After a brief stopover in Bangkok, the first port of call in Laos is the World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang. It’s notable especially for the number of monasteries and the architecture transpiring from that.
It’s probably the number one Laos destination for the tourist, indeed all too often it’s a case of arriving here for a couple of days and then flying out again. Over the next week or so I’ll be explaining more of what the country has to offer as I go through more of it.
Luang Prabang isn’t a big place by any means, only around 60,000 people, but those numbers swell massively during the peak season and therein lies on of the issues. It’s a sensitive place in that excessive tourism can damage what has made it so popular in the first place, which is why coming here out of season is not a bad idea at all. Getting into the restaurants, walking through the night market, seeing the surrounding sights – it’s all easier and more rewarding slightly out of season. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come in the peak of course, but it’s worth considering outside of those times because this isn’t a destination to lounge around the pool anyway. It’s somewhere to explore.
Indeed managing the growth in tourism has been one of the challenges faced by the town and fortunately its World Heritage status limits development, especially in the centre. The hotel growth is mostly out of town.
Tomorrow will be about exploring properly, and more will be posted then.