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Luang Prabang Guide

Population: 50,000

Vibe: Luang Prabang has a peaceful vibe and sits at the confluence of two rivers - the Mekong and the Nam Khan. It is small enough to get around on foot or bike and you could spend endless amounts of time sitting in the riverside cafes watching life go by. 

Must Do: Visit Kuang Si Waterfall where the turquoise water and calm pools offer the perfect chance to cool off. 

Known for: Being one of the most beautiful cities in Southeast Asia. It’s a place of golden temples, fruiting mango trees, monks in saffron robes and artfully preserved French colonial architecture. Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage city and it is also known to be the spiritual capital of Laos.

Top Things to See and Do in Luang Prabang

Monks Alms Giving Luang Prabang

Alms Giving Ceremony. Photo credit: ePi.Longo (flickr)

Kuang Si Waterfalls
The Kuang si Waterfalls are approx. 30km out of town. These falls are beautiful all year round and have great swimming pools and picnic areas, plus a rescue centre for local Asiatic moon bears! Hike up to the top of the falls for a great view.

Rice Experience - Living Land Farm 
The Living Land Farm is a working organic farm run by local farmers where you can learn how rice is traditionally harvested. This is rated Luang Prabang's #1 activity on Trip Advisor.

Attend an Alms Giving Ceremony
A major spiritual attraction is the morning alms ceremony, or Tak Bat, where long lines of monks stream through town collecting their daily food from locals. It's a beautiful sight, but unfortunately often disrespected by tourists who invade the monks privacy for a 'good photo' - if you go, please dress respectfully and take photographs from a discreet distance. 

Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC)
For the museum buffs, the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC) is a fantastic place to learn about the different tribal groups of Laos. The centre aims to preserve ethnic Lao culture and diversity.  

Climb up Phousi Mountain
Phousi Mountain looms in the middle of town and is the perfect place to watch the sunset over the Mekong.  There are a lot of stairs but view is worth the climb! 

Tad Sae Waterfalls
During wet season, Tad Sae Waterfalls are a great place to go if you want to combine ziplining with your waterfall experience and there are a number of biking, rafting, and trekking tours around the area too.

Learn to cooking like a Laotian
Learn to cook delicious Laos cuisine at a picturesque lakeside cooking school. 

Silk Dyeing and Weaving Class
Learn about how silk is produced and turned into the beautiful clothing and handicrafts you find in the Night Markets on the main street and make your own souvenir. 

Go Trekking, Cycling or Kayaking
Get out and explore Luang Prabang's stunning landscape, dense forests, picturesque river systems, and colorful ethnic diversity. 

Royal Palace Museum
See how Lao royalty lived and don't miss the vibrantly mosaiced temple on the grounds.

Pak Ou Caves
If you're travelling on a Stray pass you'll travel by private boat to Luang Prabang and stop at the famous limestone Pak Ou Caves en route. Pak Ou is an important pilgrimage site for Lao people, and here you will see thousands of Buddhist images that have been placed throughout the caves over hundreds of years. If you're not travelling with Stray you can take a short boat ride to the Pak Ou Caves from Luang Prabang.

Eating & Drinking

Luang Prabang Night Market

For those (eternally) summer nights in Luang Prabang, take a walk through the vibrant night market, get a cheap feed at any of the 15,000 kip ($2 USD) vegetarian buffets, or visit the BBQ stands for delicious meaty skewers and sausages.  Grab a seat at the benches where ever you can fit and chat with backpackers and locals enjoying a cheap delicious dinner. 

After dinner head to the bars along the Nam Khan side of town. Icon Klub is your destination for art nouveau style and impromptu slam poetry nights, while Lao Lao Garden, Utopia, and Hive Bar are big with the backpacker scene. Curfew for these bars is at midnight, but the party doesn’t stop then! The two nightclubs Dao Fa and Muang Sua are the spots for a real Lao party, and there’s always a tuk tuk driver waiting to take you out to the infamous the Bowling Alley - the one place in town that stays open until 3, and a big magnet for the backpacking crowd. Bowl a strike, cheers your neighbours with a cold Beer Lao, and see if you can still manage to get up at 5 for the morning alms giving ceremony!

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READ OUR BLOG: 10 Things to do in Luang Prabang. 

Hop off here and spend a few days exploring the charms of this UNESCO World Heritage City. 

houay xai rice man

Living Land - Rice Experience

The half day Rice is Life Experience is the #1 Tour/Activity in Luang Prabang on Trip Advisor.

Luang Prabang

Kuang Si Waterfall

The spectacular turquoise blue Kuang Si Waterfall in Luang Prabang cannot be missed!

Laos Cooking School Luang Prabang thumb

Laos Cooking Class

Learn to prepare and cook Lao food and learn about the habits and customs at the heart of Lao cuisine.

Natural Dye Class Luang Prabang

Natural Dyes and Weaving Class

Learn about every aspect of silk, including silkworm life cycle stages, silk textures, how silk is dyed and how silk is woven.

Green Discovery Luang Prabang thumb

Green Discovery

Get out and explore Luang Prabang's stunning landscape, dense forests, picturesque river systems, and colorful ethnic diversity with Green Discovery.