Luang Prabang seems to have fallen out of time. It is leisurely, like everywhere in Laos, the people are friendly and relaxed. The Old Town is the most interesting part of Luang Prabang – no wonder that actually all tourist accommodations are located in this small area. What you can see in Luang Prabang, I have listed here. To anticipate one thing: Luang Prabang really impressed me.
Temple over temple in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang is the spiritual center of Laos. So if temple sightseeing in Southeast Asia is actually always a good plan – in Luang Prabang you can’t do without it!
Some of the particularly beautiful temples:
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Phou Si: The mountain with the breathtaking view
In no case should you miss the sunset on the mountain Phou Si (or Phusi). The view over the city and river are beautiful and have burned themselves into my memory forever. It’s best to arrive early to secure the best seats. There’s not that much room at the top of the mountain – and the mountain is actually always well attended. And yes, drinking a lot is really advisable in the Asian heat, especially during the ascent – but here’s the tip: There are no toilets at the top. So better to be economical with the water supply.
There are two ways up, one on the Nam Khan side, the other just in front of the National Museum.
The Night Market in Luang Prabang
No city in Southeast Asia without a night market. The Night Market in Luang Prabang is held daily from 6pm on Sisavongvang Road, right in front of the National Museum. Even if you’re not into the usual touristy stuff, it’s really worth taking a closer look here. A few things are really different and the prices are very fair.
Food & Drinks
There is no such thing as being hungry in Luang Prabang. On every corner you will find a nice pub/café/restaurant/whatever with good food. There is not so much street food except at a few corners on the Night Market, but you can also eat cheaply in restaurants.
Restaurant Tip for Luang Prabang
Och Pop Tok is actually a small textile manufacturer with great handmade and fair trade products. If you like, you can also use the free shuttle that takes you to the small production site outside the old town. And by the way, there’s also this cozy café near the store:
Luang Prabang Accommodation
Compared to the rest of Laos, accommodations in Luang Prabang are more expensive, especially on special holidays such as Lao New Year in April. I found the prices to be just fine, though. If you want to treat yourself, you should definitely check out the more luxurious hotels in town. For the price, they offer great flair away from the big hotel chains (which are less represented in Luang Prabang, or offer individually managed accommodations).
3 tips for different budgets
Easy: View Khem Khoung Guest House* cozy, French owner, helpful and friendly, location top
Medium: My Dream Boutique Resort* charming resort in the middle of a tropical garden
Luxury, luxury!!! 3 Nagas Luang Prabang* okay, is ‘ne hotel chain, aaaber: unique atmosphere, cozy, few rooms and great deals in the off-season.
Excursions from Luang Prabang
There is a lot to see from Luang Prabang in terms of nature, the main places to visit are these:
Kuang Si Waterfall – a dream!
More about it here in this blogpost:
Kuang Si Waterfall: Welcome to Paradise!
Tad Se waterfall – not worth it in the dry season
Pak Ou Caves – unfortunately I missed them, but they are supposed to be very nice.
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