Top drawer luxury resorts have arrived too in Luang Prabang.
Your arrival by bus will be greeted by a pleasant array of options.
Riding motorbikes in Southeast Asia always comes with the caveat - wear helmets and definitely don't wobble around on skiddy roads tanked up on an a few bottled of beer. For more information, explore the Timeless Luang Prabang site, which is a good resource and pick up a country overview at Tourism Laos.
Lacking the sex, grind, and prurient neon of neighbouring Thai destinations, this is an often overlooked sleepy temple town. Snuggled deep in the secretively undulating hills of northwest Laos it was, until the recent past, served by just two alarming modes of travel.
The first was Lao Airlines – a carrier often blacklisted by the US Embassy, the UN, and other companies that prefered their employees whole.
All buses run from Vientiane through Vang Vieng and range from the eight-hour air-conditioned VIP bus to cheaper local options, which may be a good three hours longer.
Both transport versions come loaded with exuberant karaoke entertainment and include a stop-off for lunch.
By 2017, humming Luang Prabang International Airport (luangprabangairport.com/) was being served by Bangkok Airways, Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, Air Asia, Vietnam Airlines and a range of familiar international names like Emirates and Air France (through codeshare arrangements).
The runway has been extended to accommodate larger jets from even farther afield.
Once in town, bicycles are a great way to explore, especially around sunset when the temperature drops.
A standard basket-fronted bike can set you back as little as US a day (7am-9pm), while a mountain bike may cost a tad more.
Lao Airlines still flies regularly and many like myself – pursuing this elusive Luang Prabang guide – still brave it without a hitch.
The roads are still winding but they are mostly well kept, and banditry is less in evidence.
The earlier the better in fact, since most folk roll out of bed at 6am to offer alms to the resident monks (in a ceremony known as ).