The primeval city in the north of the country is a charming mix of delicate temples and French regal buildings. Here is an itinerary on how to explore Luang Prabang, Laos in style budget and style.
In the morning, visit The Royal Palace constructed by French colonialists between 1904 and 09. The palace is a fusion of Lao and French architecture, hallmarked by a three-headed elephant under a parasol which is the royal symbol of Laos. The throne room gleams with mosaic emerald palms, lapis lazuli elephants, silver rivers, and golden robes. In addition, check out the royal cars display with the royal logo entrenched in car doors and number plates.
Go to the Wat Mai palace, still in Luang Prabang, which was built in 1788. The place is popular for its magnificent bas-relief work, golden stenciling of its assembly hall, and for the ritual cleansing of the Phra Bang in the course of Lao New Year. Tread along the main Sisavangvong peninsula road, bending into the left-hand backstreet for a drink at the Luang Prabang Artisans Café. Moreover, see local communities with spruced up designs rented by foreigners. Towards the end of the peninsula, you can find the Hotel Villa Santi and the Three Nagas Hotel, with its antique Citroën and Mercedes cars parked outside.
You can dine at L'Elephant Vert in Luang Prabang, with its living cuisine set meals serving tomato carpaccio and coriander and mustard mousse. In addition, you can visit the small Cafe Toui where friendly Toui serves souisi pa, and a twist on the Cuban mojito, a cojito, prepared with Lao basil, lemongrass, and Malibu rum.
For a serene take on Luang Prabang, The Guardian recommends the new and chic Bounmi cruise along the Mekong with expat Adele Frigon. After sunset, graze around the town's night market trying grilled chicken or fish on bamboo skewers, a bowl of noodle soup, and sweets made from coconut. You can also feast on tilapia ceviche at Tangor.