Luang Prabang, Laos


Luang Prabang, also known as Louangphrabang, is a city in north-central Laos, at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers. The city is the capital of Luang Prabang Province, which has a population of around 450,000 and includes 12 distinct ethnic groups, the Khum being the largest at around 45%. The city was formerly the capital of a kingdom of the same name. Until the communist takeover in 1975, it was the royal capital and seat of government of the Kingdom of Laos. The city is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage. Luang Prabang has a chequered history, which is reflected in many of its tourist attractions. The Haw Kham Royal Palace Museum and the Wat Xieng Thong Temple are among the well-known historical sites. Along with the magnificent wats (important temples or monasteries) a large part of the old town's appeal includes many houses in French provincial style. The Luang Prabang night market is also well worth a visit for shirts, bracelets, tea and a host of souvenirs. With travel restrictions now relaxed for Chinese citizens, Laos is becoming increasingly popular and the tourist industry is flourishing. However, Luang Prabang maintains its leisurely pace. In 2011 it won the Wanderlust Reader’s Travel Award for the Top City.

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