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* '''[[Muang_Xay|Muang Xay]]''' - Takes about 5 hours. Costs 40,000 kip and points onwards, such as [[Luang Namtha]], is done by public minibus only. Big backpacks are carried on the roof. Reservations are usually not necessary, just take care to go early in order to secure a good seat.
 
* '''[[Muang_Xay|Muang Xay]]''' - Takes about 5 hours. Costs 40,000 kip and points onwards, such as [[Luang Namtha]], is done by public minibus only. Big backpacks are carried on the roof. Reservations are usually not necessary, just take care to go early in order to secure a good seat.
 
* '''[[Luang Namtha]]''' - Takes 8-9 hours in good conditions. Direct local bus via [[Muang Xay]] at 09.00. Otherwise take bus to [[Muang_Xay|Muang Xay]] and switch there.
 
* '''[[Luang Namtha]]''' - Takes 8-9 hours in good conditions. Direct local bus via [[Muang Xay]] at 09.00. Otherwise take bus to [[Muang_Xay|Muang Xay]] and switch there.
* '''[[Nong_Khiaw|Nong Khiaw]]''' - 3 hours away by public bus from the Northern Bus Station. From there boats connect to [[Muang Ngoi]].
+
* '''[[Nong_Khiaw|Nong Khiaw]]''' - 3 hours away by public bus from the Northern Bus Station. From there boats connect to [[Muang Ngoi Neua]].
 
* '''[[Huay_Xai|Huay Xai]]''' - 15 hours away. Public buses leave at 09.00 (arrive 12 midnight) or 17.00 (arrive 08.00, normal sleeping bus, not sleeper). Costs 135,000 kip.
 
* '''[[Huay_Xai|Huay Xai]]''' - 15 hours away. Public buses leave at 09.00 (arrive 12 midnight) or 17.00 (arrive 08.00, normal sleeping bus, not sleeper). Costs 135,000 kip.
  

Revision as of 19:26, 22 November 2009

Haw Kam, Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang, also Luang Phabang, Luang Phrabang and Louang Phrabang is the former capital of Laos and a UNESCO World Heritage city.

Contents

Understand

The main road, Xiang Thong, of Luang Prabang is a wonderful patchwork of traditional Lao wooden houses and hints of European architecture - reminders of when Laos was part of the French colony of Indochine. Golden-roofed wats (temples), decorated with mosaics and murals of the life of Buddha sit under the gaze of wrap-around balconies and 19th century shuttered windows. As a visitor, you cannot help but be amazed by the tidiness and cleanliness of this charming city.

Get in

By plane

Luang Prabang International Airport

The airport is just north of town and has scheduled flights from/to Vientiane, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hanoi and Siem Reap.

Visa-on-Arrival is available at the airport - price is variable based upon your nationality. 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 $1.

ASEAN nationals do not need a Visa to enter Laos for stays not exceeding 30 days.

Taxis into town cost about $6, whether you are by yourself or with 3 other people. There is a taxi counter just outside the arrival hall.

By road

Highway 13 connects Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng and Vientiane in the south and via Highway 1 to the north. Highway 13 is sealed and in good shape all the way to Vientiane. Though there have been incidents of violence along this stretch of road in the past, presently it is safe.

There are three bus stations, each a little bit out of town, which serve different directions. Tickets can be bought at every travel agent in town, at the bus station, or when boarding the bus (if there's space). Booking bus tickets through travel agents usually incurs hefty surcharges compared to doing it yourself. Just plan to arrive at the bus station between 30-45 minutes before your departure, and you should have plenty of time to make your purchases before you bus leaves. Tuk-tuk drivers know which bus station to go to for which destination. Ask around for bus schedules.

