UNESCO has designated the entire city of Luang Prabang as a World Heritage site, ensuring its preservation and protection for future generations of visitors. Perhaps more than any other destination in Asia (with the possible exception of Angkor Wat), Luang Prabang is viewed by visitors as a true discovery and one that captures the heart and imagination of every new arrival. The city was once capital of the expansive Lanna Kingdom, which covered large areas of northern Thailand, southern China and all of Laos. Remnants of royal heritage remain in the royal palace, which is now the National Museum. The wooden temples of Luang Prabang are amongst the most delightful in Asia, with roofs that sweep in majestic curves almost to the floor. As elsewhere in Laos however, it is not so much the buildings but the attitudes and atmosphere which delight visitors. Luang Prabang is ideally explored by bicycle or on foot, with frequent stops at street-side markets, cafes and temples.
Alms or almsgiving is the respect given by a lay Buddhist to a Buddhist monk, nun, spiritually-developed person or other sentient being. It is not charity as presumed by Western interpreters. It is closer to a symbolic connection to the spiritual and to show humbleness and respect in the presence of normal society.
The Baci ceremony is central to Lao culture. Performed by a respected elder of the community, the Baci bestows good will, good health, and harmony to individuals or to a group. The Baci is performed at all traditional Lao festivals and celebrations.