Luang Prabang, literally: "Royal Buddha Image (in the Dispelling Fear mudra)" is a city located where the Nam Khan river meets the Mekong River. It is the capital of Luang Prabang Province. The current population of the city is about 103,000. 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 a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city is well known for its numerous temples and monasteries. Every morning, hundreds of monks from the various monasteries walk through the streets collecting alms. The major landmarks in the city is a large steep hill (Mount Phousi) on which sits Wat Chom Si. Best way to get around town is to hire a bike, and explore the varied Lao architecture, and daily lives of those living in this small town. Home to the only university of the north of Laos, Luang Prabang has many students that come from provinces near and far, many that work in all the tourist outlets of the town.
Kuangsi Waterfall is a major attraction approx. 30km out of town, accessible by mountain bike, tuk tuk, boat and local tuk tuk. These falls are beautiful all year round and have great swimming pools and picnic areas. Hike up to the top for a great view. It is a relaxing day or afternoon out, and a lot cooler than Luang Prabang.
After a walk through the night market, and a cheap feed there, backpackers congregate around the bars along the Nam Khan side of town, Lao Lao Garden, Hive Bar and Utopia. Curfew is at midnight but these bars often have parties that go on beyond midnight, otherwise go to the two nightclubs Dao Fa and C star and if you want to go all night the Bowling Alley is about 10mins from town. For a unique Lao experience try the early night club Meung Swa and feel you are back in time.