Luang Prabang, the ancient town of Laos, is famous for tranquil atmosphere and beautiful landscapes. If you have plans to visit here, you shouldn’t miss the list of best things to do in Luang Prabang recommended below.
Luang Prabang Ancient Town
The first thing in series of amazing activities in Luang Prabang might be visiting the Ancient Town. Not having any modern high buildings, the houses in this town are very simple, just two-floor houses or bungalows. Coming to Luang Prabang, you can feel something like Hoi An in Vietnam by old houses as well as friendly local people. The best ways for you to visit the ancient town might be walking or riding a bike around. Besides, walking around the ancient town in the morning will be more comfortable because it is very busy with night market in the evening. When you feel tired, you can also find out coffee shops situating around the city. Try to have some coffee and watch slow stream of people. Free admission.
Kuang Si Waterfall
Visiting Kuang Si waterfall is one of the best things to do in Luang Prabang you can’t miss. The waterfall is a complex of three small waterfalls which is about 30 kilometers far away from the city center. The ponds are so sparkling clear that you can see its bottom. Therefore, Kuang Si waterfall is the most popular tourist destination in Luang Prabang with delightful natural landscapes. Apart from enjoying wonderful scenes, you can also go swimming freely. Why don’t you bring swimming suit and some snack for a small picnic? It might be fun! To come Kuang Si waterfall from the city center, you can catch a tuk tuk with the price 200.000 kip ($24). Each tuk tuk can provide seats for six people, so it’s cheaper if you are in group. The entrance fee is 20,000 kip ($2.34) for one person.
Pak Ou cave – The unique cave with thousands of Buddha statues
Pak Ou Cave has existed thousands years ago, which is about 25 km far away from Luang Prabang city center. That the cave is the collection of awkward shape of stalactites, and various Buddha statues certainly make you interested. The system of diversified Buddha statue here has different forms of Statues such as standing, sitting or lying form. Forms of Buddha Statue also have several amazing meanings. Trying to explore these meanings will bring you new awesome experiences on your trip to Luang Prabang.
From Luang Prabang city, there are two ways to get Pak Ou cave. The first one is the highway, and another one is the pathway along Mekong River. After getting Pak Ou District, you have to find out somewhere to keep your motorbike (the motorbike-keeping cost is 5000 kip). Then, it takes you about 15 minutes to cross the river by boat (13.000 kip/person) to come the cave. Note that using sneakers is more comfortable for you to move than any other kind of shoes. The entrance fee of Pak Ou cave is 20.000 kip for one person.
Phousi Mountain is located right on the Luang Prabang city center, which is covered by Nam Khan River and Mekong River. On the top of Phousi Mountain, you can enjoy spectacular views around the city, from its temples to the other mountains in the distance. Apart from beautiful scenes, you can also visit Wat Chom Si and 20-meter-high golden tower on the Phousi Mountain.
The best time to climb the mountain is on the sunset. Most of people spend this time to enjoy wonderful scenes as well as take nice photos from the mountain. Therefore, it is always crowed with people in the evening. You have two ways to get on the top of Phousi Mountain; these are the main street and the way behind the mountain. On Sisavongvang Street where night market happens, you need to overcome the way leading up the top with 328 steps. The second way with 355 steps is on Thanon Phousi, next to Nam Khan River. You can find out various sightseeing places here while you are walking.
Entrance fee: 20.000 kip
Royal Place with awesome architectural pagodas
Having a visit to awesome pagodas is certainly among the top things to do in Luang Prabang. Being Laos’s ancient capital with traditional values, Luang Prabang is now famous for thousands of unique pagodas. It’s more convenient for tourists to visit because most of the major pagodas are right on the city center. These Luang Prabang attractions are extremely suitable for holidays with family and peacefulness lovers. Try to relax your mind and bring your children closer to the nature. Each pagoda can have certain entrance fee or not. You can find out information about some particular pagodas in Royal Palace.
If you haven’t known what to do in Luang Prabang at night, visiting night market is certain a good choice for you. Along the Sisavangvong, the night market stretch for 1 kilometer with many stores of food and souvenir. People consider this night market as culinary paradise with noodles, fried rice, BBQ, cake, fruit juice, ice cream and so on. The most notable thing is super-low-cost vegetable buffet, just 15.000 kip ($2) for each portion. Moreover, you can buy several of pretty souvenirs for your friends as a present. People sell a lot of nice-looking products including cloths, photographs and drawings, arts and crafts. Remember to bargain at the half-price. The night market opens everyday from 5 pm to 10.30 pm, especially very crowed on the weekends.
