Luang Prabang, a celebrated tourist destination in central Laos is an epicentre of culinary delights, vibrant hues & bustling markets filled with exotic wares. Situated alongside the mighty Mekong Riverbanks are numerous establishments providing incomparable views – making this quaint town one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. Here is my list of things to do in Luang Prabang.
How to get to Luang Prabang Laos
The small international airport at Luang Prabang is equipped with just a handful of flights to neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Only certain destinations can be reached from/to depending on which travel route you choose; it is advisable to browse through itineraries online so that you may find out what fits your preferences best. Carriers serving routes include Bangkok Airways, Laos Airlines, Lao Central Airlines and Vietnam Airlines among others
Alternatively, consider travelling by slow via the Mekong river on the tranquil voyage from Thailand's border town of Huay Xai.
These packages are available as a choice and come with an accompanying minibus for crossing into Myanmar (from many destinations within Thailand). Accommodation is also provided for one or two nights.
Depending on the trip you book, you could be travelling on a slow boat for one or two whole days (arriving in Luang Prabang in either two days or three days). I chose to travel from Chiang Mai in Thailand to Luang Prabang on a two-day slow boat package.
Vietnam to Luang Prabang
If you are traveling from Vietnam and wish to reach Luang Prabang, buses are the most dependable option. This journey can take upwards of thirty hours, however; it is not an easy ride! Visa on arrival may be arranged both at land crossings and airport terminals.
The captivating charm of Luang Prabang is evident in its rich culture and tradition, yet it emanates an ethereal atmosphere that will lure you into its quaint little town. Wandering through the narrow alleys and discovering local sights will be an enchanting experience!
Exploring the tranquil, residential backstreets of Luang Prabang's centre will transport you to another world. Travelling by foot and bicycle through alleys so small it might feel like a maze at times; sampling its delicacies just as one would savour the flavours of an exotic place such as this!
The entrance to this UNESCO World Heritage Site can be found, conveniently enough, at an intersection on the main thoroughfare running through Sisavangvong Town. The hilltop is punctuated by numerous flights of steps and adorned with small shrines and gardens en route that affords a magnificent view over the townscape below.
Once you've reached its apex it becomes clear where the river turns sharply eastward into outer suburbs before offering glimpses into some of Sisavangvone's other temples nestled within its confines; albeit with a small fee to pay (estimated at US$2).
The Alms Ceremony entails getting up at an early hour and making the pilgrimage to the temple. It's a solemn ceremony where town monks march through town collecting alms (usually rice or other food items) from locals and tourists who are seated on plastic chairs set up especially for those taking part in this ritual.
This is the process by which monks receive their food and has been, and traditionally remained their sole meal of the day. It takes place in a secluded locale along Sakkaline Road at dawn on an appointed date – 6 o'clock AM!
It is vital to ensure that those attending the ceremony have resources on hand to provide a celebratory meal, whether it be freshly cooked rice or other snacks such as fresh fruit or nuts. Additionally, one must dress accordingly for temple visits – ladies should cover their shoulders and chest with garments while gentlemen refrain from showing up in a tubing singlet!
Overall, it was a pleasant experience and an excellent motivation to rise early in order to savour Luang Prabang's placidness during the tranquil predawn hours.
Kuang Si Falls
Luang Prabang is renowned for its abundance of scenic natural sites, such as Kuang Si Falls and Butterfly Park; it also boasts a bear rescue centre situated within an enclosed complex approximately thirty kilometres from the town centre. Those who would like to experience this must-see destination during their time in Laos can arrange a tour with one of several minibuses or small trucks available for hire out to Kuang Si Falls and Park – an easy day trip!
Ted Thong Falls and Nature Walk
Likewise, the Ted Thong Waterfall and Nature Trail is an enticing six-kilometre excursion from Luang Prabang town centre. These cascading waterfalls are far less majestic or awe-inspiring than Kuang Si Falls; yet they remain a lovely place for swimming, picnicking or even strolling amidst the lush forest with their specially designed paved track weaving through its foliage. An intrepid tuk-tuk driver can arrange to take you out there easily; alternatively one could opt for hiring a bicycle or motorbike as transport options on this adventure!
Luang Prabang Night Market
If you're within walking distance of the city centre, make sure to take note of the Night Market. Positioned off a major thoroughfare, this market opens its doors each evening from 5-6 p.m. and continues until vendors finish packing up at 10 p.m.. Clothing items such as scarves and hats are prevalent; along with accessories like cushions for sale – all organized in an efficient fashion by vendors who ensure to be courteous and friendly towards guests during their stay in town!
At the center of the late-night market, you will discover a vegan buffet offering up to over ten dishes and a compact communal seating area with bench seats and ample space for diners. Each plate is priced at 10,000Kip (US$1), making it an ideal place to dine if you're vegetarian or vegan; as such it can be beneficial if one wishes to meet other travellers while they are out exploring this exotic country.
Luang Prabang is a veritable paradise for travelers, boasting an abundance of accommodations to suit all tastes and budgets. From humble hostels that cost as little as US$4 per night up to luxurious hotels with rooms costing upwards of US$650 – no matter your preference, there's something here for everyone!
Luang Prabang Laos – A beautiful place
To explore the beautiful town of Totnes, an excursion along its urban core is a must. Wandering past quaint alleys and tranquil gardens amidst the bustle of its bustling streets will provide you with both serenity and excitement!
This captivating community, with its mellow atmosphere and harmonious culture, is a true gem of Laos. You can choose to immerse yourself in nature by basking in the sun-soaked beauty of locales like Luang Prabang; indulge your curiosity by exploring waterfalls; peruse jungles for miles on end or embark on adventurous journeys along the Mekong river – all within easy reach! Alternatively, you might simply take time out for some respite from bustling city life – savour this tranquil small town existence amidst Laos' ebullient traditions.