  • Vang Vieng - The air-conditioned so-called VIP bus costs 70,000 kip
  • Vientiane - Air-con VIP bus costs 115,000, more if booked through an agent. It should be noted that tickets purchased in Vientiane to Luang Prabang are more expensive than those purchased in Luang Prabang. Travelers have reported that the VIP bus can been a bit of bumpy ride, but is generally more reliable than the public bus. Those prone to motion sickness should know that this trip travels a winding, mountainous road.
  • Muang Xay - Takes about 5 hours. Costs 40,000 kip and points onwards, such as Luang Namtha, is done by public minibus only. Big backpacks are carried on the roof. Reservations are usually not necessary, just take care to go early in order to secure a good seat.
  • Luang Namtha - Takes 8-9 hours in good conditions. Direct local bus via Muang Xay at 09.00. Otherwise take bus to Muang Xay and switch there.
  • Nong Khiaw - 3 hours away by public bus from the Northern Bus Station. From there boats connect to Muang Ngoi Neua.
  • Huay Xai - 15 hours away. Public buses leave at 09.00 (arrive 12 midnight) or 17.00 (arrive 08.00, normal sleeping bus, not sleeper). Costs 135,000 kip.

By boat

Boats ply the Mekong to and from Huay Xai at the Thai border, stopping in Pakbeng where you can catch overland connections towards the northeast and the border with China. The trip takes 2 days by slow boat, or 6 bone-rattling hours by speedboat. There are also operators now offering 2-day "luxury" cruises.

If you have the opportunity, purchase a pillow from a local market before embarking on any boat ride that lasts longer than 2 hours. Expect to spend the night in Pakbeng if you're taking a slow boat (the safest option), or to arrive in Huay Xai deaf, shaken and either exhausted or exhilarated from three hours in a speedboat. There is also a twice-weekly "one day comfortable boat" between Luang Prabang and Huay Xai, but the cost is significantly higher.

Slow boats leave every day, usually around 8-9AM. The trip to Huay Xai costs 220,000 kip (Dec. 2008). If you can, just purchase your tickets at the boat landing because all the tour agencies in town charge a commission, and agents usually don't have reliable information about the quality of the boats. It is not uncommon to have to switch to a new boat in Pakbeng, so you may end up in a boat of higher or lower quality for the second half of the journey.

The slow-boat is generally packed - so much so that there may not enough seats to go round. Arriving early will mean a longer day, but most likely a better seat, towards the front and away from the engine. Earplugs are recommended, regardless of where you end up sitting. Travelers report that those who show up better-dressed may end up with better seats.

If you choose to travel on the speedboat (a light canoe with a very powerful engine), a crash helmet and life-jacket should be provided - it is not recommended to travel in a speedboat without this essential safety equipment. It is also recommended that you make your bags as waterproof/water-resistant as possible and wear a rainjacket - the boat can generate quite a bit of spray, plus any small showers you might encounter along the way will sting like needles against any exposed skin. On sunny days, sunscreen is invaluable as there is no roof/shade on these speed machines. The journey to Huay Xai can be reduced to as few as 4 hours in the wet season, with a lunch stop at Pakbeng. However, some consider this means of transportation less safe, especially in the dry season. Earplugs are strongly recommended. Travelers who are concerned about creating as little environmental impact as possible may want avoid speedboats, as they are heavier polluters than the slower options.

The third option is to take a "luxury" cruise. The major operators are Luang Say [2] and Nagi of Mekong [3]. As of 2009, both operate two-day cruises to Hauy Xai that stop in Pak Beng for the night. Although the journey takes as long as taking the slow boat, both operators offer vastly superior facilities and equipment than public slow boats, and you should be prepared to pay a premium for it.

There is no public boat service to Vientiane, but it may be possible to do the trip by private tourist boat when the water levels are high enough. Read more about fast and slow boats in the Laos country guide.

