I can’t quite put my finger on it…but I love Luang Prabang, Laos. It is one of my favorite places in the world and definitely my favorite stop while I was backpacking through SE Asia. It’s a little bit quieter, more remote and less touristy than some of it’s neighboring cities and countries. There is less pressure to see and do as much as possible and more emphasis and enjoying and exploring the city and culture. Here are 10 reasons to fall in love with Luang Prabang, Laos.

1. The Mekong River

The Mekong doesn’t have crystal clear blue water or colorful tropical fish (I’m not sure what lives in it exactly) but it has a peace and serenity that is pretty amazing. We spent a day kayaking down the river completely alone without another tourist in sight, just the occasional single paddle fishing boat passing by.

2. The Temples

There are so many beautiful temples in Luang Prabang and it’s quiet enough that you can wander and explore them without any crowd or interruption.

3. Kuang Si Falls

I had never stood on top of a waterfall before. After looking down over the edge of the falls we hiked the very steep trail to the bottom where we swam in the warm waterfall pools.

4. The Jungle

The jungle landscape here was different than anywhere else we had been. We jumped off boulders, found some hidden caves and hiked through the rubber trees.

5. The Sunrise/Sunset View

Climb to the top of Phu Si hill for a sunset or sunrise and you’ll get an amazing view overlooking the city.

6. The River Views

Stop along the river at one of the many places to eat, drink and relax.

7. Buddha

Visit the cave of a thousand Buddhas by boat or admire the Buddhas on your hike back down Phu Si Hill.

8. The Food

The cross pollination of the food from Lao hot pot to French influenced crepes to the street food buffets never leave you bored.

9. The Orange Robes

The orange color that make the monks robe’s in Laos so iconic is dyed from the inside of Annatto seeds and makes the color so rich. Learn to hand-dye your own silk, even harvesting your own seeds for the dye at an Ock Pop Tok class in town.

10. The People

The feeling of community in Luang Prabang was unlike anywhere else we went during our SE Asia trip and the people we met were definitely the most memorable. Luang Prabang has a small town feel where everyone knows everyone and the welcoming feeling is like none other.