The beautiful landscape of luang prabang (iStockphoto)

Mekong river Luang Prabang (iStockphoto)

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What to do in Luang Prabang

Laos’s tourism capital of Luang Prabang sits in a steep valley between the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. Until the late 1980s, it was nearly impossible to visit, locked in a country closed to foreigners where nature and ancient Buddhist culture remained untouched by the outside world. Now Luang Prabang has an international airport, and tourists seem to outnumber locals. But saffron-robed monks still wander the streets at dawn, and Buddhist temples dot the skyline. Most of all, it’s still cheap. A $1 tuk-tuk ride will get you almost anywhere in town, and nearby attractions like the Pak Ou Buddha caves or the Kuang Si waterfalls won’t cost you more than $10 with transportation. Entry to Wat Xieng Thong temple, home of the reclining Buddha statue and a 50-foot-long royal carriage from the 16th century, costs $2.50.

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