See

Monks receiving morning alms
  • Alms ceremony — Monks at dawn collecting alms of rice from kneeling villagers (and early-rising tourists). Ask your guesthouse host to assist you the day before in preparing if you'd like to get up and give alms in the morning. Please note that the alms giving ceremony is one which, while picturesque, is not without its detractors. Unscrupulous local merchants have used the eagerness of tourists to participate in a local tradition as a means of making easy money, and sometimes sell unsuitable, stale and even unsafe food. This has resulted in monks falling ill after having consumed the offerings, and resistance to continuing the tradition. However, the government has made it clear that the monks have to continue the tourist pageant or risk being replaced with lay people clothed in saffron robes in order to keep up appearances and thereby keep the tourist dollars rolling in. So if you wish to participate in this ceremony, prepare the food or fruit yourself, and avoid giving food of unknown quality.
  • Bear Rescue Center — Located adjacent to the way to the Kuang Si Waterfalls, the Bear Rescue Center has a enclosure for endangered Asiatic Black Bears that have been rescued from poachers. There was also an Indo-Chinese tiger, but sadly, the tiger had passed away as of May 2009.
  • Haw Kham — The former royal palace. There's also sometimes local drama or dance performances in the adjacent theatre. Presently under renovation so closed to public review. Also Haw Kham visitation has specific opening and closing hours, with lunch break closure from 11.30am to 1.30p. It is important to check the timings and plan the visit accordingly.
Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang
  • Kuang Si Falls — 29 km south of Luang Prabang. A large multi-stage waterfall, accessible by boat or truck hire. You can also rent a motorbike to transport yourself there. There are food and tourist stalls outside the waterfalls. It is worth putting a whole day aside (or more) for seeing these because they are a great place to relax and meet other travelers. There are multiple pools at different levels, all of which are reportedly safe to bathe in, and are extremely picturesque.
  • Night market — The night market features vendors selling all the typical Lao arts and crafts, some more touristy than others, and is set up every day along the main street parallel to the river. Be warned that it closes down around 9PM, unlike the similar markets in Thailand that go on well into the early hours. Please note that there may be some souvenirs available made from endangered animals. Avoid buying rare pets, leather, ivory, talons, dried sea creatures (starfish, etc.), fur, feathers, teeth, wool, and other products. This is the best place to buy lower end souvenirs and hone your bargaining skills.
  • Pak Ou Caves — The famous "Buddha caves" are north of town on the Mekong and can be reached by road (approx 1 hr) or river boat. Alternatively, you can hire canoes and a guide for the day, which would allow you to view the beautiful scenery and visit the caves without throngs of other tourists. It's also possible to finish the trip at the 'whisky village' where the local Laolao (lao rice spirit) is made. There are two caves - one on the entry level and another - the upper caves - on top of the hill. A very steep climb, but worth the efforts. A candle or torch recommended to see the upper cave, as it is dark.
  • Phou Si — The main hill in the city from which you have a good view of the whole area. It's quite a steep climb from the bottom and sunrise and sunset are the most sensible and rewarding times to go up. There is a near-panoramic view from the top. Entrance fee 20,000 kip.
  • Vat Xieng Toung — The oldest monastery in town and one of the most beautiful. Opens from 6am - 6pm. Entry fee 20,000 kip. One entrance on the road along Mekhong river, the other on the by-lane off the main road.

Do

  • The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre — This small but perfectly formed museum is dedicated to the ethnic cultures of Laos, find out more about the groups that make Laos so unique and enrich your visit to Luang Prabang. Sometimes closed for Exhibitions, so please check in advance.
  • Cooking class — One of the best ways to experience he local foods. The best bet is at the Tamnak Lao restaurant. The cost is 250,000 kip for the day class (10AM-5PM) and an 200,000 kip for the evening class (5:30PM-8:30PM). The day class includes a visit to a vibrant local market, 2 English-speaking Lao teachers, and fully-equipped cooking stations. Participants cook 6 dishes (lunch and dinner), and take home a recipe book highlighting 12 recipes and sections about local and essential Lao ingredients. The evening class teaches 3 dishes. Both classes include sticky rice and jeowbong.
  • Lao Red Cross — A traditional Lao sauna and massage, very popular with locals in the afternoon. Th Wisunarat, in front of Wat Wisunalat. 1 hour massage 32,000 kip, sauna 10,000 kip.
  • Rent a Motorbike — Although prices are astronomical by Southeast Asia standards ($17-$20 per day as of September 2009), riding around the surrounding areas of Luang Prabang is a fantastic way to see the countryside. It is recommeded to hire from the Government Tourist information centre, although there are several vendors around. Tank up with gasoline worth 10,000 kip (a little more then US$ 1) for the whole day. As usual practise, they will keep your passport, so make sure they know when you leave and how to recover your passport, as saturdays and sundays they are fully closed and other days they have specific working hours.
  • Vipassana temple and park — This golden temple, highly visible from Phou Si, is a shrine for Buddhists who practice Vipassana meditation.
  • Bowling — There's a perfectly decent bowling alley a few kilometers away from the city center that is open until 3 am. After 10 pm it gets crowded with Westerners who generally seem more interested in partying than bowling. Whatever your interest, this place is worth a visit if you want to have a break from the usual tourist stuff. Tuk-tuk drivers will know how to get there. The price of a game is 15,000 kip per person until midnight when it goes up to 20,000, though they may try to charge you more.
  • Sunset on the waterfront — Take a walk along the Mekong, or sit and enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants and watch the sun sink into the horizon.
  • Fair Trek Project [4]. People who love activities and treks may find some interesting interactive tours which are designed to support villages outside of Luang Prabang which is probably the only community based tourism initiative that really brings money into the funds. More info on the website or at Tiger Trail Tour Company shop.

