Luang Prabang Laos: All You Need To Know is our guide to making the most of your time in Luang Prabang, Laos.
Luang Prabang is an enchanting riverside town with a tranquil atmosphere and a long list of tourist-friendly activities that will keep you entertained for weeks. The small, pious settlement is steeped in history with over 30 ornate temples rising high among the French colonial-style houses that are UNESCO listed.
Luang Prabang, Laos is like Hoi An in Vietnam but without the hordes of tourists. A small-scale version of Thailand’s Chiang Mai. Narrow streets lined with blooming bushes and quaint homestays, a chilled-out night market with $1 meals and the famous Luang Prabang waterfall with sky-blue water and thousands of butterflies.
So, if you are heading to this Laotian oasis, check out our guide on what to do to save yourself time!
If you’re travelling to Laos from Vietnam, check out our post HERE on how to organize your trip and ensure a smooth journey!
Luang Prabang Laos: Temples
Most of the major temples in Luang Prabang, Laos can be found on or around Sisavangvon Road, one street back from the Khong River esplanade. If you make your way to Sisavangvon Road and start meandering through the side streets that come off this main road, you will not only be awe-struck by the concentration of gorgeous temples, but also by the higher number of beautiful gift shops and picturesque guesthouses that are all photo-worthy.
Laos is a religious country and the people of Luang Prabang are quite devout. You will need to cover your shoulders and knees when entering temples here. Also, be aware that some temples in Luang Prabang have a modest entrance fee of 10,000 – 15,000 Kip. For more detailed information about the best temples to visit, check out HERE.
Luang Prabang Laos: Mountain
Right in the heart of Luang Prabang, Laos, just beside the Night Markets, stands a large hill – Mount Phousi. If you pay 20,000 kip, you can take the steep but short staircase up to appreciate the gorgeous city views. For a relatively fit person, the climb takes no more than 10 minutes.
Make sure you descend via a different path as the mountain is covered in covertly placed Buddha statues and you could miss some great ones, including those in a small underground cave, if you don’t explore. This is a popular spot for viewing sunrise and sunset (open from 5.30 to 18.00 every day) so make sure you get there early if you want a prime position.
Luang Prabang Laos: Puppet Show
This one-hour performance takes you inside Laos culture, with fairytales, fables and parables about Laotian kings, landmarks and historical events. And what better place for these stories to unfold than in the cultural and religious capital, Luang Prabang, Laos. The story-telling is accompanied by the traditional Lao instrument, the knene. Entry costs 50,000 and drinks are also available for purchase. The show starts daily at 18.30 and tickets can be bought after 18.00.
Luang Prabang Laos: Free Movie
A fantastic way to start your evening in Luang Prabang, Laos is by checking out a free screening of Chang. This movie, shot in 1925, was the first ever documentary to be filmed in the South-East Asian jungle. It tells the tale of the trials and tribulations of a Laos family during that era with touching moments, laugh-out-loud scenes and some insight into traditional Laos culture.
This film is screened each night and Victoria Xienthong Palace and Sanctuary Hotel Luang Prabang. Drinks are available for purchase.
Luang Prabang Laos: Night Market
The night market in Luang Prabang, Laos ranks among our favourite markets in South-East Asia. And why? Like most of Laos, the markets have a chilled-out vibe with no pressure from stall owners to buy what you’re looking at. You can amble past classic souvenirs such as LaoBeer T-shirts, jewelry made from war remnants and hand sown table runners to more modern keepsakes like bamboo straws and fluffy slippers.
To top it off, the night market in Luang Prabang, Laos has the best food. $1 all-you-can-eat-vegetarian buffet and a bakery stall with decadent chocolate slices. You could spend every night here and never get bored.
Luang Prabang Laos: Village Across The River
If you are in Luang Prabang, Laos and are looking to experience authentic Laos life, hop on a boat and journey across the Khong River to discover a real Laos village. You can find boat drivers waiting all along the esplanade and the cost is about 20,000 per person one way. You can also hire a boat for a period of time if you have a large enough group of people.
So, what is there to see on the other side? Real life in Laos. Local life in Laos. Villagers going about their daily lives without swarms of tourists. You’ll also come across some lovely temples and religious statues with minimal visitors. The serenity is awesome!
Luang Prabang Waterfall
No trip to Luang Prabang, Laos is complete without checking out Luang Prabang Waterfall. The majestic cascades are advertised by every tuk-tuk driver and travel agency in town and with good reason. The water in the Kuang Si waterfall has an intense light blue colour that is truly mesmerising. You can bathe in the various tiered pools at the bottom of the falls and climb to the top of the waterfall (about 30 mins) for a stunning view and more swimming spots.
If you are feeling peckish, you can walk a further 3km from the top to a small restaurant that offers a delightful outdoor eating area, some lush swimming spots and an ancient cave nearby for exploring. The most impressive thing about this 3km walk is the number of exquisite butterflies that will flutter past you.
The restaurant owner has also thought of a great way to get tourists entertained. A thin log lies from one bank of the nearby river across to the other. Any patron who can walk across without falling in gets a free drink. But if you slip and fall in, you MUST buy a drink. No exceptions.
Luang Prabang Waterfall Bears
So, what more could you want from a waterfall? Big cuddly black bears, you say? Well, here you have them. Luang Prabang Waterfall is also home to the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Center (The Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Center).
After entering the waterfall grounds, the path will take you beside the pens where these lazy giants spend their days swinging in bear hammoks. They’ve been rescued from farms where they were milked for bile (used in some traditional medicines) so you can make a donation to the center there, buy a t-shirt and even watch feeding time at 11.00 am every day!
