Inside Vietnam: Cambodia Laos

Insider Experience: Architecture tour of Luang Prabang

Meet our architecture "Insider" for expert insights into the rich architectural history of Luang Prabang.

Even if you have just a passing interest in architecture and history, you must meet Francis Engelmann, a Paris-born architect and author, who has lived in Luang Prabang for more than 20 years. Francis was involved in Luang Prabang's bid for UNESCO World Heritage status which was granted in 1995. He was also part of Heritage House team, the conservation authority of Luang Prabang which provides guidelines for the management of the town, and is a consultant for various NGOs in the region. 

On a half day guided tour with Francis, you'll be introduced to masterful examples of the diverse architectural styles in Luang Prabang. These represent changes in the town's evolution: beginning with traditional Lao houses built on stilts made from tropical hardwood or bamboo, to grand colonial architecture, similar to buildings found in Vietnam and Cambodia. There are also fusions of the two styles, half-wood and half-cement, built following the arrival of the colonising French. The final architectural style is demonstrated in the old Chinese shop-houses, built for both commercial and residential purposes. 

Francis's walk will take you to lesser known spots in the town, down quiet streets and charming lanes, revealing a face of Luang Prabang that most tourists never make time to see.

Insider Experience: Architecture tour of Luang Prabang

located in Luang Prabang

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Interested in this Experience? It is included in this tour:

  • This architecturally themed tour of Vietnam & Laos showcases the tremendous variety of traditional & French colonial architecture.

    Architectural Highlights

    From the sharp lines and modern art of Ho Chi Minh City, travel up through Vietnam, stopping along the way to see Cham-era buildings in Hoi An and Nguyen Dynasty architecture in imperial Hue. On top of this, see French influence in the elegant local buildings of Laos and the quirky Buddha Park.

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    This architecturally themed tour of Vietnam & Laos showcases the tremendous variety of traditional & French colonial architecture.

Other suggested Art & architecture

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  • Tethered balloon sunrise over Angkor

    Tethered balloon sunrise over Angkor

    Witness the glories of Angkor from a unique perspective with a bird's-eye view of sunrise over the temples.

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  • Hue's imperial tombs

    Hue's imperial tombs

    Explore the remarkable tombs of Hue's Nguyen Dynasty: fine architecture in a glorious natural setting.

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  • Hoi An old town

    Hoi An old town

    For those with a love of architecture there are few better places in Asia than Hoi An, once Vietnam's most important port town.

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