Any place along the river: Tropical sunsets set the mood
Watching the sunset in a tropical setting is always a beautiful thing but with the inexpensive cafes that dot Luang Prabang’s riverfront, it is an affordable place to do it too. It’s a great place to meet fellow travelers and get the scoop on where to next and more importantly, how to do it cheaply.
Dress Code: Even if it is warm, wear long light pants, shoes and socks to fend off mosquitos. Wear repellent too as dusk is major feeding time at the mozzie zoo.
Lao Lao Garden.: Mythbuster.
Lao Lao Garden is one of the group of nightspots clustered in Ban Aphay on Rathsavong Road, and there seems to be some sort of idea amongst certain travellers that it is a gay bar. I believe this derives from a comment in the ubiquitous Lonely Planet guidebook, although I am not using that guide for this leg of my journey. Let me put this myth firmly to rest now, this is not a gay bar, at least not in a sense that people from the West would understand it. It is not a cruising or pickup joint, and I do not believe such a thing exists in Luang Prabang. It is a bar where gay men or women will be welcome (as indeed anywhere in the town) as long as they do not indulge in overt displays of affection. The Lao are a very conservative people and such displays are offensive to them, whether homosexual or heterosexual. Homosexuality is widely tolerated in Lao.
What it in fact is is yet another nightspot with the pumping music, various happy hour and two for one deals etc. which alll the places seem to have. There is a pool table which has seen better days, European football is shown on a large screen and as the name suggests there is a large garden where they light a very pleasant bonfire at night. As with everywhere else in town, they will throw you out unceremoniously at 2330 to comply with the curfew.
There is a wi-fi connection here although it is fairly slow and the connection tends to drop out now and again. It is for this reason that I spend a bit of time here in the evenings, checking my VT!
I spent Xmas Day night here and it was a slightly surreal scene. Apart form the normal light display, they had decked out a huge Xmas tree and all the staff were wearing Santa hats and red scarves. If you imagine Santa's grotto on LSD you will be somewhere close.
In short, as good a place as any to spend an evening in Luang Prabang and probably a little livelier than most. The photo shows the Xmas tree in all it's glory.
Dress Code: None.
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
- Beer Tasting
Dancing: Night through night
I am not nightlife person and if I went out just for hang out with my friends for big bar people too crowded for me !. One of my friend wanted to see nightlife in Luang Prabang, just wondering how prople live in so quiet and such a small town like this! We heard that they were still have " Rom wong Dancing" ( some kind of traditional dancing)There 's only two place for dancing. one is " Duong Jom Pa" mostly are teenager....all Loas dancing the same step crowded on the floor...so cute!! . The another is for elder life style " Muang X oua" I do like this one, more traditional style have " Rom Wong dancing" women wear "Pra Xin" ( like skirt but more traditional )
Dress Code: Wear whatever you want to..but sometimes wear traditional dress with Rom Wong Dancing more beautiful !!!
Utopia Bar.: Not quite right.
The main competition for the traveller night-time dollar seems to be centred in the Area of Ban Aphay, along a small strip of Rathsavong Road and seems to centre on the rivalry of Hive Bar and Lao Lao Garden with Ban Pa Garden bringing up the rear (see seperate tips), but it appears there is a new kid on the block. Recently opened with obviously quite a lot of Canadian / Lao money it is undoubtedly the best equipped of the night spots and really is quite impressive by local standards. The picture shows the rather odd concept of beach volleyball being played in a totally land-locked country and the full size court is just one of the attractions on offer.
It is an odd place. There are numerous pieces of hopefully neutralised ordnance about the place, which frankly I think it could do without. The place is very well equipped and the toilets are spotless. A large chopper motorcycle adorns the dancefloor, and if you don't feel that energetic there are plenty of chillout areas. There is even a crows nest 20 metres high should you feel that adventurous. The music ranges from salsa to rock with the obligatory dance music for the backpack crowd. It has an excellent location on the river with nice daytime views.
All this sounds as if it should be a winner but it just isn't. I was there on New Years Eve when it was obviously packed but I went a couple of days later and counted five people in the place. The other four were friends of the Canadian manager. Firstly, the location. Do not believe the sign on the road that says it is 50 metres away, it is more than that and you have to walk down a little alleyway through a residential area. Secondly, the staff and organisation just aren't there. The numerous waiting staff will ignore you totally seeming to be too engrossed in their own affairs. Not wishing to mess up the floor, I had to ask for an ashtray four times from the same waitress whilst I watched her happily flirting with her boyfriend. You usually end up going to the bar yourself as it is quicker than waiting for service. One night they even ran out of Beer Lao which is something akin to an Irish pub running out of Guinness. The advdertised wifi is not installed yet and no-one seems to know when it will be. All small things but they mount up.
Perhaps they are all just teething problems but at the minute, pleasant as the surroundings are, I would give it a miss.
Dress Code: None.
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
- Beer Tasting
Hive Bar: Buzzin'
The Hive Bar has a great setting to sip Beer Lao or cocktails (concocted with homemade Lao whisky), eat tapas, and meet people. Located on the opposite side of Phu Si hill from the town, the Hive Bar has a bar and dark orange brick lounge area inside, where a Lao DJ plays listenable commercial tunes (Jamiroquai was played every night - ok, barely listenable sometimes). Out in front is a treed terrace with additional seating where most patrons congregate by night's end. It's a very relaxed place to have a drink and there's always lots of travelers around with whom to enjoy it. It's well worth the extra 25 cents for a big bottle of Beer Lao to drink at Hive Bar rather than a restaurant in town.
