Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Luang Prabang Hotels, Buildings and Restaurants Part 2


Hotels, Buildings and Restaurants in Luang Prabang Luang Prabang Hotels, Restaurants and Buildings is a series of photographs taken by David Jr from Malaysia Asia from this UNESCO World Heritage Site in Laos. 

Some of the buildings here are odd shaped while most of them are original French styled colonial buildings built during the French influence back in the day.

There are no modern developments done here therefore everything you see is as original as it can get. This means, you will not find any modern designed chain hotels or even fast food joints here. Luang Prabang is a truly beautiful place to travel and visit.

Luang Prabang Hotels, Buildings and Restaurants

Luang Prabang old wooden buildings

Walking around Luang Prabang town area can be done in a few hours, but it took me longer than that due to multiple stops admiring some of these beautiful structures and  buildings.

While most of them are brick, there are still some which are in pure wood and some even in a mix of wood and stone giving it a natural state of beauty.

The Blue House in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang's old buildings are mostly converted into businesses like boutique hotels, guest houses, villas, restaurants and cafes.

The new generation Lao people are taking advantage of the UNESCO status by turning some of these buildings into craft and souvenir shops or even traditional massage centers.

The Apsara Hotel in Luang Prabang

Among the boutique hotels and guest houses in Luang Prabang, The Apsara Hotel is one of them. Housed in an old colonial building which has been carefully renovated, the Apsara sits along the Nam Khan River in the quieter part of town.

Prices are around the USD$130's so be prepared to splurge here. There is no Internet, TV or radio therefore making this is a great place to seek some peace and quiet.

Luang Prabang Say Nam Khan Hotel
Say Nam Khan Guest House
One thing for sure in LP is that the amount of guest houses are abundant. You see them just about everywhere around town making choices pretty hard to choose from.

Some cheaper ones even in the back lanes off the main roads. This guest house in the picture above is called 'Say Nam Khan Guest House' located just in the town area on Ban Wat Sene Road.

Prices are from USD$25.00 for a single to USD$50.00 for a VIP room.

Sok Xai Guesthouse
Villa Sokxai or Sok Xai Guesthouse
Some of the guest houses may even term themselves as villas as the one in the picture above. Called 'Sokxai Guest House' or Villa Sokxai as it is now known, it is housed in one of the old colonial bungalow buildings in town area.

Prices range from USD$25.00 to USD$60.00 here and they do not accept credit cards for now. But check again if you are headed here.

Luang Prabang Khem Khong Guesthouse
Khem Khong Guest House
Along the road by the mighty Mekong River, you will find this narrow guest house with a small balcony up top.

Called 'View Khem Khong Guest House', the room you may want to check in is room number 909. This is the one right above the lobby with the best balcony view of the streets and river.

Rates here are from USD$25.00 to USD$70.00 depending on the season.

Luang Prabang Villa Senesouk Guesthouse
Villa Senesouk Guesthouse in Luang Prabang
Another guest house which has recently been changed to Villa is the 'Sene Souk Guesthouse' or now known as Villa Senesouk.

Prices for this basic style hotel ranges from around USD$25.00 to USD$50.00 per room. Nice old charm look and feel  if you stay at this place.



River Lodge Hotel Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang River Lodge Hotel
With 13 rooms here, the Luang Prabang River Lodge is one of the few hotels that are facing the Mekong River.

Prices here range from USD$40.00 to USD$60.00 and this hotel is located very close to the famous Hmong Market, Royal Palace Museum and Phu Si Hill therefore is suitable for those who dislike long walks.

Luang Prabang 3 Nagas Hotel
3 Nagas Hotel
Another famous or popular hotel is the '3 Nagas Hotel by ALiLA'. Fully restored in 2003, this is one of the nicer hotels on the pricier side were it starts at USD$125.00 onwards.

From the front it looks basic but when you go inside or around, you will see how far in the compound stretches back. A little on the high end but well worth the experience for those who are willing to spend.

