Luang Prabang's reputation as a cultural and historical hub has expanded in the last few years, taking the city from a backpacker haven to an epicurean centre, firmly established on the tourist map of South East Asia. UNESCO World Heritage status not only did wonders for its regional recognition; tourists now descend from all corners of the globe to visit one of Laos most reputed destinations. Naturally, as the number of visitors has increased, so has the diversity of accommodation choices, with the city now boasting everything from quiet, clean guesthouses to superb, exclusive resorts and hotels.
The variety of urbane services seems ceaseless in the fresh five star resorts that can now be found throughout Luang Prabang. Exquisite properties such as Luang Say Residence combine antiquity with up-to-date additions such as cable, WiFi and a/c. The majority of these hotels are new-builds, with the latest in modern design, yet they still make sure the local essence is not lost, with traditional terraces and charismatic gardens.
On the city periphery, the popularity of eco-lodges continues to grow, as they provide an opportunity to experience the real Laos with its rustic, romantic landscapes, still in close proximity to the citys cultural centre, chic restaurants and vibrant nightlife. Common recreation choices for those staying in eco-lodges are the treks to local villages and the nearby natural attractions. Luang Prabang province still boasts areas that have yet to be intensively explored, and has avoided the footprint of mass-tourism. The Nam Et/Phou Louei National Protected Area and the provinces north-eastern region close to the Vietnam border, offer a secluded expanse which is home to many Hmong settlements.
Luang Prabangs traditional accommodation options comprise of renovated authentic Lao houses and French colonial properties. Lodging in a traditional Lao home provides guests with comforting and nostalgic experience courtesy of the time-honoured interiors, coupled with modern facilities. At the other end of the scale, a cosmopolitan synergy of Franco-Laotian charm oozes from the restored colonial abodes, frequently set in idyllic, landscaped grounds, which truly encapsulates the esteemed spirit of this former royal capital, while incorporating modern facilities, excellent service and bespoke luxury.
With the unity of vast accommodation choices, harmonious architecture, fine eateries and enlightening attractions, Luang Prabangs ascension in status to one of South East Asias must-visit destinations has come as no surprise.