Located in northern Laos, the small town of Luang Prabang is in the heart of a mountainous region. It is one of the most popular destinations in the country has most travelers use it as the first or last stop in the country before going to/from Thailand. I originally came here for a weekend but ended up staying a week. It’s an easy place to get stuck. You can spend your days relaxing by the river, in cafes, and heading out to the nearby Kung Si waterfalls. You’ll be able to see everything in town within a couple of days but the city has a hold on your and you’ll probably end up staying a bit longer. You won’t regret it though!
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Luang Prabang
1. Explore the Buddha Caves
2. Visit the Royal Palace
3. Check out the Elephant Village Sanctuary
4. See the sunset along the Mekong River
5. Trek to the Kuang Si Falls
Other Things to See and Do
(Click the title to expand the text)
1. Visit Wat Xieng Toung Monastery
This is one of the oldest monasteries in the city and is one of the most important monuments to the spirit of religion, royalty, and traditional art. It also has amazing gardens that you can stroll through on your visit. I highly recommend this place! Admission is 20,000 LAK.
2. Witness the alms ceremony
At dawn, the monks come down Sakkaline Road to collect alms of rice from both villagers and tourists. You can easily locate the route for alms giving by looking for rows of rice baskets and stools waiting for the alms-givers. It’s one of the most popular things to do in the city and hundreds of people line up for it. Sadly, while it used to be an authentic thing, it’s now a money machine for the monks and a bit of a Disneyfied attraction. I wouldn’t go but you can get a lot of pictures (if that’s what you really want!).
3. Kuang Si Butterfly Park
Also located a bit outside of the city, this park contains huge landscaped gardens and orchids, with thousands of butterflies living inside of a netted butterfly garden. There is also a natural fish spa and a small European style bakery on site. Entry to the park is 33,000 LAK.
4. Climb Chomsky Hill
From the main hill in the city, you will have an amazing view of the area. The climb isn’t too laborious and you have a panoramic view from the top. I suggest going at sunset or sunrise for the best view!
5. Take a Laotian cooking class
If you are into Laotian cuisine, this is an affordable and fun option. There are three cooking class institutes in the city: The Terrace, Tamnak Lao, Tamarind: A Taste of Laos. In all of them, you get to enjoy the dishes afterward. Prices will vary but expect to pay between 200,000-300,000 LAK for a class.
6. Check out the night market
Set on the Sisavangvong Road, there are tons of souvenirs, food, and hawkers here. Make sure to bargain with sellers to get a fair price! It’s one of the biggest night markets in the country and a great place to pick up anything you want.
7. Visit Nong Kiew
This rustic village is located a few hours from the city, perched on the banks of the Ou River. It’s a great place to relax, disconnect, and slow down. You can take the bus for 40,000-50,000 LAK and spend a day or two away from it all.
8. Take a cycling tour
If you want to get active and escape the city, try a multi-day cycling tour. You can head out for 2-7 days and explore the countryside with a knowledgeable guide, learning about rural life as you get off the beaten path. Most tours are suitable for all ages, too. Prices start around 500,000 LAK and go up from there.