On the way to Pak Ou cave, whiskey village is one of the most interesting Luang Prabang attractions worth visiting. You can pass through this unique village before coming to Pak Ou Cave. It is famous for the local whiskey that is made from snake, centipede and insects. The local wine is a mixture that people soak creep-crawlies in wine. You can feel special-shaped bottle of wine rather attractive on the counter. Moreover, this place also has a lot of other products available for buying such as handmade silks, and some local pretty crafts.
Elephant Camp – A wonderful stop on the way to Kuang Si Waterfall
Elephant Camp is about 15 kilometers far away from the city center on the way to Kuang Si Waterfall. It’s a famous camp specializing in nurturing valuable kinds of elephant in Laos. You can experience series of amazing activities in Luang Prabang Elephant Camp including feeding, driving and bathing the elephants. Driving an elephant across the river will bring you new exciting thing on your trip to Laos. This activity can also help you explore Laos culture; understand how important elephants are for this country. The cost for driving the elephant is 120.000 kip ($14) in 20 to 30 minutes. But, you will pay 5000-10.000 kip if you just go sightseeing and feed the elephant.
Food and drink
Laotian people like spicy food; especially they put a lot of chilly, garlic, fish sauce and herb into the food. Laos’s food generally receives good comments from the tourists. Therefore, Luang Prabang is on the list of Asian cities with the greatest cuisine.
It’s not difficult for you to have some food in Luang Prabang. You always see diversified kinds of food right on the main street, especially on the night market. Don’t forget to try some Laotian special foods such as Larb (minced meat salad), Ping Kai (grilled chicken), Sai Oua (Laotian sausage), Khao Jee (grilled sticky rice with egg) and many other delicious food. The price ranks 10.000 to 15.000 Kip. Besides, Laotian local beer and coffee are also the most favourite drink here. Try some coffee in the coffee shops along the riveside or buy beer as a present are not bad recommends.
If you are music lovers and want to have happy moments with friends, let’s come to Utopia Bar. This might be the most popular bar in Luang Prabang. With a lot of drinks and amazing activities like dancing in exciting music, you will have memorable relaxing time with friends. Utopia Bar is really worth visiting.
Address: Kingkitsarath Road, Ban Aphay Village, Luang Prabang, Laos.
Transports in Luang Prabang
The primary transports in Luang Prabang are tuk tuk, motorbike, bike, and minivan bus.
- Tuk tuk: If you are in a group, you can hire a tuk tuk with the price 200.000 – 220.000 Kip ($24-$27). The more people in the tuk tuk, the fewer prices you will pay.
- Motorbike: This might be the favourite vehicle of many young travellers. Hire a motorbike in Luang Prabang with the price 100.000 – 120.000Kip ($12-$15) in 24 hours. Luang Prabang has the most expensive cost of hiring motorbikes in South-East Asian countries.
- Bike: If you would like explore quiet streets in the Old Town, a bike will be a good choice for you. You can rent a bicycle in the hotel you are staying, or in other places with the cost 20.000 kip ($3).
- Minivan Bus: Hotels and tourist agencies are ready to book you a minivan for 70.000 Kip ($9).
Where to stay in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang accommodation is one of the most important things to prepare in advance when you travel to this city. The following are some recommended accommodation for you.
View Khemkhong Guesthouse
Address: Mekong River Road, Riverfront, Luang Prabang
Price: $17 – $23
- Near tourist attractions
- Modern equipment, quality services.
Address: Soukaseum Road, Ban Khili, Luang Prabang
Price: $26 – $33
- Modern equipment
- Diversified service: restaurants, coffee shops, massage services, bike hiring service
- Good position: right on the Luang Prabang Old Town
Thongbay Guesthouse Luang Prabang
Address: Ban Vieng Mai, Vat Sakem, Luang Prabang (besides Nam Khan River)
Price: $30 – $48
- Massage service, coffee shops, restaurants, garden
- Shuttle service from the guesthouse to the airport and vice versa.
- Bike hiring service
Luang Prabang Oasis
Address: Sethatirath Road To Kritsarath Road, Luang Praban, Laos.
Price: $24 -$37
- Great service quality.
- Sitting on the city center
We hope that these information will be useful for your next trip to Luang Prabang. If you want more information about travel guide in Asia, visit I love Asia Tour. Luang Prabang tours are varied and you can see more activities in there.