There’s a quiet gentility in Luang Prabang that captivates all who visit.
The old royal capital of Laos – up in the northwest, at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers – is a charming place of temples, monasteries and pagodas, of tumbling frangipanis and golden dragons. The bicycle and the river still dominate life here, while restaurants and guest houses occupy handsome French colonial buildings. It’s beautiful, serene and remarkable, in equal measure.
Yet it’s retained a dignity in the face of increasing numbers of tourists, underpinned by the lines of saffron-robed monks who wend their way through town each morning after dawn, collecting alms left out by the locals.
There couldn’t be a more elegant statement of what’s important in Luang Prabang – not business or tourism or modernity, but the simple offerings of a population entirely in tune with its past.