If you choose to go to Luang Prabang Waterfall by minivan, you can arrange this at your hotel or guesthouse. The minivans run according to a schedule and have a set price of around 50,000 kip. If you catch a tuk-tuk, you will have control of your own schedule but the price will depend on how many people are travelling with you.
The waterfall is open from 8.00 until 17.30 and entrance fee is 20,000 Kip.
Check out THESE GUYS for an in-depth guide to the falls.
Luang Prabang Laos: Hotels
Where should you stay in Luang Prabang? In this city guesthouses and hostels abound so it can be hard to find the right fit for you. Here we have compiled a list of some of the best accommodation options in Luang Prabang Laos.
Luang Prabang Sofitel
Sophistication and elegance is what Luang Prabang Sofitel embodies. A classy mix of French colonialism and traditional Laos culture has been impressing guests for years.
Each of the rooms offered by this reputable chain includes a rain shower, garden, outdoor gazebo and bathtub. If you’d like something a little more personal, the Pool Villa offers a private plunge pool while the Signature Governor’s Residence has one king bed and two twin beds. All rooms are decorated with Lao silk and artefacts.
The hotel offers gourmet dining at both the resident restaurant and in the cosy library, where you can enjoy Luang Prabang’s largest private book collection, a crackling fireplace and vintage wine. If you want a more hands on experience, try the cooking course offered by the hotel’s chef.
When staying at Luang Prabang Sofitel, you will also have access to a swimming pool, fitness center and day spa.
The residence is located within walking distance of the main street, night markets and esplanade but is tucked out of the way of the busier parts of the city giving you convenience and privacy at the same time. With consistently high guest ratings, Luang Prabang Sofitel is sure to please.
Book here at booking.com to secure your slice of luxury in Laos.
Pullman Luang Prabang Laos
Pullman, Luang Prabang offers a tasteful mix of traditional architecture, local scenery and refined luxury. The 5-star international hotel could also pass for a peaceful village surrounded by rice paddies and meandering streams. However, Pullman, Luang Prabang also meets the needs of the most demanding travelers.
The complex contains a fitness center, bars, a restaurant, three pools, a luxury spa and the largest conference center in Luang Prabang. There is also a children’s playground for holidaying families.
Each room at the Pullman, Luang Prabang, has a private balcony offering stunning views of the idyllic Laos landscape, strong Wi-Fi and a well-stocked minibar. The Two-Bedroom Pool Villa will even treat you with an outdoor rain shower and a personal butler.
Pullman, Luang Prabang, is quite removed from the city center, giving guests privacy, peace and the chance to escape into their own little piece of heaven.
Book here at booking.com and get ready to discover the best that Luang Prabang has to offer!
Sanctuary Hotel Luang Prabang Laos
Location is everything for Sanctuary Hotel Luang Prabang Laos. Staying here will see you in walking distance of all of Luang Prabang’s main attractions including the esplanade, the night market and the major temples. Despite the prime location, the hotel grounds are tranquil and private, offering the best of what Luang Prabang has to offer without any of the hustle and bustle.
Sanctuary Hotel Luang Prabang offers UNESCO rooms in superior, deluxe and suite style. All rooms have stunning views and the extremely attentive staff speak English, French and Thai for your convenience. Not only does this hotel offer fine dining at reasonable prices, but guests can also take part in a cooking class on the premises.
If you want a mixture of tranquility and cultural immersion during your time in Laos, then book your stay at the Sanctuary Hotel Luang Prabang here at booking.com.
Sada Hotel Luang Prabang
Sada Hotel Luang Prabang sets itself apart from the rest with its personal touch. Guests are frequently offered special bonuses when booking here including free bottles of wine and Laos massages. It’s not like you need an extra incentive to stay here though with the central location, teak wood traditional buildings and unique furniture handcrafted by local artisans attracting lovers of luxury and comfort.
Each room features a private balcony and highspeed internet and the prices are very competitive. Sada Hotel Luang Prabang offers honeymoon and holiday packages and a Mekong river cruise. If you are looking for style and comfort that is located on the outskirts of Luang Prabang, then Sada Hotel Luang Prabang is a fantastic option.
Book here at booking.com and get ready for a lavish holiday in one of South East Asia’s most picturesque countries!
Kiridara Hotel Luang Prabang
Kiridara Hotel Luang Prabang offers budget-friendly and deluxe rooms for its valued guests. The hotel is modern, colourful and designed for your comfort.
Choose from mountain and pool views from your room, spend lazy afternoons in the sun lounges in the gazebo or admire the breathtaking landscape from the outdoor pool.
Set in a prime location in the centre of the city, Kiridara Hotel Luang Prabang offers guests the chance to explore the most popular parts of the town by foot. If you’d rather stay in and relax, then avail yourself of the spa facilities or have a coffee at the cafe. Kiridara Hotel Luang Prabang really does have something to please everyone.
Book here at booking.com for the best prices on the best hotels.
Airbnb Luang Prabang Laos
Airbnb is an incredible tool that will help you find the perfect accommodation in any city around the world. If you want to add some extra flavor to your trip to Luang Prabang, Laos, by staying with a Laos family, in a traditional house or right in the heart of Luang Prabang’s heritage centre, then Airbnb is where you need to look.
You can tailor your search criteria to match your every wish. Need a work space? Want to be able to access the property privately? Have a fury friend that needs to stay with you? Just adjust your search settings accordingly and you will be presented with hundreds of options all within your budget.
Not only does Airbnb Luang Prabang allow you to tailor your accommodation, it also gives you an insight into how ‘real’ people live in Luang Prabang, Laos. If you’re looking for cultural immersion, this is the website for you.
We hope that you enjoyed our guide to Luang Prabang Laos! If you have any questions or comments then feel free to drop us a line. If you like admiring the world in a form of art be sure to check out OUR FINE ART PRINTS…