What to do in Luang Prabang, Laos?

Published October 11, 2018
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As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, doing nothing in Luang Prabang is already something. Every corner is a beautifully preserved architecture. And I could spend a whole day just walking around its streets. But of course, that’s not logical unless you’re there for a 3-month vacation. So here’s a list of few of activities for a fun stay in Luang Prabang.

Sisavangvong Road at night

Sisavangvong Road at night

Visit Kuang Si Falls

This multi-layered waterfall is a natural landmark that has become an icon for Luang Prabang. The beautiful blue water that flows through its layers forms pools that visitors can swim at. Unfortunately, we went here on a rainy season so that water was too strong and swimming was not allowed. The color was different as well, a brown-ish hue that was probably caused by the constant rain.

Getting there is easy and you have a couple of choices depending on your budget. You can go to travel agencies and join for a van service that costs around 50,000 Kip per person. But if you want to have control over time and more privacy, you may hire a tuktuk for around 170,000 Kip round trip.

Admission Fee: 20,000 Kip per person

Drop by Free The Bears Rescue Center

Inside the Kuang Si Falls park is a sanctuary for rescued bears. There is a small viewing area where you can see them go about their day.

There are no additional fees aside from the Kuang Si Falls admission, but you can buy their merchandise like t-shirts and caps to support their cause.

Free The Bears conservation center

Free The Bears conservation center

Take a 360 view of Luang Prabang from Mount Phousi

In the middle of the town is a hill that houses Wat Chom Si, a Buddhist temple where you can see a panoramic view of Luang Prabang. Getting there is easy since it’s right by the main road where most hostels are. There are two routes with about the same difficulty. The first one is near the Royal Palace and the other is near Wat Siphoutthabath.

Best time to go there is either sunrise or sunset.

Admission Fee: 20,000 Kip per person

View of Mekong Delta from Mount Phousi

View of Mekong Delta from Mount Phousi

Shop souvenirs at a night market

A portion of Sisavangvong Road is closed in the evening and transforms into a lively night market where you can buy souvenirs and street food. Bargaining skill is a must!

Part of Sisavangvong Road near the night market

Part of Sisavangvong Road near the night market

Go temple hopping

The town of Luang Prabang is pretty small but the amount of temples you can visit is more than you would expect. If you’re planning to go to Mount Phousi at sunset, then you may visit a couple of temples before that and have it as the grand finale. Nearby one include Wat Xiengthong, Wat Sibounheuang, Wat Sene, Wat Mai, and Wat Siphoutthabath.

We didn’t get to do this because of time constraint so we only visited Wat Siphoutthabath and Wat Chom Si at Mount Phousi. If we were to go back here, this is definitely the first thing we would do!

Wat Siphoutthabath at the other entrance to Mount Phousi

Wat Siphoutthabath at the other entrance to Mount Phousi

Luang Prabang is a beautiful town, rich in cultural experience and natural destinations. It’s just unfortunate that we didn’t get to spend a lot of time there because our 12-hour bus ride from Vientiane got delayed by 14 hours (total travel time of 26!!!) because of road accidents and landslides. That’s more than half-a-day’s worth of exploring and we could have done a lot more. But that’s just one of the things you have to accept when you travel in compressed itinerary. So take note of that if you’re planning on taking long bus rides in Laos since it’s a really mountainous country. Nevertheless, our experience in this town was still great, and a memorable sneak peek of what Luang Prabang has to offer.

Luang Prabang was included in my 10-Day DIY Trip across Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. Click here to read my full itinerary and expenses!

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