Luang Prabang has a wide range of accommodation, from simple rooms in inexpensive guesthouses to five-star luxury resorts. Prices here are a lot higher than the rest of the country, so expect to pay out if you want to stay in an atmospheric old building with Mekong views. The high season is December and January (festivals, such as Lao New Year, are also very busy times), but regardless of the season, it’s a good idea to book in advance if you have a particular establishment in mind or if you’ll be arriving in the evening.
For most people, a location within the old city, occupying a finger of land created by the confluence of the Mekong and the Nam Khan, is the first choice. Here you’ll find not only most of the city’s best attractions but also many shops and restaurants; unsurprisingly, there’s not a great deal of cheap accommodation. The streets between the post office and the river are a good place to head to if you’re in search of budget accommodation, as are the little lanes that lead off Phomathat Road, south of Mount Phousi.
Building controls mean that if you want a hotel with a swimming pool, you’ll have to stay outside of the old city – and be prepared to shell out a fair amount. If you’re looking for upmarket accommodation, Luang Prabang has an almost overwhelming choice – but it’s worth noting that a lot of the cheaper, mid-range places can be just as atmospheric (if not more so) than the fancy hotels.