View of Luang Prabang, Laos

The Best Of Luang Prabang: 15 Places To Visit

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A prime tourist attraction in Laos is the Luang Prabang, which offers numerous tourist activities. This UNESCO World Heritage city hosts the confluence of the Nam Khong River and the Mekong River. Even today, you can spot the French colonial buildings in the vibrant and colorful streets. This blog lists fifteen places in Luang Prabang that you should not miss on your visit to the city and all the additional information you might need.

Luang Prabang Travel Guide

How to Reach?

We highly recommend taking the train if you’re heading from Vang Vieng or Vientiane to Luang Prabang. It’s fast, affordable, and comfortable. The roads aren’t great, and the journey by road between Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang takes at least 6 hours. Check the transportation guide for booking train tickets in Laos.

Remember that the Luang Prabang Railway Station is quite far from the city. Taxi drivers typically charge 50000 KIP (2.5 USD) per person for the ride. There are no public buses available. If you’re coming from Nong Khiaw, it’s a 3-hour minivan ride costing around 120000 KIP (6 USD).

Best Time to Visit Luang Prabang

 You can visit Luang Prabang any time of the year. The best time is from November to February during the dry season and is ideal for exploration. March, April, and May are the hottest months. The rainy season runs from June to September.

Network Connectivity

Unitel and Lao Telecom offer excellent connectivity in the area. Many restaurants and accommodations provide free Wi-Fi services.

Where to Stay?

 

You’ll find plenty of accommodation options in the city, from budget hostels to luxury resorts to cozy homestays. Pick one that suits your budget and preferences. We stayed at La Casa hostel. Here are a few other places you might consider.

Where to Eat?

Luang Prabang food street

Luang Prabang is often dubbed the food capital of Laos. Here, you can find a variety of cuisines, from Thai and Chinese to Italian, Indian, French, and, of course, Lao. Plus, the everyday markets serve up plenty of tasty options for visitors.

Getting Around Luang Prabang

Bike rentals kick off at 120000 KIP (6 USD) per day. You can stroll to many spots in the city by walk and grab a two-wheeler rental for a day trip to Kuang Si Waterfall. And if you’re rolling with a crew, consider sharing a songthaew to get around. We didn’t find any public buses to get around the city.

Places to Visit in Luang Prabang

1. Kuang Si Waterfall

Kunag Si main waterfall

The Kuang Si Waterfall lives up to its reputation as the most beautiful in Laos. We have a separate blog detailing everything you need about visiting, including entry fees and timings. And don’t forget to stop by the scenic rice terraces on your way—the breathtaking views!

2. Secret Waterfall

Secret Waterfall

Close to the city, this secret waterfall remains undiscovered by tourists but is a favorite among locals. Enjoy food and drinks by the water huts while soaking in the tranquil surroundings. It’s a heartwarming sight to see kids playing while their parents relax with family and friends. If you plan on getting into the water, remember to cover your knees and shoulders out of respect for the locals, as wearing swimsuits isn’t common in this area.

  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Parking: Free

3. Nahm Dong Park

Nahm Dong Park Luang Prabang

Don’t miss out on this park in Luang Prabang! Take a leisurely stroll along the forest trail, which will take 2-3 hours. You’ll discover spectacular spots like caves, waterfalls, bridges, huts, viewpoints, and even a turtle park along the way. The stream flows into a stunning waterfall, creating a turquoise-blue pool perfect for swimming.

You’ll also find activities like zip lines, although they’re not too high or long. Inside the park, there are restaurants and restrooms available. Watch for locals engaged in activities like cleaning and farming as you explore.

  • Entry Fee: 20000 KIP (1 USD)
  • Parking: Free
  • No dress changing rooms. You can swim here in bikinis. 

4. Phonsi Hill

Phonsi Hill, Luang Prabang Laos

Phonsi Hill, just a stone’s throw from Luang Prabang, offers two entrances from which you can reach the summit. It’s a quick 15 to 30-minute hike to the top via paved stairs. Once there, you’ll have panoramic views of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. At the summit, you’ll find a Buddha temple adorned with statues lining the stairs. This spot is renowned for its stunning sunset vistas, so expect it to be busy in the evening.

  • Entry Fee: 30000 KIP (1.5 USD)
  • Parking: Free

5. Morning Market

Luang Prabang morning market

The Luang Prabang Morning Market is buzzing with activity from 6 AM until around 10-12 AM. Locals flock here for their food, vegetable, and meat needs, while tourists also enjoy wandering around. You’ll find a wide variety of food, from fresh orange juices and boiled sweet corn to coconut pancakes and fried spring rolls. There’s something for everyone to enjoy at this lively market.

6. UXO Visitor Center

UXO Visitor Center

Laos holds a somber record as the most heavily bombed country in the world. Between 1964 and 1973, around 270 million bombs were dropped, and about 80 million of them failed to explode. Dealing with these unexploded bombs, or UXOs, is a serious concern. The National Clearance Operator is responsible for educating the public and safely diffusing and clearing UXO nationwide. Established in 2009, the visitor center is a valuable resource packed with data and information. Visitors can also watch a 20-minute video to learn more about the impact of UXO and the efforts to address this issue.

  • Entry Fee: Free. Donations are accepted.
  • Parking: Free

7. Lao Massage

Thai Massage - bucket list experience in Thailand

Pamper yourself with a soothing Lao massage while you’re in Luang Prabang. Lao massages typically cover the whole body, but you can request specific areas. After all the exploring, we treated ourselves to one, and Luang Prabang is renowned for its massage services. You’ll find plenty of massage centers around the city. Check out reviews online, compare options, and pick one that suits you. M.K. Wellness Centre is one of the best in town.

