Luang Prabang Travel Guide

  • One of many ornate wats
    One of many ornate wats
    by stamporama
  • Kids bike past a colonial home
    Kids bike past a colonial home
    by stamporama
  • refined styles
    refined styles
    by josephescu

Luang Prabang Highlights

  • Pro
    thedouglas profile photo

    thedouglas says…

     Atmosphere - atmosphere - atmosphere 

  • Con
    xuessium profile photo

    xuessium says…

     But for how long? 

  • In a nutshell
    Rodan44 profile photo

    Rodan44 says…

     The most charming city in all of Asia! 

Luang Prabang Things to Do

  • Whiskey/Textile tourism

    Pak Ou caves trip includes a major stopover in one of the villages along the Mekong. Some of the original traits are still around such as the “woven” houses but in general the whole lifestyle is on a very slippery slope to “civilization”. Men are producing “whiskey” in industrial quantities and women are churning out enough textiles to dress up...

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  • Cave tourism

    North of Luang Prabang the magnate for the foreigners is a set of caves names Pak Ou. All the passengers raked by the travel agencies for the last couple of days are lined up around eight o’clock in front of the stairs leading to the tourist boat pier. The trip even includes a “free” drive-around town in a tuk-tuk with length depending on the...

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  • Fantasy waterfalls

    Luang Prabang has its limits. After a couple of days of shrine investigations and Mekong lounging it is time for some action. There are two popular destinations in the area developed to absorb the bored tourist mass and spin dollars off. South of town about 35km away are the Kuang Si Falls. The access is easy with a tour in a minibus but in return...

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Luang Prabang Hotels

Luang Prabang Restaurants

  • Slightly upmarket and very pleasant.

    I have shown this establishment under "other" cuisine as it falls into about five of the categories offered. There really is an eclectic mix of food here. In the morning the usual Continental / American style breakfasts are served, later in the day baguettes, Spanish style tapas, Lao food and European mains are offered.I only ate there once, a...

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  • Superb, peaceful location.

    This hotel is located right next to the far side of the old bridge. We went here for a meal as it was close to our first hotel. It is located on the banks of the Nam Khan River and is a bit more upmarket than many of the other restaurants as it is part of a hotel. We had excellent food. My husband had a baguette sandwich. I had a local stir fry...

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  • Relaxing on the river

    We were really spoilt for choice for restaurants in Luang Prabang there were so many located along the sides of the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers. It was wonderful to sit next to the river at sunset and watch the sun go down while sipping a cold beer Lao or coconut milk fruity shake.Food was tasty and cheap everywhere we went. There were local Lao...

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Luang Prabang Nightlife

  • 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,...

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  • Hype and Trendy

    If you are tired of the backpackers path, and want something more "hype" the S bar is made for you. The Cocktails are very good, I took a "Frozen Mojito", it was a delight. They also have a nice food menu with a mix of thai.sushi and western food. The owner is half French half thai, maybe that's why.This place is very creative, the menus are...

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  • 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 thruth, there is little to distinguis between...

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Luang Prabang Transportation

  • Ariving in luang Prabang

    Most buses and mini-vans arrive in LP a few kms from the centre, where many tuk-tuk drivers or representatives of guest houses will pounce on you as soon as you step off your bus. Most will show fotos of accommodation and will try to persuade you to stay there. Pick a suitable one, then they usually try to stick you in a tuk-tuk for a couple...

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  • TRAVEL BY BUS HERE..NO RAIL..

    LUANGPRABANG Whenever I can when travelling I always, if possible ,travel by train as I beleive it is the best and most comfortable way to travel...unfortunately there are no more trains in Laos so the next best cheapest thing is a bus..The busses are generally I found to be in good condition very modern,fast,and clean, for long distance services...

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  • Bus south to Vang Vieng

    The road to Vang Vieng takes around 5 hours through some beautiful if bumpy mountain scenery. Bring water and motion sickness tablets if you are poorly as it's not comfortable. I advise paying more with other tourists for a minivan than a public bus.

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Luang Prabang Shopping

  • Paintings.

    We noticed some stalls selling local paintings along the Mekong near the entrance to Wat Xienthong. Such pictures were also on sale in the night market.

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  • Dara Market

    This indoor market hall is located on Kitsalat Road. It had some lovely sarongs and silver jewellery.

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  • The Morning Market

    We visited the morning market after watching the alms giving ceremony. It starts early. I don't know how long it lasts.It was wonderfully colourful and great for photos. Most stalls sell fruit and vegetables, but there was also meat and fish. There were also some marigold sellers.

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Luang Prabang Local Customs

  • Waking up.

    No need to pack the alarm clock for Luang Prabang; wake up as God intended us to do. Roosters and chickens abounded in Laos.

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  • Monks.

    Monks are everywhere in Luang Prabang. I particularly enjoyed listening to the evening chanting sessions in the wats as it neared sun down. i did not go inside or bother them, just listened.