Buy

Before you can buy anything in Luang Prabang you will need some money. US$ and Thai baht are widely accepted but the exchange rates vary. As of May 2009, there are a small number of ATM's accepting Visa, MasterCard, Maestro and Eurocards. These ATM's are situated in Sisavangvong Rd just near the end of the Night Market. The ATM's dispense currency in Lao Kip. If you arrive by plane, there is a bank at the airport which is open during a few hours of the day, so don't count on changing there. Also, their rates are significantly worse than the banks in town.

There are a growing number of money changers, located on Sisavangvong Rd or in the permanent markets further East. One is next to the ATM near the Night Markets, another is about 50m further North along the street, located out the front of one of the first restaurants (looks like a little tollbooth/shack). The rates offered may vary, so shop around before you change. Better may be to stick with official money changing services at a bank which are easily found.

A night market (on Sisavangvong Road) caters for tourists with every kind of souvenir you could want and closes at about 10 PM. Particularly good are the duvet covers, cushion covers and pillow sets. They can even make one up to the dimensions you require in one next day. Very good are hanging lamps, which are foldable to bring back. It is well worth a look and the hawkers are very pleasant to deal with and amzingly non-pushy by the standrard elsewhere in Asia. Good natured bargaining is the go but don't obsess over this and ruin your experience as well as giving the trader a bad day. It should be understood that the quality and design of goods is lower in the market than in the legions of increasingly chic stores in the town.

Laotian asthetic sense is quite evolved in its own way. For instance check out some of the higher end higher stores:

  • Caruso Lao, 60 Sakaline Rd, Luang Prabang, +856 71 254574, [5]. A fabulous gallery store showcasing the very best quality Lao silk and other handicrafts.
  • Erawan Arts [6] — This two floor showroom is located in a traditionally renovated historic house that dates back over 100 years. Displaying the finest 100% hand-woven and naturally dyed Lao silk and exotic wood products from throughout Laos, a share of the profits go directly to supporting Lao communities in need through several initiatives from installing fresh water systems to villages, providing books for schools, and running medical trips to remote areas. The owner is very informative and approachable, and happy to answer questions on Laos and give a tour on the architecture of this beautiful building.
  • Ock Pop Tok, 73/5 Ban Vat Nong, Luang Prabang, plus 2 other stores in town, +856 71 253219, [7]. An ethical trading company with superb galleries. Also run classes and visits to village weaving faciltiies.

Miscellany:

  • Weird cast-off Chinese goods at the local market.
  • Laos t-shirts, various local handicrafts, sewable flags, and scrapbooks for your tickets and other items are also available here.
  • Paintings on Lao handmade paper
  • Notebooks made with Lao handmade paper

Books can be a travelers home away from home and a way to escape heat/boredom/long bus rides. However, several book stores operating in and around the area that sell photocopies to unsuspecting travelers. For photocopies, if you do buy them, insist on checking them as many times pages are missing or pages are basically unreadable.

