City Orientation Walk, Luang Prabang (Self Guided)

Luang Prabang is the tidiest and most culture-oriented city in Laos. Inhabited for thousands of years, it was the country's royal capital until 1975. The city is known for a plethora of cultural and historic attractions, much as for the abundance of Buddhist temples – wats – including the gilded 16th century Wat Xieng Thong, and Wat Mai, the former residence of Laotian chief Buddhist. To learn more about Luang Prabang's main attractions, follow this orientation walk.
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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: Laos » Luang Prabang (See other walking tours in Luang Prabang)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 14
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 km
Author: Cathy
1
Wat Mahathat

1) Wat Mahathat (must see)

Wat Mahathat, also known as Wat That was established in 1548 by King Say Setthathirath. In 1900, the main hall of the temple suffered a terrible blow and was rebuilt in 1910. Since then, it has been restored several times, with some new and beautiful elements being added to the facade and to the interior of Wat Mahathat. It is one of the most richly decorated temples in Luang Prabang.
2
Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre

2) Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (must see)

The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre which provides information about the Laoan culture and traditions. It includes all the ethnicities in the country. It contains a wide collection of objects which represent the religion, lifestyle and character of the locals. Many seminars, exhibitions and other similar activities are often held in the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre. Even if it was opened only in 2007, it became very popular among locals and tourists.

Operation hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 9 am – 6 pm
3
Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham

3) Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham (must see)

Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham is the largest temple in the city. Its name signifies "the new monastery of the golden land". Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham was built by King Anurat in 1796. Later, King Manthathourat completed it with new, more beautiful elements and gave the temple its present name. The facade of Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham is decorated with buddhist legendary scenes. For many years, the present temple was the host of the most famous Buddha image in the city.
4
Hmong Night Market

4) Hmong Night Market (must see)

Hmong Night market is definitely the most popular shopping spot in Luang Prabang, both among local people and among visitors. Every evening of the week, local salesman from the neighbourhood localities provide home-made products of all kinds, from traditional food and ingredients to baskets and wooden souvenirs. Bargaining at the evening market is usually welcome, but even so, prices are lower than in any other market or shop in the city.

Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 5 pm - 9:30 pm
5
Haw Pha Bang

5) Haw Pha Bang

Haw Pha Bang is the shrine of the Royal Palace. It was built in 1963. Even if it's relatively new compared to other similar buildings in Luang Prabang, it is constructed using similar elements and techniques. Haw Pha Bang hosts the most sacred Buddhist image in Luang Prabang, which is held in a pavilion. The shrine suffered hardships from 1975 until 1993, when it was restored.
6
Royal Palace National Museum

6) Royal Palace National Museum (must see)

The Royal Palace was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. The site for the palace was chosen so that official visitors to Luang Prabang could disembark from their river voyages directly below the palace and be received there. In 1975, the palace was converted into a national museum.

The architecture of the building has a mixed of traditional Lao motifs and French Beaux Arts styles, and has been laid out in a double-cruciform shape with the entrance on one side of the lower crossbar. Above the entrance is a three-headed elephant sheltered by the sacred white parasol, the symbol of the Lao monarchy. On the right of the entrance is the King's reception room, where busts of the Lao monarchy are displayed along with two large gilded and lacquered Ramayana screens, crafted by the local artisan Thit Tanh. On the left of the entrance hall, the secretary's reception room is filled with paintings, silver and china that have been presented to Laos as diplomatic gifts.

The throne room contains the Crown Jewels of Laos.

Opening hours: Wednesday - Monday: 8:30 am - 11 am & 1:30 pm - 4 pm

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Wat Xieng Muan

7) Wat Xieng Muan (must see)

Wat Xieng Muan is an antique temple in Luang Prabang. The full name of this temple is at Xieng Muan Vajiramangalaram. It was built in 1853 by Phragna Sisonxay. This temple was restored and is preserved by the UNESCO project. It has a very specific construction, the roof, balustrades and walls being built in a very special style. Wat Xieng Muan also has a nice classroom, where novice monks study the art of painting, carving in wood and other skills.
8
Wat Xieng Thong

8) Wat Xieng Thong (must see)