Luang Prabang Nam Khan River
Nam Khan River Office
Walking along the Nam Khan River, I stumbled across the Navigation Office of Luang Prabang, and to my surprise, the office still remains in full wood.

I guess work here is pretty easy as only long boats or hotel boats pass through the Mekong River or Nam Khan River, which purely cater to the tourist.

Royal Palace Museum of Luang Prabang

Royal Palace Museum Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang Royal Palace Museum
Along the main road which is called Sisavangvong Road, you are bound to pass this huge compound which houses the Royal Palace Museum which is locally known as Haw Kham or Golden Hall.

This amazing place was build back in 1904 during the French colonial era for the King and his family. In 1975, the monarchy was overthrown by the communist and since then it was converted into a museum in 1995.

There are visiting times and an entrance fee here with some strict rules. Please see the end of this posting for more details.

Luang Prabang Royal Palace Museum
  • Admission - 30,000 Kips (USD$3.00)
  • No photography is allowed inside the museum
  • You must leave your bags in lockers near the entrance
  • You must remove your shoes before entering
  • You need to be dressed conservatively
  • Open Monday to Saturday from 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM, 1.30 PM to 4.00PM
Guesthouses in Luang Prabang
Typical guest houses with balcony
Some of the colonial guest houses have a decent small seating place right in front of the building. It is here where you will see the travelers sipping Lao Coffee and watching daily life of the locals in Luang Prabang.

Occasionally you see orange robed monks passing by, and waving to you in a friendly manner, only to be returning the gesture.

Main street of Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang's main street
One of the main streets in the town of Luang Prabang. In the day, tourist are seen moving up and down heading all around.

ome to the day markets, some to the hill and some just wandering around. In the evenings when the sun sets, cafes come alive and so does the Luang Prabang Night Market.

Hundreds of Lao vendors are seen selling various items from lamp shades to blankets and silver wear to paintings.

School in Luang Prabang
Lao school children play during break
A typical Lao school housed in one of the old colonial single storey buildings with a dirt compound was also spotted during my walk around the town area here. 

English is taught as an additional language in some of the schools here while it is also taught in many of the monasteries.

You will be surprised when some of the younger monks come and ask you questions in English, as they are thought this is school.

School Girl from Luang Prabang
A Lao schoolgirl poses for a picture
Children are seen playing during a break and some of them sit by the 3 feet wall looking at tourist passing by.

Some even try to communicate with the travelers which provide some entertainment to both parties like the child above did with her sweet smile.

Luang Prabang Traditional Massage center
Luang Prabang Traditional Steam Bath and Massage center
Further off the main town area, you will see various colonial buildings which houses Traditional Lao Steam Baths.

Some come all-in-one with Traditional Lao Massage or even a Traditional Lao Medicinal Message. These are proper places which have experienced Lao people attending to you so fear not.

Luang Prabang David
Me taking a quick pose outside some of the Luang PRabang massage centers
Oh well, I just could not resist taking a picture in front of some local Lao Massage centers, and if you explore this part of town, you would find most of them around the river area.

The ones in town are a little more expensive but then again, my expensive would range around US$10.00. A tip is to explore and shop for prices for any traditional Lao massage.



Architecture in Luang Prabang
Some of the more modern contemporary buildings in Luang Prabang
Because of the UNESCO status in Luang Prabang, most developments are re-constructing older buildings or even re-building new ones which follow the colonial style.

One of the new projects as in the picture above are some new villas or hotels and not to worry as you will not find any modern buildings here.

Laha quality natural textiles shop
One of the old French inspired buildings in Luang Prabang
An old French inspired colonial building is seen selling traditional Lao textiles. The place is called Laha Quality Natural Textiles and has a good collection of these beautiful Lao designed fabrics.

The building is also located just near the Phu Si Hill or Royal Palace, it is just a short walk from main town.

L'Elephant French Restaurant in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang L'Elephant Restaurant
L'Elephant French Restaurant in Luang Prabang
Apparently one of the most popular restaurants in Luang Prabang, L'Elephant Restaurant, serves French and Lao cuisine which are grown in their own little garden.