  • Book Exchange – If you want to exchange or buy a book (or books) go to the Tamnak Lao Restaurant Book Exchange. They have the best selection of books in Luang Prabang. The book exchange operates on a “one for one” basis plus 20,000 kip, and all books are available for purchase as well. All of the money raised by the book exchange goes to buying provisions for the Luang Prabang Government Orphanage School [www.lao-kids.org]. The Book Exchange is located in the laneway next to the restaurant.

Eat

Restaurants line Sisavangvong Road and the road along the Mekong. Food runs the line from standard Southeast Asian backpacker fare to more traditional Lao dishes, including buffalo sausage right up to very high quality French cuisine.

Local specialities include:

  • French baguettes and other bakery items. Extremely well done here.
  • Local watercress whioch is very peppery.
  • Fried dried seaweed with sesame seeds dipped in a chili sauce.
  • Buffalo steaks and sausages.

For more upscale options, try near the end of Sisavangvong Road (end of the Night Market) in a little alley (local buffet for 5000 kip). There are several boutique restaurants which serve quite nice fusion Asian food.

  • Blue Lagoon Café - A balanced mix of eastern and western delicacies are awaiting you at Blue Lagoon Café. You will find Laotian highlights and Swiss classics as well as tender local beef and a large variety of delicious snacks and fresh salad creations. The generously compiled drink list provides an exquisite selection of wine, fruit juice, cocktails, mocktails, beer and coffee. Located at the road to the Mekong river who start at the end of the night market, next to the national museum.
  • Boulevard Restaurant - A new Al Fresco style restaurant under the same wing of New Daraphet Villa behing JoMa Bakery. Owner has recently brought in sound equipment and a new acoustic guitar for music enthusiasts to jam. The restaurant has 2 sides for both proper dining and casual drinking. serves decent draft tiger beer and a great atmosphere for meeting new friends from the guesthouses along the street.
  • Cafe 5/6 - A nice two-floors cafe to relax and enjoy great tapas (10000 to 20000 Kiep) and shakes. They have chill background music and WiFi internet access. Located on Chao Fa Ngnum (about 150m West of the Post Office (La Poste).
  • Hmong Night Market (Vegetarian + Vegan) - One food stall says vegetarian and the other "végétalien" (vegan). Approximately 5000 K for a plate. Cash only. Market is open 5pm-10pm.
  • "The House" Restaurant & Bar specialises in Belgian & Italian Cuisine. It has an apealing range of Belgian Beers, wines and cocktails. Conveniently situated at the Nam Khan riverside of Mount Phousi, only 4 minutes walk away from the mainstreet and nightmarket. In the garden they have the only Petanque in town that's easily accessible for foreigners. Very popular and good ambience. For the experienced in search of comfort.
  • L'Elephant- Around the corner from Saffron Caffe. A lovely restaurant with a unique mix of Laotian and French cuisine. The food is extremely good, but has its price. It is directly in front of a small guesthouse, and not far away from Les 3 Nagas hotel and Villa Santi hotel. The ingredients are of the highest quality, ranging from French camambert to Laotian lemongrass and river weeds. The soups are very good, along with the tender and juicy local and french meat. The desserts are mouthwatering, and most of them have chocolate. Be warned though that the menu is both pricey and some items do not justify their price tag. This has a great ambience.
  • Indochina Spirit- Excellent Lao and Thai cuisine. Great value. Everything is tasty but try the minced fish and aubergines. Has old, stuffy, and not so pleasant odor in the interior tables, so be warned.
  • Shakes & Crepes- a no name place serving delicious shakes for 5000 kip and fantastic sweet crepes starting from 7000 kip. In front of Croissant d'Or on the main street.
  • Scandinavian Bakery- Serves western quality breakfasts, burgers and pizzas. Food must be paid for before eating. Staff seemed a little unreliable.
  • Tamarind - Near the famous restaurant l'Elephant. This is a part of the Stay Another Day organization. The food is all Laos traditional food. The waitstaff explains the menu to you and you have many options to choose from to experience a vast array of Laos food including platter combinations of dips, salads, etc. The waitstaff explains your meal to you when you get it so that you know how Lao people would eat it. In addition to the tasty food, they sell organic and fair trade food products, recipe books, and more. You can also book tours to markets, cooking courses, and more through the restaurant.
  • Sala Café-Nice place with a view on the Nam Khan river. This restaurant-bar offers an open air terrace where you can relax while trying homemade Vietnamese,French and Lao specialities. Menu regulars are pastries, Bourdaloue tart,Mango crumble,Chocolate mousse and cocktails including Mojito and Martini dry. Some people think it is a little bit expensive, but the quality has a price...
  • Tamnak Lao Restaurant - A great place for traditional Lao food at reasonable prices. Located in the main road opposite the Villa Santi Hotel, it has a fabulous upstairs balcony with a view over Villa Santi and down the main road. If you want to eat on the balcony you might have to book a table. We ate at other restaurants but found this by far the best. Make sure when you order your food, to order to entree first, and the main course after the entree has been served. Otherwise, it is possible that your salad will come after your checken main course, and you are expected to eat all together. So if you are in a habit of eating course by course, make sure you order such.
  • Utopia -Sports Bar & Restaurant in a spectacular garden setting on the Nam Khan riverbank. Attractions include a full size beach volleyball court (with floodlights); rope ladder climb 30 ft to a palm tree top crow's nest; the longest bar in Luang Prabang, serving a wide variety of drinks; 20 meter deck frontage with loungers and a million dollar view. The restaurant menu is basic but the food good & well presented; the staff invariably courteous & thoughtful. Although a little difficult to locate (Ban Aphay, opposite Wat Visoun, follow the UNESCO brick paths to the river),those who persevere invariably come away well satisfied. No TV, soccer videos & etc.! But plenty other opportunities to meet & interact with all ages and sorts. Unpretentious and a thoroughly enjoyable hang out (9 a.m. to curfew).

