A colourful ancient city in north central Laos is the perfect combination of mesmerizing temples and French colonial architecture. Luang Prabang meaning “Royal Buddha Image” is home to over 30 Buddhist temples and sits amongst the Mekong River and Nam Khan (Khan River). From magical waterfalls, amazing mountains to beautiful river cruises and kayaking trips, Luang Prabang’s natural beauty is just divine!
Vibe: Luang Prabang has a whole new level of chill! You can explore the city on foot or bike and spend endless amounts of time sitting in the riverside cafes watching life go by. Look out for colourful boats across the serene waters as you sip on that chilled bear watching the beautiful sunset. Is it the calming presence of the monks in saffron or the warmth of the locals smiling back? No idea, but this dreamy vibe will have you sticking around this paradise for longer!
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.
Must Do: Visit Kuang Si Waterfall where the turquoise water and calm pools offer the perfect chance to cool off.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Alms Giving Ceremony. Photo credit: ePi.Longo - Flickr
Kuang Si Waterfalls
The Kuang Si Waterfalls, a three levelled waterfall approx. 30km out of town. These falls are surrounded by lush green forests and are spectacular all year round. Cool down with a nice swim or chill out and soak up this natural beauty in the picnic areas. There’s also a rescue centre for local Asiatic moon bears! For an insta-worthy view, hike up to the top of the falls… your followers will envy you!
Rice Experience - Living Land Farm
Rated as Luang Prabang’s #1 acitvity on Trip Advisor, The Living Land Farm is a working organic farm run by local farmers where you can learn how rice is traditionally harvested. An authentic experience you’ll remember forever.
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 donations 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 through craft workshops, events and special exhibitions.
Climb up Phousi Mountain
Need to up your Insta game? Climb up 300 stairs, you’ll thank us for it later! Phousi Mountain looms in the middle of town and is the perfect place to watch the sunset over the Mekong. The breath-taking view is definitely 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 cook like a Laotian
Attend a cooking class at a picturesque lakeside cooking school and learn to cook delicious Laos cuisine.
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 colourful 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
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 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 Bowling Alley - the one place in town that stays open until 3am, and a big magnet for the backpacking crowd. Bowl a strike, cheers your neighbours with a cold Beerlao, and see if you can still manage to get up at 5am for the morning alms giving ceremony!
WHERE STRAY STAYS
Arham Corner Guesthouse & Sports Bar
Arham Corner Guesthouse is conveniently located amongst must-see attractions such as Mount Phousy and The National Museum. With clean and comfortable rooms, Arham Corner Gueshouse features a restaurant and bar so you can grab a tasty bite and drink and relax after a day of exploring.
Facilities: Restaurant and Bar, Free WiFi, luggage storage, air-conditioning, daily housekeeping.
Hop off here and spend a few days exploring the charms of this UNESCO World Heritage City.