In 1995, Luang Prabang became a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique and remarkable architectural, religious and cultural heritage. With over 40 temples, its colonial private mansions and amazing landscape around the Mekong river, it is a pleasure to walk or ride in the historical area (every hotel has bicycle for free). Do not miss the almsgiving for the monk every morning, although it is quite touristic nowadays, it remains a very touching moment. What I would personally recommend is to look carefully at this ceremony, without taking part of it if you are not really familiar with Buddhism. Most of the travel agent are trying to make money with this ceremony by proposing you to take part, buy some food etc… but it is quite the opposite of the spirit. Be respectfully, especially when taking pictures. It is a spiritual walk in silence, just enjoy this beautiful moment without disturbing.
The old city part is at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers and is the Historic Royal Capital. A growing number of tourists are discovering the serenity and charm of this French colonial enclave in the jungle of the Mekong of northern Lao. You will experience the bliss and inner peace coming from this place! It used to be the favourite of the backpackers, but not anymore! Thanks to the UNESCO light, the place attracts more upper class tourists, and the hotels trend to be also more luxurious than before.
You should visit it for the exceptional view, and it will help to understand the geography of the place.
Wat Xientong temple
It it is one of the most important temples in Laos. It is located at the end of the peninsula at the confluence of the Mekong and the Nam Khan River. It was formerly known as the Temple of the Golden City and was considered as a gateway to the city. It was built around 1560 by King Setthathirat, who ruled from 1548 to 1571 in memory of the legendary King Chanthaphanith, whose stories are represented inside the main building. The wat Xieng Thong was completely renovated. This magnificent temple is located in a peaceful environment among very old banyan trees, palms, frangipani, scarlet flamboyant and purple bougainvillea. Its classic style with all its sanctuaries and chapels provides an aura of serenity.
Another must do in Luang Prabang is to watch the film Chang, a drama of the Wilderness (1927) by the same directors as the film King Kong. This amazing film describes the life of a farmer and his family in the jungle. It is one of the first documentaries of history of cinema. You can see this movie free of charge in two places in Luang Prabang: The Luang Say residence every Mondays in 1861 Bar (7 and 9 PM), and in Victoria Xiengthong Palace, while having a drink and a snack every day at 7PM.
And if you have some more time!
OCK Pop Tok silk weaving village; one of my friend has the great opportunity to experiment this amazing 2 days training. If you have time and little ability for sewing, it is a must do! You will leave with your own piece of fabric, having followed the whole process from dying to weaving.