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If you haven’t visited Laos, this gives you reasons to go there.

National Geographic Travel takes you to Louangphrabang where the splendor of nature combines with abundant spiritual traditions.

The town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 for its unique blend of traditional Lao and European colonial influences. From the 14th to 16th century, Louangphrabang was the capital of the Lan Xang Kingdom as well as a center of Buddhist worship in the region.

You can find dozens of Buddhist temples here but the most impressive of them all is Wat Xieng Thong. It’s a 16th century temple with steeply sloping pagoda-style roof and walls richly embellished with carvings and mosaics.

If you wake up before dawn, you will witness the tradition of Sai Bat, or morning alms, where devotees offer food to the procession of Buddhist monks as they make their way through the streets.

The vibrant culture extends beyond religious traditions, from the colorful night market where vendors hawk handicrafts to the early morning produce market to traditional dance performances.

For hikers, you can visit Mount Phousi which offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of Louangphrabang and the Mekong River Valley.

There is also the Kuang Si Waterfall, a majestic, triple-tiered cascade that spills into a series of pools popular to locals and tourists to swim.

Upstream is the Pak Ou Caves set in a limestone cliff. You will find thousands of Buddha figurines brought by pilgrims over hundreds of years.

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Louangphrabang, Laos

Peppered with stunning temples, palaces, and pagodas, Louangphrabang represents a blending of traditional Lao and European colonial influences. https://on.natgeo.com/2JqtAhX

Posted by National Geographic Travel on Sunday, June 10, 2018

 

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