While Luang Prabang is now a fixture on the Asian backpacker circuit, community-based tourism is a good way to get better acquainted with the town, its people and their traditions
Twice a year Lu Guo Xiang leaves his home in Singapore and heads up to Luang Prabang for a holiday. A painter by profession, he finds the ancient royal capital of Laos an ideal place to unwind and also to hunt for artistic inspiration.
The prayer hall at Vat Xieng Thong has a shiny new look after a major restoration which was carried out there last year, costing in the region of 3.4 million baht. Built in 1559 by one of the greatest of all Lao rulers, King Setthathirat, this well-preserved temple is one of the highlights of a visit to this World Heritage site. Many people flock here during daylight hours. If you want to avoid the crowds, turn up just before dusk and you’ll also get the chance to listen to the novices chanting their evening prayers.
"Luang Prabang isn't too big and it's very peaceful," he explained. "There's not too much traffic. It's a very relaxed place... people are very relaxed. It's a big contrast to Singapore."
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