Drink

There are a number of places to drink around Luang Prabang, although the club scene isn't really existent. Most restaurants have tables outside where you can sit back with a beer or two.

  • Books and Tea L'Etranger - downstairs is a book shop/swap and upstairs there is a bar selling drinks and cake in a room covered in cushions for lazing around and reading. Movies everyday at 7pm. A tad greedy and unfriendly on the book exchange business.
  • "The Hive Bar" or the "Lao Lao Beer Garden" are the places to go at night and to meet people, if everything closes (at about 12pm) you can go to the "Vietnam Bar". This is invariably reached by all the remaining people at The Hive and Laos Beer Garden clubbing together and getting one or two tuktuks together. Lao residents are beginning to complain about the Hive and Laos Beer garden because of roudy foreigners and offers of drugs and prostitution. The Lao Lao Beer Garden also shows live sports in the day (unlike the 'Sports Bar' next to the night market, as we found out despite an earlier promise that it would!).
  • Mekong Sunset Beach Bar - The place to go to watch the sunset. Located at the river mouth of Nam Khan and Mekong, you have to cross the bamboo bridge behind Wat Xieng Thong and walk 3 min. Very simple but unbelievable. Floods in the wet season.
  • Morning Glory Cafe - On the quiet end of the main street, after 3 Nagas. Run by a laid-back couple. Thai and western food, Good wine, by the glass. Garden seating. Temple in front and street life can be seen.
  • Saffron Caffè - (around the corner from L'Elephant restaurant in Wat Nong village) - The Best coffee in Luang Prabang, if not in all of Laos! Fresh roasted coffee from the mountains of Luang Prabang itself, and an array of hot espresso drinks (we like the Caramel Macchiato) and iced coffees, including some Luang Prabang original recipes. Try the Banana Shake Macchiato for the most delicious drink experience in Luang Prabang! Delicious fresh baked goods such as their Cinnamon Swirls and Banana muffins go quickly. Granola and salad wraps are good. Saffron has now begun selling their coffee in gold foil bags again.
  • Tamarind - Kind of hard to find, but worth the effort of getting the tuk tuk driver to ask around where it is. This is a part of the Stay Another Day organization. They offer a variety of traditional Laos drinks including local fruits and tea. Also the cooking classes and local products such as creams, jam and so on are worth checking out!

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under $20
Mid-range $20-80
Splurge Over $80

Luang Prabang has the best selection of accommodation in Laos, with something to suit every budget. While the big chains have yet to make an appearance, there's plenty of "boutique" accommodation, although this heavily overused word runs the gamut from quirky to luxury.