Remember to let them know if you prefer a gentler touch. They’re professionals, and the experience is truly rejuvenating.

8. Garavek Storytelling

Ever wondered why Mount Phusi is named as such? Or how are mushrooms and the Ramayana connected to it? Curious about the origins of the Nam Khan River’s name? Interested in who founded the ancient city of Luang Prabang and its rich history? If you’re seeking answers to these intriguing questions, Garavek is the perfect spot!

At Garavek, two local storytellers present fascinating folktales in English, accompanied by traditional flute music. It’s a delightful and educational cultural experience that sheds light on Luang Prabang’s history. Their lively energy, expressive faces, skillful storytelling, and enchanting flute melodies make for an engaging performance you won’t want to miss during your visit to Luang Prabang.

  • Timings: Everyday between 6:30 – 7:30 PM
  • Entry Fee: 50000 KIP
  • Limited seatings 

9. Tad Sae Waterfall

Tad Sae Waterfall is comparatively less crowded than Kuang Si Waterfall yet equally beautiful. Split into three sections, the waterfall contains a large swimming area. These picturesque turquoise blue waters are inviting, and we suggest you take a dip. The water in the Tad Sae Waterfall goes completely dry during the dry summer season. The zipline is not in use. You can find restaurants and restroom facilities in the vicinity. 

In addition to the entry fee, the boat ticket to cross the river costs 18000 KIP (0.9 USD) per person.

  • Entry Fee: 30000 KIP (1.5 USD)
  • Parking Fee: 5000 KIP (0.25 USD)

10. Almsgiving Ceremony

Alms giving ceremony

Also referred to as Sai Bat, the Buddhist monks’ food offering ceremony occurs each morning in Luang Prabang. Commencing at approximately 5:30 AM at the Wat May Souvannapoumaram Temple, monks circulate the temple for about 45 minutes before returning inside. You can participate by offering food at a designated street corner, where locals also participate. Notably, we observed monks occasionally sharing food with those in need upon request. Offerings come at fixed prices: 2 kg of sticky rice for 50,000 KIP, 1.5 kg for 38,000 KIP, and 1 kg for 25,000 KIP. Additionally, a basket of glutinous rice steamed in banana leaf is available for 20,000 KIP.

Here are some things to follow for the almsgiving ceremony.

  • Observe the ritual in silence and contribute offerings only if they are meaningful to you, and you can do so respectfully.
  • If you do not wish to make an offering, please keep an appropriate distance from the morning almsgiving ceremony and behave respectfully.
  • Do not get in the way of the monks’ procession or the believer’s offerings.
  • Do not stand too close to the monks when photographing; camera flashes disturb both monks and Lao people.
  • Dress appropriately: shoulders, chests, and legs should be covered.
  • Do not make any physical contact with the monks.

11. Night Market

Luang Prabang night market

The go-to place to buy souvenirs in Laos is the Luang Prabang Night Market. You can find more than fifty shops on either side of the road in this everyday market. Selling everything from handmade products like jewelry, clothes, bags, footwear, keychains, paintings, postcards, lanterns, etc., it’s a shopper’s paradise. The night market comes live after 6 PM until 10 PM. No vehicles are allowed in this area during this time. You can also enjoy street food at dining tables at one end of the night market, offering French bread, juices, and Indian and Thai cuisine.

12. Watch Sunset by the River

One of the top spots for sunset viewing is relaxing at the riverside restaurants. Enjoy the stunning sight of orange hues reflecting on either the Mekong or Khong rivers. This location has live music by the river from 6 PM to 8 PM on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. You can also opt for a sunset cruise or join a nighttime party cruise on the Mekong River.

13. Go Bowling

Luang Prabang Bowling Alley is a fun place to hang out with friends. You can order some drinks and play bowling. This is the only place open late into the night until 2 AM, and you can find a lot of backpackers here having a good nighttime. They also have other games like archery and ping-pong.

  • Price: 40000 KIP (2 USD) per person for one game of bowling, 10000 KIP (0.5 USD) for 5 arrows in Archery.
  • Soft drinks and beers are cheaper here.

14. Pak Ou Caves

Pak Ou Caves consist of two caves: one near the river and the other atop a hill accessed by about 200 steps. They are filled with Buddha statues. However, it’s not worth the detour from Luang Prabang. The stairs to the cave are crowded with beggars, mostly women and children, asking for money. The beach area near the cliff offers a nice sunset spot.

  • Boat charges for crossing the Mekong River: 13000 KIP (6.5 USD) for a round trip
  • Parking Fee: 5000 KIP (2.5 USD)
  • Entry Fee: 30000 KIP (15 USD)

15. Dance Show at Wat

Wat May souvannapoumaram temple, Luang Prabang

You can catch traditional Lao cultural dance performances with live music at the Royal Ballet Theatre near Wat May Souvannapoumaram Temple. It’s the only venue in Laos where you can see such performances by local artists. They showcase Phra-Lak Phra-Ram, a Lao rendition of the Ramayana epic. The hour-long show doesn’t require advance ticket purchase.

  • Performance Time: 6 PM every day 
  • Entry Fee: Starts from 150000 KIP (15 USD)

As responsible travelers, we do not recommend you visit the elephant conservation centers at Luang Prabang advertised by many tourist agencies across the city. We believe that wild animals should be left free in the forest, and they can survive and thrive independently.

If you have any questions, comment below. We’ll do our best to answer them. Also, if you’ve found this blog helpful, comment below! And if you’re eager for more extensive hiking guides and travel tips, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and give us a follow on social media – find us on Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube!

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