The old city is concentrated on a long finger of land, approximately 1km long by 300m wide. The thicker southern end of the peninsula is dominated by a steep, forested hill, Phousi, crowned by a Buddhist stupa that can be seen for miles around. As the city grew it expanded outwards from the peninsula to the south and east, and continues to do so to this day.

Just four parallel streets run the length of the peninsula, but there are enough cross streets, lanes and dead ends to keep things interesting. Amazingly, each area seems to exude its own distinct personality. Although it is possible to knock off all the attractions in the old city in a couple of days, it’s far more enjoyable to explore it a little at a time, and really soak up the atmosphere; the many temples and monasteries are certainly too charming be rushed through.

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