Surrounded by mountains, Luang Prabang offers visitors a beautiful contrast between the various tribes and communities in Laos. Those who want to get away from the more touristy areas will enjoy spending time in the villages that surround Luang Prabang – walk around the bustling markets filled with crafts and pottery made by tribal inhabitants and find the perfect gift to take home, or spend time exploring the architecturally stunning Buddhist monasteries and temples scattered throughout the area.

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Luang Prabang contains a diverse population of Hmong and other ethnic minorities – and many come from around the world to do charity work for the region’s poor population. Over Christmas I spent days donating books and teaching children English.