Budget

  • Cold River Guesthouse. run by a local family and you meet often a lot of travellers. It's directly on the Khan River. Off peak times, it costs 80,000 kip. Unusually, they do not accept US$. Free filtered water and bananas are available. On Mondays they'll serve free home-cooked dinner.
  • Koun Savan Guest House, near the centre not very friendly nor clean nor quiet, US$7 rooms without bathroom (noisy), US$15 rooms with bathroom
  • Levady Guesthouse - in a lovely side street 50 m off the main street. Super nice family, wooden rooms and floor, bike rental, absolutely tidy. Double rooms with fan and private bathroom US$7, long term discounts on request.
  • Merry Guesthouse. has rooms for US$3 with bathroom outside. Free filtered water and bananas are available. Not so merry though, the options further down the alley (Cold River and Sysomphone) are more appealing.
  • Soutikkone Guest House. Central location near the night market and an Indian Restaurant. Large, clean rooms with a very hot shower, good Western toilet, and proper mosquito netting on the windows/door. Very nice wooden floorboards as well. The staff speak English. As of January, 2009, rooms are quoted at 120,000 kip, but they'll come down to 100,000 kip right away if you ask. Same discount on laundry service just by asking.
  • Sysomphone Guesthouse. on the same street, very friendly family. Free bananas and water. Owner has good information, offers you sticky rice if you stumble across dinner and collects traveller's photographs in an album. Rooms with shared hot-water bathrooms 40000 kip. A newer, cleaner building in the back has fresher rooms for 60000-70000 kip.
  • VannaPhone Guest House located 10 minutes away from the airport and about 4 minutes from the city. Ranging from $10-$15 (depending on what room you choose). Ok sized rooms with kind of small bathrooms. Noisy if you choose the rooms located close to the street but if you choose one of the new backrooms it is OK.
  • Vilay Guesthouse. Located near the night Market in a quiet street, this 10 rooms guesthouse proposes simple (but nice and clean) rooms, with or without private bathroom, with fan or air-co. From $4 in the low season. Located in the center, the owner speaks French and English. Exceptional: free Hi-speed Internet workstation, and free secured Wi-Fi. See Website
  • Vong Champa Guesthouse. centrally located in a small alley on the Mekong riverfront near the night market, cheap (singles from 30000 kip), quiet, brand new and spotless clean.
  • Xayana Guesthouse, [8][9]. Guesthouse in a Lao-style villa in the protected zone. Dorms from $4, rooms from $8.

Mid-range

  • Bouakham Chanthasack Guesthouse. A brand new, beautiful high end guesthouse on the Mekong riverfront near the night market. All rooms have bathrooms and air conditioning, very clean and nice, double rooms for $45. Owners are selling also the best chilli sauce in Luang Prabang.
  • Hotel De Lyon, out of town near the airport, [10][11]. New 24-room hotel built in "Lao-Colonial" style. Free airport and city shuttles. $45-60.
  • Jade Hotel, Phu Vao Rd, [12][13]. Modern hotel in an old protected Chinese-style building. Flat-screen TVs, free airport transfers. $30-70.
  • Manichan Guesthouse, [14]. Near the Night Market, centrally located, new and clean in green, peaceful environment. "Lao-Colonial" style house with wooden floors and homey feel rooms. Private and shared bathrooms with hot, separated showers. Free coffee corner. Chill out balcony with city view. Belgian-Lao management. Low season: US$7–15, high season: US$12–30 (including breakfast buffet). Air-con an optional extra US$4.
  • Merry Swiss Lao Located near Mt. Phousi not on the main street side, but the other side. The room was not clean, had moisture issues, and had a rooster pin attached. Two separate guests only stayed one night and had to check out due to noise. Room was $40 one night and $35 another. Rooms have private bathroom and air conditioning if needed.
  • New Daraphet Villa, [15][16]. Traditional Lao villa in the heritage zone, turned into a boutique hotel. Large terraces and lots of flowers. Airport transfer included. $30-60.
  • Rama Hotel A recently renovated higher end guesthouse. Hot water shower and air con if you need it. Rooms in February 2008 were $30 per night and included a decent breakfast. This hotel was fairly quiet with a little bit of traffic noise until about 11PM.
  • Refuge of the Last Dreamers, . Located on the other side of the Khan River, near the temple. The guesthouse is located in a beautifully restored building. It is owned by a young Australian guy, Niki. He provides a very relaxing atmosphere. To reach the guesthouse, at daytime, cross the bamboo bridge (2000 kip), at night you have to take the motor bridge further north.
  • Sabaidee Guest House.[17], 70 Thammikarat Road. There are lots of good guest houses along here this one is good value around $25 for a double en-suite room with breakfast included. There's a good laundrette just opposite the entrance too.
  • Villa Le TamTam, [18]. Superior Guest House conveniently located in a quiet steet just a minute walk from the city centre. Excellent service and peaceful atmosphere. Full breakfast included. $55-80.

