Always thought Luang Prabang was for adults? We show how you can enjoy a memorable family adventure in the UNESCO heritage site
While most welltravelled locals would have holidayed in Thailand and Vietnam, the landlocked country of Laos often remains a mystery. “What’s there to do in Laos?” my curious friends would ask when I mentioned I would be visiting.
Truth is, the landlocked Southeast Asian nation offers plenty of opportunities for family adventures. In the ancient capital of Luang Prabang, known as the Crown Jewel of Laos, is a UNESCO heritage site filled with ancient Buddhist architecture and stunning scenery.
While Luang Prabang remains a popular destination for backpackers since tourism picked up in the 2000s, you certainly don’t have to rough it out during your stay. It takes just under four hours to fly there, with a stopover in capital city Vientiane, and a 15-minute drive from the airport to The Grand Luang Prabang, which is managed by Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts.
Once the site of the Xiengkeo Palace of Lao nationalist hero and Prime Minister Prince Phetsarath, the sprawling 59,000-sq m estate at The Grand Luang Prabang is truly fit for royalty. It combines French architecture, a remnant of Lao’s colonial history, with Laotian motifs. It’s the only hotel in town offering a view of the majestic Mekong River, which guests can enjoy from their rooms, or at mealtimes at the resort’s Xiengkeo Restaurant. Having a bowl of fer (the Laotian version of the Vietnamese pho noodles) for breakfast, while watching the sunrise over the tranquil Mekong River, was one of the simple pleasures I looked forward to every morning during my stay.