Dress Code: Despite being the most posh night venue in Luang Prabang, and perhaps all of Laos, the dress code is pretty relaxed. Most people are on a three to four day run with the attire they are wearing.
- Budget Travel
There is none!: Wild nightlife in Luang Prabang!
The most action in Luang Prabang is the night market! I saw it written somewhere while I was there that most lights are out by 9.00pm! Suits the old fogies like us, specially when we get up early in the am to make the most of the day!
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
royal palace: traditional show at the royal palace
Theorethically this should fall into the tourist trap cathegory, since it's your average tourist show of traditional dances. However it's so simply (and frankly, quite badly) done that one can consider it as a sort of charity, or a help to the economy. It runs a few nights a week, late in the afternoon (6pm to 8 pm if I remember correctly), and it's about the only nightlife one can get in Luang Prabang. I think the price was 10000 kips
Dress Code: as u like.
Hive Bar.: Not exactly a hive of activity.
The Hive Bar seems to be in direct competition, and a few doors along from, the Lao Lao Garden. Utopia has now also entered the scene (see seperate tips for both). Judging by the limited amount of people in both premises even in high season, it appears the competition is for a diminishing market. In truth, there is little to distinguish between them, although I would say Hive has the slightly more comfortable surroundings. Like Lao Lao Garden and Ban Pa Garden, on the same strip, it offers a range of two for one, happy hour and cocktail deals. The music also tends to be marginally less raucous and dance orientated than Lao Lao Garden. I think something has got to give here, and I suspect it may be the Hive, although it is quite long-established and certainly a pleasant enough place to spend an evening. Like everywhere else, you will be out the door at 2330 if not before to observe the curfew.
Dress Code: None.
- Food and Dining
Pack Luck Pub & Restaurant: Cool Wine Bar
Cool little wine bar on the main drag, with tables both inside and on the little outdoor terrace overlooking the road. They have a small but interesting winelist, although only 2 wines available by the glass, and those both coming from boxes…
Cocktails and regular bar drinks also served, as is food. Jazzy, laid-back tunes and friendly service make it a nice place to relax and unwind.
Ban Pa Garden.: Maybe it was a bad night.
The livelier nightlife in Luang Prabang seems to centre around a small area in Ban Aphay on Rathsavong Road. Ban Pa Garden is one of the cluster of places here (see seperate tips for the others), and, to be honest, they are all much of a muchness. They all offer various two for one promotions, happy hours and so on. To be honest, I think the market is oversubscribed as, even in high season, none of them ever seem to be vaguely approaching capacity. It is neither better nor worse than any of the others and the service is OK. To be honest, the night I was there I would be surprised if it wasn't. It was just after New Year and the town was pretty dead with many of the travellers having moved on after the New Year party. As a result, I was the only person in there.
The staff are friendly and when I jokingly complained about the thumping dancde music being played, indicating I was too old for such things, the waiter politely showed me the computer which controls the music and allowed me to get on with the music selection for the rest of the night. Cue some more sedate selections.
In short, it is a perfectly pleasant place for an evening drink but nothing special.
Dress Code: None that I could see.
- Food and Dining
The Hive: Decent but dead
The Hive was meant to be one of the best bars in town but even though it was 10pm on a Thursday when we went it was so quiet. The bar itself has some cool sitting areas out the front, with cushions etc and also a huge garden out the back with loads of seats. Prices are a little high, 30k kip for a Cuba libre or 10k kip for a small Lao beer. Am sure in peak season this us a cool place to be.
The night market: Shopping for local handicraft.
Luang Prabang is not noted for its nightlife, but it does have a huge nightmarket which takes over a large area of the town every evening. It begins near the post office and stretches down the main street and into some side streets. There are food and drink stalls as well as lots of handicraft stalls. Among other things we saw colourful sarongs, bags, T-shirts, silver jewellery, some interesting lamps, paintings, bottles of spirits with snakes and other creatures inside.
Bowling Alley: Only place open after midnight
The Bowling Alley as you discover is the only place open after midnight where you can get a drink. While you are there why not have a game of bowling. When we went there was a crowd of us and we had a great time.
It was more modern than we were expecting. Computerised scoring.
Although I cannot tell you where it is, don't worry all the tuk tuk drivers know where it is. They will approach you as you leave the bars.
Dress Code: No dress code. If they don't have enough shoes, you just bowl bear foot.
Karaoke bar: Sing a long
Luang Prabang is the city that sleeps from 12 a.m. till 5 a.m., so after midnight, there's not a whole lot to do. There are a few bars- and we tried to find a nightclub, but in the end found this Karaoke bar which although was never really busy, could be a lot of fun. It was right next to our hotel- The New Luang Prabang Hotel - so we never had far to go when it closed at 12 midnight exactly.
Who remembers names?: Small bar
This is a small bar with an outside patio that attracts most tourists and ex pats. It is on the other side of the strett from and between the Phousi Hotel and Mount Phousi. You will find it easily with a little walking.
The beer is cold and they serve Lai Lai. I cannot divulge how Lai Lai is made, trade secret, but it is the favored whiskey of Laos. Aged over 6 days sometimes. Try a few shots and say good night Gracey.
Dress Code: No, if your a male jeans are fine.
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