Luang Prabang combines a spectacular natural setting and distinctive built heritage with traditional arts and crafts, food, language, festivals and rituals.
With its isolation having served as a shield against the forces of globalization, Luang Prabang is one of the few remaining historically authentic places in Asia. However, since it was ‘rediscovered’ by travellers a little over a decade ago, Luang Prabang has become subject to the pressures of an ever-growing tourism industry.
Because of its outstanding heritage values, Luang Prabang was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. This drew international attention to the town and sparked a tourism boom. Since 1988, tourist arrivals into Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) have increased from a few hundred intrepid backpackers to more than 600,000 in 2003, with Luang Prabang being Lao PDR’s second most popular destination after Vientiane, the capital.