Friday, February 16, 2018

Things to do in Luang Prabang - Laos

Destination: Luang Prabang
Travel Companion: Solo (but met awesome people like Kate, Ashley, Gayle...)
Duration: 5 days

If you came here from my Laos blog post, then you should already have a lot of info related to Laos in terms of transport, visa, budget, tips etc.. if not and this information is important for you, kindly jump on this link!

Luang Prabang is definitely one of my ultimate favorite cities. When I booked my trip to Laos, with my first stop being Luang Prabang, I didn't have much expectations. To my great surprise, it was one of the chillest, coolest, most awesome cities I have ever been too, and I knew that only 5 minutes after being out of the airport and on the way to my hotel.

Why visit Luang Prabang?

In fact, it felt like such a cozy city, quite chill and most probably you will meet people from your first night, as people and expats who live there have this very inclusive mentality and personality. Being there made me want to stay a couple more days! In fact, I did extend by one night. I am generally quite organized, so I have my accommodation and flights booked. I almost stayed longer, but I only had one month to explore as much of South East Asia as I can!

Luang Prabang consits of 58 adjacent villages, which 33 of them comprise the UNESCO town of Luang Prabang world heritage site. (This means pubs close before midnight, and if you fancy a drink you have to jump to the bowling center - it's a hack!)

They have the best lighting, I brought back home 3 lamps for less than 10$ in total :)

Places to visit:

  • Red Bull pub: say hi to Vinnie. You will probably meet a lot of foreigners who live there, everyone is super friendly and you might end up with a group to hang out a couple more times
  • Utopia: super chill lounge with great view of Khem Khong river
  • La Casa Lao: French and international cuisine with daily special dishes based on what’s fresh
  • Viewpoint cafe: local and international cuisine with a super view - specially during the day. I specifically enjoyed the chicken spring rolls and the Da Naeig.
  • Joma Cafe: On some days you might see a specific ritual the monks go through at 4pm
  • Sabaidee: The decor is just super cute and the food is local and delicious
  • Pizza Phan: great pizza - or so I’ve heard but didn’t have enough time to make it there
  • Great restaurants, mainly at the other end of Main Street “Sisavangvong”. And also parallel to it (Kingkitsarath rd) where you can find many more restaurants with view of the Nam Khan River. Some restaurants offer cooking classes as well (such as Tamarind). Quiet area, but also central. Would be good to stay there.
  • Khem Khong street for many small restaurants with view of Mekong River. 
View of Mekong River, Luang Prabang - Laos.
View from Viewpoint Cafe - Mekong Riverview Hotel

Thanks to Red Bull pub, I met amazing people on my first night who I got to hang out with every night

Food in Luang Prabang

Food is generally very good and quite cheap in most places, even if it’s not just street food. There is a street called Sisavangvong in Luang Prabang full of restaurants, incredible decor with beautiful lighting and plants, thus great mood is guaranteed.

Noodles with Chicken, Luang Prabang - Laos

Friends at Mekong Riverview Hotel invited me over this amazing dinner in "Viewpoint Cafe" + exquisite view!

My first night in Luang Prabang, was having dinner at Sabaidee Restaurant and caught this happy family eating together

Spa and massages:

  • In general, I recommend and prescribe a daily foot massage, for at least 30 minutes; it will cost you between 3-4$.
  • Amazing spa called “L’hibiscus Spa & massage”, I recommend the traditional Lao massage where they give you special clothes to wear. What I loved about it, is the way they press on the pressure points, just make sure to ask for an experience masseuse!
Random place, 30 minutes foot massage for 3$. Funny story, she had 6 fingers on her right hand!
Luang Prabang Night Market

Elephant Village in Luang Prabang Province

Things to do:

  1. Elephant village half day 49$ (includes elephant village tour, elephant ride, Tad Sae falls, boat ride). I recommend this over visiting an elephant camp where the elephant is abused and mistreated. There are more packages for a full day and 2 days, you can also look into those based on how much time you have in Luang Prabang. You can find more details in my facebook post here.
  2. Pak Ou caves 11$ and entrance 2.5$ (whiskey village stop, 3 hours boat ride along Mekong River). Highlight is the boat trip on the Mekong River just looking at the beautiful views on both sides
  3. Kuang Si Waterfalls 6$ and entrance 2.5$. You can also rent a moped and go there yourself (an hour drive from city center). Some choose to trek there during one day, or do a backpacking trip for two days to get there. Another option involved rafting to the waterfalls!
  4. Night market (after 7PM)
  5. Morning market
  6. Trek up Mount Phousi (for sunrise or sunset as you get a 360 view of all of Luang Prabang), it’s over 300 steps and quite steep, doesn’t take much but you will be out of breathe by the time you get to the top
  7. Watch (from afar and without disturbing) alms giving at Sunrise by the monks (this also happens in Mount Phousi)
  8. Kayaking in Mekong River
  9. Cycling around Luang Prabang province... (you can find plenty of tour companies on the main street where you can organize your tours with them) 

Pak Ou Caves overlooking the Mekong River

Handmade silk scarves in a town called Whiskey village on the way to Pak Ou Caves.
Travel with Funk - Kuang Si Waterfalls, Luang Prabang - Laos

Where to stay:

Merry Riverside hotel, was such a nice stay, the staff are friendly and it felt like home. It’s impressive how a small modest hotel can have better amenities than fancy ones, kettle and hairdryer and water bottles refreshed every day in every room, a kettle and tea / coffee available in the hallway for everyone, a nice & affordable breakfast, concierge helpful when arranging tours (no extra charge), good location, 10 minutes walk from the main street with a very nice view, and they even do your laundry for peanuts!

Happy at Merry riverside Hotel
Kop Jai for your time, I hope you enjoy Luang Prabang as much as I did. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me on my instagram or facebook page. Or even comment here! For more inspiration, you can check my Laos photo stream here.


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