wife who were in Laos searching for his grandfather as he was half Laotian.
We enjoyed the baguettes while in Laos and Luang Prabang was no exception. The kids loved Nutella and banana Baguettes while we went vegetarian with egg. You will find many stalls lining the streets .
Our favourite activity to do in the evenings was to visit the night markets. The night markets in Luang Prabang are my favourite so far. The Laotians are so talented, they are master weavers and even use elephant pooh to make paper. The night markets are so colourful and there is an abundance of things for sale. We also enjoyed walking around at night as the temples looked majestic in the dark and the ornate gold sparkles in the evening light.
Other activities we enjoyed while in Luang Prabang were catching a long tail boat down the Mekong and visiting a traditional weaving and paper village. We enjoyed watching the weavers make special coloured Sarong’s and the kids were intrigued with how paper was made and loved the flowers and leaves that went into the pages. If you do visit this village you will find things cheaper here than they are at the night markets. We bought the kids some sketching pads and they carried them around in Luang Prabang sketching temples and monks.
Luang Prabang is a special place and it quickly stole our hearts. We loved the laid back vibe and the sacred feel of the town. We were sad to leave however our youngest daughter let us know when she grows up she is going to come back and bring her cousins with her. I think I feel the same too. This place definitely left it’s mark.