This well known restaurant is also run by a French man and his French-Lao partner since opening, and this place is always full so please make reservations.

Famous people like Mick Jagger and Kylie Minogue have dined here and L'Elephant Restaurant has been reviewed by the New York Times, Bangkok Post and various other media.

L'Elephant Restaurant address
Luang Prabang, Lao P.D.R
Tel: +856 71 252 482
Fax: +856 71 252 492

Luang Prabang Aroma Spa and Beauty
Aroma Spa and Beauty center in town
In the main town area of Luang Prabang, you are guaranteed to come across various spas and beauty centers, namely for the women.

For the ladies, please do not let go of this opportunity as they provide one of the best spas and treatments around, and all this for a fraction of what you are used to paying back home.

Somehow I got roped in by my travelling partner after much persuasion, and we took up a 4 hour spa for only US$25.00 per person. Now that is very worth it if you ask me. 

Hotel and Guest House in Luang Prabang
  • The Apsara Hotel
  • Say Nam Khan Guesthouse
  • Hotel Sok Xai Guesthouse / Villa Sokxai
  • View Khem Khong Guesthouse
  • Sene Souk Guest House / Villa Senesouk
  • Luang Prabang River Lodge
  • 3 Nagas Hotel
As you may already know, this article was written back in 2009, when I visited in late 2008. Hence there have been more hotels, resorts and guest houses built since then. 

This article can be a guide to some of the more established places, since they have been in operation from early 2000. 
Conclusion

As I traveled around Luang Prabang Town, I pretty much took a lot of photos, and documented this place back in 2008, and this place was still considered a new destination back then.

I also visited a local place called Whisky Village which is highly recommended to explore if it is your first time here.

The village was actually a stopover on the way to see the amazing Pak Ou Buddha Caves. whis is another amazing must-visit place in Luang Prabang.

If you are exploring the main town area, don't forget to visit the famous Phu Si Hill for an amazing sunset of Luang  Prabang.

Make sure the weather is good on that day and be early so you can get a good spot to sit and just absorb the natural beauty.

If you have never been to this part of Indo China, I would recommend this place with no hesitation. The best time to visit LP would be around Dec to March as the weather here is really cooling too.

Here is also a list of things to do in Luang Prabang for those planning a trip to visit this UNESCO World Heritage town in Laos.

While you are here, do not forget to admire the natural beauty of all the Luang Prabang buildings, hotels and restaurants that are found all over the town area. 

7 comments:

wayangtimes said...

hey voted for u. good luck! ;)

Cath J said...

Very nice places... Laos.. Mmm... never been there yet.. ^_^

Thanks for the info...

Anonymous said...

More old buildings should be restored and converted into boutique hotels, museums etc...rather than being demolished to make way for modern structures.

The mindset over here (KL) is really very different from those in other parts of the world.

Nicholas Leong said...

Hey David,

Not exactly the most professional manner to get in touch but I have looked around and couldn't find an email where I can drop a line to.

I am looking to interest you in an engagement on a Malaysian natural resource that needs to be conserved and managed properly. We are looking at speaking to a few bloggers and I believe you fit the bill.

Appreciate it if you can drop me a line for me to get in touch with you. You can mail it to my personal mail (don't want the spam world to get hold of my work mail) - at nicklwc at gmail.com

Thanks. And oh, you make me want to go Laos. Maybe next year :)

Regards,
Nicholas Leong

David Jr said...

Thank you Wayangtimes, appreciate the vote you put in for me.

Cath, how are your next holiday plans? Laos maybe?

Mei, sadly other countries have the ability to focus on matters like this but here in Malaysia, I am really sad about how the conservation of heritage buildings are moving. But I hope it changes with the new generation.

Nicholas, thank you for the message and I have emailed you about this. I will also add a contact me in my blog too.

Regards,
David
Malaysia Asia

Borneo Falcon said...

I always fancy about visiting this place but my other half is not as adventurous as me

David Jr said...

Ben, you have to make your other half want to do it. Once you have done it, a new life starts!

Regards,
David
Malaysia Asia