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Jakarta Post

Luang Prabang: The cultural and historic heart of Laos

  • Peter Milne

    Contributor

Jakarta   /   Sun, December 9 2012   /  03:32 pm

If you’ve ever wondered what Asia must have felt like a century ago, before the Cold War conflicts that tore it apart, then the old city of Luang Prabang in north Laos is probably one of the few remaining places to offer a glimpse of those bygone times.

Nestling on a sliver of land sandwiched between two rivers and surrounded by lofty green mountains, the old city is easily the country’s — if not Asia’s or the old Indochina’s — most magical and romantic city, and a strong tourist magnet as a consequence.

A tiny mountain kingdom for more than 1,000 years, Luang Prabang is blessed with a legacy of ancient Buddhist temples and French-era colonial shop-houses that, together with its history, earned the city Unesco World Heritage status in 1995.

Hemmed in by the mighty Mekong River on one side and the Nam Khan River on the other, the old city exudes an atmosph...