Splurge

  • Ancient Luang Prabang.[19] In main st next to night market. No room numbers - names like "tiger room". Rooms not quite up to standard for this price - no shower curtain and cleverly designed taps to ensure a wet floor, no bedside table, no reading light. However clean and comfortable. Friendly staff and no cost for airport transfer. Note that internet is not free.
  • The Apsara, +856 71 254670 (), [20]. A quite wonderful hotel in a restored colonial building overlooking the Khan river on Kingkitsarath Road. All rooms are tastefully decorated with local fabrics and furniture and very much in keeping with the hip and funky image of the hotel. Try to stay in the original building if you can. Superb French/Asian restaurant in the lobby. US$ 75 to 120.
  • La Residence Phou Vao.[21] Amongst the town's prime hotels, this resort nestles amongst landscaped grounds and gardens, and has picturesque views over Phou Si and the World Heritage town. The property has a traditional Lao spa and a restaurant offering both indigenous and French cuisine. Regular shuttles are provided and boat trips arranged. An Orient-Express Hotel.
  • Les 3 Nagas Hotel. a nice colonial hotel with 7 rooms on one side and 8 on the other. The restaurant is fairly cheap, but the rooms are rather overpriced. There are a few executive suites, the most costly coming with their own set of stairs. But beware: your nights may be troubled as there is a rooster that sings every morning at the hotel, at about 3AM. The attitude of the owner has put off some guests who report this in forums.
  • Sala Luang Prabang. fine restored colonial villa with comfortable rooms, but it has its price. It has been ordered to change its name as "sala" is considered inappropriate by the local and UNESCO authorities, representing the Buddha.
  • The Grand. an atmospheric set of comfortable neo-colonial buildings on the site of Prince Phetsarath's old residence. Many rooms have idyllic views of both the Mekong River and the hotels gardens and ponds. Located around 4 km from town (a regular shuttle boat and bus service runs for guests), this hotel is enables the discerning tourist to escape from the hum of the city. During the winter season, breakfast is served outdoors on a terrace with spectacular views of the Mekong River and the surrounding hills that emerge from the morning mist.
  • Villa Santi Resort - villa-style resort, good restaurant, (unfortunately) terrible mosquito infested pool, massage and spa service.
  • "Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel" - this is an old palace transformed into a hotel, with the "Angsana Spa" within the hotel. Spacious rooms with great amenities. Each room with a balcony. Small but clean swimming pool, hearty breakfast, all staff know you by name as there are only 24 rooms. Within walking distance to all the attractions.
  • Santi Resort & Spa, Villa Santi Hotel & Resort, Sakkarine Road, PO Box 681, Luang Prabang, Laos, (856-71) 252157, [22]. The Villa Santi Hotel is known as one of the most charming boutique hotels in the world, certified by many international travel writers. The boutique hotel features 23 Deluxe Rooms and 2 Deluxe Suites, all elegantly decorated in charming Royal Laotian Theme. All Deluxe Rooms are set with authentic Lao rosewood furnishings and genuine Lao silk textiles. All rooms are complemented with individually controlled air conditioning, mini bar, writing desk with stationary, in-room safety box, bathtub with hot and cold shower, bathrobes and slippers.

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