Wat Xieng Thong is a Buddhist temple, located on the northern tip of the peninsula of Luang Phrabang, Laos. It was built in 1560 by King Setthathirath and was under royal patronage during the Kingdom of Laos. Like the royal palace, the wat was placed near the mekong. In 1880, the Tripitaka Library was added and the drum tower followed in 1961. There are several small halls and stupas that contain Buddha images of the period. There is a reclining Buddha sanctuary, which contains an especially rare reclining Buddha that dates from the construction of the temple. In 1931, the image was taken to Paris and displayed at the Paris Exhibition and was kept in Vientiane until 1964, when it returned to Luang Phrabang. At the near compound's eastern gate stands the royal funerary carriage house, which houses the funeral carriage; it stands 12 meters high and there are various urns for members of the royal family.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Wat Sensoukarahm

9) Wat Sensoukarahm (must see)

Wat Sensoukarahm is a temple near the Mekong River. It was built in 1718. Because of the damages it underwent throughout its history, the temple was renovated a few times - in 1932 and 1957. The facade of Wat Sensoukarahm is one of the most fascinating in the whole Luang Prabang. This temple is built in Thai style, but is different from the other temples due to its bright red colour embroidered with gold ornaments.
10
Wat Aham

10) Wat Aham (must see)

Wat Aham, which translates to Monastery of the Open Hearted, is located in the center of Luang Prabang. The temple is famous due to the fact that it hosted the Supreme Patriach of Laotian Buddhism in the nineteenth century. It contains a shrine dedicated to worship of the spirits, whose shrines were destroyed and interdicted throughout history. Nowadays it is used for preserving the ritual costumes which are used in different traditional celebrations.
11
Wat Wisunalat

11) Wat Wisunalat (must see)

Wat Wisunalat, also called Wat Vixoun is the oldest temple in Luang Prabang. It was named in honor of King Wisunalat. He was the one who built the present building. The temple suffered a big fire in 1887, but was restored afterwards, its design remaining almost the same. Wat Wisunalat contains a very big collection of different Buddhas made from diverse materials like wood and bronze. The Watermelon Pagoda is also a very famous element of Wat Wisunalat.
12
Wat Tham Phu Si

12) Wat Tham Phu Si (must see)

Wat Tham Phu Si is a temple located in the downhill right center of Luang Prabang, overlooking the River Khan. The temple is located in a small cave. It contains one of the oldest statues of Buddha, done in Pha Kachai style. Wat Tham Phu Si is the most notable attraction on the Phu Si hill.
13
That Chomsi

13) That Chomsi

Initially constructed in 1804 by King Anourathurath, That Chomsi was restored in 1914 and again in 1926 when the 328-step staircase was erected. Due to its peculiar position on top of the hill, the rectangular shape stupa stays on a three-tiered base with lotus-flower designs in the four corners. From foot to tip, the stupa measures 21 metres. A terrace at the foot of the stupa offers a momentous panoramic sight of the town.
14
Phu Si Hill

14) Phu Si Hill (must see)

The Phou Si Hill is a small hill in the center of the city; the stairs leading to the top are located across the Royal Palace. All the way at the top of Phou Si, there are numerous attractions: shrines, temples and Buddha statues. A few of the temples on the hill are That Chomsi, Wat Phra Buddabhat and Wat Pa Huak. The view from the Phou Si Hill's top is absolutely breathtaking, providing a view of the entire city.

Walking Tours in Luang Prabang, Laos

Create Your Own Walk in Luang Prabang

Create Your Own Walk in Luang Prabang

Creating your own self-guided walk in Luang Prabang is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Luang Prabang Culture Exploring Tour

Luang Prabang Culture Exploring Tour

Luang Prabang, being the cultural capital of Laos, has numerous places to explore in order to learn about the Laoan traditions and lifestyle. Everything in Luang Prabang is special and exotic, from the food, in its preparation and ingredients to the silk weaving skills and art. The locals are always happy to explain and cherish their experience and talents with curious foreigners.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
Luang Prabang Temple Walking Tour

Luang Prabang Temple Walking Tour

Luang Prabang is a city with an unbelievable number of temples, called Wats in Thai. All of them are absolute works of art, ornate with exclusive decoration reflecting both religious events and simple life sequences. Some of the temples date back to the 16th century. All of them are hosted by Laoan monks, who are usually very friendly with tourists.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 km
Luang Prabang Shopping Tour

Luang Prabang Shopping Tour

Luang Prabang is a very interesting place to shop. Because the culture and traditions of the Laoan people are very rich, there are numerous products that will remind the buyers of the local spirt. The most famous shopping spots are the night market and the morning market, but all the shops around Luang Prabang are as well perfect showcases of Luang Prabang art.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Luang Prabang for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Luang Prabang has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Luang Prabang, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.