Luang Prabang is one of Lao PDR’s Northern provinces located at about 400 km. from the capital, Vientiane. The province's population is estimated to currently 430,000 inhabitants, consisting of 12 different ethnic groups. Luang Prabang District itself has a population of approximately 56.000 inhabitants and the protected zone has 24,000 inhabitants.

Luang Prabang situated at a superb site formed by the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers on one side, and the other side, The two rivers form a 300 m wide and 1 km long peninsulain the middle of a peneplain surrounded by mountains gilded with legends (Phou Thao, Phou Nang, Phou Xang, Phou Xuang) and by alluring sites such as: Tham Ting, Nam Thieng and Nang An caves, Khouang See and Tat Se waterfalls. 

In the centre of the historic town stands the sacred mount Phousi that attracts everyone to climb to the top and admire the magnificent view of the city.  Together with the pre-historic site of Xieng Lek (3500 years Before Christ) and the cultural diversity offered by its multi-racial population these sites cast an enchanting spell. According to local annals, this city has been in existence since 5th century B.C.

Luang Prabang has sometimes been called the “City of the 15 families of Nagas” ( from  Pali naga: a mystical snake symbolizing  strength ) or “City of 65 monasteries”, and in more recent times,  the “Jewel of South East Asia”.

According to written evidence from the VIIth century the city’s first name was Muang Sua. The Khuon  Chuang Dynasty governed  Luang Prabang for four generations before being overthrown in the VIIIth century by Khoun Lo, one of Khoun Boulom’s seven sons.

 This city was later called Muang Lan Xang, or Lan Xua, in the form “Muang Xua”.  Later, from the XIIIth to the XVth century, the state was named Xieng Dong Xieng Thong. 

Finally, it should be said that the true splendor of Luang Prabang began with the reign of Fa Ngum in the XIVth century.(1er sovereign of the Kingdom of Lane Xang from 1316 to 1373). 

In 1358, King Fagnum took the Prabang, a statue of Buddha offered by the King of Cambodia, to MuangViengKham.

In 1489, the Prabang was installed at Muang Xieng Thong to be revered by the people. As a tribute to this legendary statue, the name of the city became Luang Prabang.

Tourism Luang Prabang
UNESCO World Heritag

In 1995, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) elected to inscribe the Town of Luang Prabang on the World Heritage List. Specifically, the Committee noted that the old city centre “represents, to an exceptional extent, the successful fusion of the traditional architectural and urban structures and those of the European colonial rulers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Its unique townscape is remarkably well preserved, illustrating a key stage in the blending of two distinct cultural traditions.”

UNESCO cited three criteria in its recommendation:

Criterion (ii):  Luang Prabang reflects the exceptional fusion of Lao traditional architecture and 19th and 20th century European colonial style buildings.
Criterion (iv): Luang Prabang is an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble built over the centuries combining sophisticated architecture of religious buildings, vernacular constructions and colonial buildings.
Criterion (v): The unique townscape of Luang Prabang is remarkably well preserved, illustrating a key stage in the blending of two distinct cultural traditions.

(Read more about the UNESCO decision here. )


Our beautiful historic properties are the ideal year-round location to host your wedding or special event.

©2018 Department of Luang Prabang World Heritage. All Right Reserved ~ Developed by