An ancient city that has been inhabited for thousands of years, Luang Prabang was once the royal capital of Laos, till 1975. It is now a vibrant and historical city of gilded temples, saffron-robed monks, lush forests and cascading waterfalls. Despite being a tourist area, it still maintains a calming and peaceful atmosphere that charms all visitors.
There are innumerable activities to take part in, in Luang Prabang. From being enveloped in nature to journeying through town, Luang Prabang offers a wide range of experiences that would cater to various interests. Perfect for wandering around and immersing yourself in the sea of activities, the city is the one for those who are looking learn about the culture and way of life of Laotians.
What to do in Luang Prabang
The most popular destination in Luang Prabang – Kuang Si waterfall.
This waterfall is the most beautiful waterfall in Luang Prabang, sparkling and luminous. Trek to the beginning of the Kuang Si waterfall and be amazed by its mountain spring. With their turquoise-blue water, the Kuang Si and Tad Sae Waterfalls are a show of nature’s beauty, creating a picturesque scene.
Trek pass lush green farmlands and forests to meet the ethnic minorities…
where you can converse and learn about their way of life. Next head out to the whiskey village, a quaint little town where you can learn about the whiskey distillation process and the exotic ingredients used. The paper village should not be missed, specializing in products from silk and Saar paper.
A city of temples, each of these Buddhist temples are unique, with their own stories and legends…
as well as differing ancient domestic architectures. With some distance between the temples, a little research would be necessary to know which you would like to visit on site. You should definitely not miss one of the most sacred temples in the area, Wat Xieng Thong.
A little background to Laos would be the French colonization of the country from 1893 to 1953.
Learn about the Laotian history and get an insight on the lifestyle of King Sisavang Vong back then. On top of that, look out for the colonial buildings designed and built with French and Vietnamese influence.
What better way to get to know a country than to live like a local? Through homestays in local villages, cooking classes, pottery classes and living land, you would have a small taste of what being a Laotian is like. (the) Living land would give you a rare experience of farming with other locals, who are doing so as a way of life. The memorable experiences are sure to stay with you for life.
For all the foodies out there, this experience is the one for you. Sample local treats and dishes at the local market and restaurants, such as Luang Prabang coconut cake, and enjoy yourself as you learn to cook up some local dishes. In the early morning, head out to the fresh morning market to take a look at the locally produced fresh foods. You are indeed in for a treat!
Standing at 100m tall, Mount Phousi is a mystical hill backed with a legend. With temples littered about the hill and the scent of incense wafting through the air, a peaceful atmosphere settles. Take a hike up the hill to view the gorgeous sunset after paying your respects to Buddha at Wat Chom Si which is located at the top.
If you are animal lover, more specifically, an elephant lover, do visit some of these elephant sanctuaries. The sanctuaries Elephant Conservation Center and Mandalao both provide intimate experiences with elephants and focus on educating the public about elephants and their welfare. In fact, the Elephant Conservation Center is the first elephant hospital in Laos.
Fancy yourself some lovely authentic Lao made souvenirs and handicrafts decorated with their traditional patterns? You will find yourself lost amongst a sea of shops and booths as you take your pick. Items range from bamboo items, clothes with natural fabrics, to cushions with traditional patterns.
Otherwise known as the Pak Ou Cave, the name truly fits with countless Buddha statues lining the shelves of the Buddha Cave. Be mesmerized by the sight of statues in the cave against the river, creating a transcendent scene. The best ways to visit the cave would be to take a boat cruise or kayak along the calming river to arrive at the mouth of the cave.
A small but informative museum, the Ethnic Museum in Luang Prabang is one for those who are interested in learning about the ethnic minorities in Laos. Despite its having only 3 rooms and a gift shop, the artifacts are well curated, and the rooms hold an abundance of information. There is are also fun interactive activities to take part in. +for those with limited time, specific activities.
Cruise through the Laos’ Mother River, the Mekong River, and appreciate the view as the river breeze brushes pass you. For the best view, head down to the river during sunset where you can watch the sun dip into the horizon, shading the sky in orange, pink, and purple.
For those who would like to appreciate the riverside view of the Mekong River and Khan River, take a stroll, sip on a drink at one of the bars, or kayak along the river itself. These are just some of the ways to take in the panoramic view offered at the two rivers of Luang Prabang.
Water buffalos are a common sight in Luang Prabang. Get to know more about them at the Buffalo Dairy Farm, a social enterprise that targets educating its visitors about buffalo welfare. Besides that, you can also try your hand at milking a buffalo! Treat yourself to delicious ice creams and cheese after an intimate session with the buffalos.
Apart from the unique silk weaving classes, at Ok Pok Tock you can also get hands on with making use of dyes. You can also weave your own bamboo handicraft at the Bamboo Experience. You are sure to leave the centers with much more knowledge regarding handicrafts in Laos. Create your own handicrafts and have a fulfilling time!
Luang Prabang by night
The Night Market in Luang Prabang boasts numerous stalls selling many different types of items…
from clothes to handicrafts and little trinkets. Feeling hungry amid strolling through the endless stalls? No worries, as there is a food alley located in the middle of the night market, offering all sorts of mouthwatering local dishes. It is opened from 5pm -10pm.
Instead of having your dinner on land, why not do it on a boat along the Mekong river?
An essential experience in Luang Prabang, savour local delights as you cruise through the river and enjoy the beautiful sunset on the horizon.
Head over to the Royal Museum to enjoy a traditional Laos dance performance…
as dancers perform the Laos Ramayana. Listen to the sound of crickets accompany that of the live orchestra as the show goes on, exhibiting an important part of the Luang Prabang culture as a few of the dances date back to ancient times.
Revel in the peaceful and calming atmosphere in this religious practice.
Stand outside and peek into the temple to catch the sight of monks during their devotion time, kneeling in front of Buddha and chanting their prayers in unison. The evening chants often take place at 6pm in the evening.
When to go to Luang Prabang
There are two distinct seasons in Laos, which is the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season is from May to October, where you can partake in some activities that are especially amazing for this season. For example, you can kayak along the rivers and enjoy the sight of lush green farmlands and fields. However, if you are looking to visit tourist spots like the Kuangsi Waterfalls for its turquoise blue water, this may not be the best period to go.
During the dry season, you can experience winter in Laos from November to February, and summer from March to April. It may drop to approximately 15 degrees during winter and can go up to the 30s in the summer, so make sure to prepare well for these temperatures.
Do take note of the festivals that would be held throughout the year. Festivals in Laos are one of a kind and should not be missed! You can join in the fun during the Boat Racing Festival, one of the biggest festivals in Laos.
The weather today in Luang Prabang
How to get around Luang Prabang
From & To the airport
In the city
Out of the city
What to eat in Luang Prabang
Some ways to get to Luang Prabang
*price range is according to price for one-way
*disclaimer: the prices are approximate
|Flight directly from Kunming
1 hour 25 minutes
Flight directly from Siem Reap
Flight directly from Bangkok
1 hour 45 minutes
Flight directly from Hanoi
1 hour 10 minutes
|Sleeper bus from Vientiane
Bus/Van from Vang Vieng
Bus from Luang Namtha
What bring to Luang Prabang
It is ideal to use USD as the currency to conduct your currency exchange here. Some of the recommended money changers would be -.
If you feel uncomfortable or have fallen sick in Vientiane, you can head over to the French Clinic and Allianz Clinic Vientiane, where there are English speaking doctors working.