Luang Prabang, Laos in 7 Photos

color umbrella

Visiting Luang Prabang, located in northern Laos, was both an unlikely destination for me and a memorable one. It was an opportunity to relax in a quiet mountain town and recuperate from the hectic chaos of Bangkok. There were a lot of memorable experiences, but these seven photos encapsulate the week spent in Luang Prabang from my eyes.


1. Buddhist monks – The former capital of Laos, Luang Prabang has long been home to scores of temples housing thousands of Buddhist monks. Today there are slightly more than 30 active temples and about 1,000 monks in Luang Prabang, many young novices who are training under the more senior monks. The modestly attired monks are a constant fixture in town and indeed define the experience of visiting Luang Prabang for many.

2. Modest living – Luang Prabang is a relatively small town, home to about 50,000 residents and seemingly just as many motorbikes. Although the chaos of Bangkok or Vientiane doesn’t permeate this far north, it’s hard not to be struck by the austere living conditions of many in town. Scenes like this one drove home how important tourism is to Luang Prabang, while at the same time threatening its very existence.

3. Beautiful scenery – Bordered by mountains and rivers, there is no shortage of gorgeous views in Luang Prabang, especially at sunset. Staying at the luxury hotel La Residence Phou Vao, it was a pleasure every night to enjoy the peace and quiet of night in Luang Prabang while meditating over vistas like this one.

4. Night market – Like most cities in Southeast Asia, Luang Prabang has an active and interesting night market. While the goods tend to be geared towards the tourist market, the food is decidedly for the locals. You can find everything from roasted meats and noodles to delicious iced drinks, perfect for a hot and steamy night in the tropics.

5. Ancient beliefs – The naga image pictured here is found throughout Luang Prabang, a mix of ancient animist beliefs with the newer Buddhism. According to legend there are 15 naga guardians in the river and land surrounding the city, protecting it from harm. I found the images to be oddly beautiful, unusual but powerful.

6. Temple Life – Given the number of Buddhist temples in town, it’s hard not to find yourself wandering the grounds of them, an odd interloper into a serene lifestyle. I couldn’t help but imagine the life this very young monk will lead and how he will see Luang Prabang and all of Laos change over his lifetime.

7. Night market food Part II – The night markets were so important to my visit that I had to include another image of them. I have no idea what this gentleman’s name is, but he sold me my nightly ration of cooked meat. I wasn’t always certain what I was eating, but with delicious grease dripping off the skewer few things had ever tasted as good.

By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

10 thoughts on “Luang Prabang, Laos in 7 Photos”

  1. I always love your photos Matt! You didn’t find Luang Prabang a bit overtouristed?
    Everyone seems to love the city but we we’re overly impressed…sometimes I wonder if we have to give the place a try again.

    1. Thanks! And no I didn’t find the tourists overwhelming. Were they there? Of course, but it was fine. The worse of it was during the morning alms ceremony of course. Other than that I found it a quiet, relaxing town

  2. I think I have a photo of the same guy at Luang Prabang’s night market! I love that city. You have just inspired me to resurrect some of my old Laotian pics for a photo essay or two :-)

  3. Great photos Matt. We were there just last week. Loved everything about this town. The people were very friendly, the food was delicious at the markets and Kuang Si waterfall was so magical. We really enjoyed ourselves. Safe Travels.

  4. Hey Matt – how was the weather in September? In the process of planning a trip in mid-September – Rain or shine we’re going – just curious of your experience.

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