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  • Beer.

    Laos makes its own beer. The most famous is beer Lao available in light or dark. We only tried the light and it was very good. It is not available in draft in Lung Prabang only bottles and cans. We also found Nam Khan beer in some restaurants along the Mekong. This was also good but tasted more like a bitter than a lager.

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Luang Prabang Warnings and Dangers

  • MANIFA TRAVEL Stole 50,000 Kip $$$$ from...

    Do yourself a favor and DO NOT BOOK THROUGH THEM.I walked in here to book the shuttle to the waterfalls/bear sanctuary. I was told the next shuttle wasn't for another 2 hours but the guy was REALLY putting on the pressure to book ahead, so I paid him the 50,000 kip in cash and went to wait in a cafe.I returned at the time he told me and ended up...

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  • Falling trees.

    Try to avoid sitting directly under trees. Huge branches fell near us a least twice on our 4 day stay as well as a sudden shower of twigs. This in the dry season on non-windy days.The first incident was as we strolled along the Nam Khan we heard a sudden cracking noise and watched a couple of huge branches crash down to the riverbank nearby. The...

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  • Don't use Manifa Travel Company!

    The short version: Do not buy any trips or tickets at Manifa's. They are incompetent, don't understand English and they will lie to your face.The slightly longer version:We booked a boat trip (110.000 kip per person) to Nong Khiaw, seven hours north of Luang Prabang for 110.000 kip per person. 10 hours later we discover, that we have arrived...

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Luang Prabang Tourist Traps

  • Morning Alms Giving Ceremony.

    OK, I know everyone raves about this, but I was not impressed. When we went there were about 20 tourists to every poor alms collecting monk. I don't think tourists behaved badly; there were just too many of them and for me at least it was not particularly worth seeing.

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  • I'm not surprised it is for sale.

    Martin's Bar.I wandered into this place one afternoon for a beer purely by virtue of the fact there was some decent blues music playing and I do like a bit of blues. I was also a little intrigued by the very Western accented menu, including things like meatball and mashed potatoes. I had walked past here a few times and noted that it was always...

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  • Waterfalls and caves on your own (not a...

    Most tour agencies charge 50,000 kip per person for 1/2 day tour of Pak Ou or 1/2 day tour of the waterfalls. either are really tours, since when you get there, it is basically a do-it-yourself walk. If you negotiate, a tuk-tuk will do each destination for as many people can fit for ~110,000 kip total. Once you split the cost between your travel...

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Luang Prabang What to Pack

  • ALWAYS CARRY A STRONG MOSQUITO REPELLANT

    WHEN TRAVELLING HERE IN THE TROPICS THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT I ALWAYS CARRY WITH ME..: ALWAYS MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE A STRONG AND RELIABLE MOSQUITO AND INSECT REPELLANT. AS DENGUE AND MALARIA ARE PREVELANT:ANOTHER MUST IS FRESH BOTTLED DRINKING WATER AND MAKE SURE TO CHECK THE SEAL ON THE CAPS TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE NOT REFILLS:I USE A SMALL...

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  • Mosquito Repellent

    Mozzie repellent is a must for Luang Prabang - particularly as you are almost surrounded by river here - they come out as soon as the sun goes down, and they are relentless little buggers. I also recommend buying this at home, as I had bought our favourite brand here, but my husband insisted on buying something locally - and it was greasy and...

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  • Pack Light

    This was the first time we went on a trip with just one backpack. In fact, we used just D’s small women’s pack and it was plenty big enough. It gave us a lot of flexibility when it came to going on local buses and it was less to worry about too. Since I carried it, D loved the idea. lol Bring your hiking boots if you want to do a lot of walking....

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Luang Prabang Off The Beaten Path

  • Fishing.

    I was fascinated by the fishermen who waded into the Nam Khan to fish or fished off small boats in the Mekong. How come it's so relaxing to watch other people do all the work?

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  • War Memorobilia.

    Sadly Laos is one of the most bombed and land mined countries in the world having been blanket bombed by the Americans during the Vietnam War. Remains of these sad times can be found around town.

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  • River views.

    OK. it's not really off the beaten track, but as you wander around you will see some wonderful river views and river activity. The rivers and the wats are what really make Luang Prabang special.

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Luang Prabang Sports & Outdoors

  • The Wild Side!

    If you like whitewater rafting, kayaking & other eco tourism, you may want to check out www.lao-wildside.com that offers great outdoor packages.

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  • Kayaking the Nam Khan river.

    Our one day tour included the visit to the elephant camp for riding the elephants, after that we drove to Ban Ann where we started our kayak expedition. This river is a great place for kayaking, and is also a good oportunity to visit the Taat sae waterfalls. Highly recommended.

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  • Jungle Trekking

    The mountains surrounding Luang Prabang provide excellent opportunities to trek through some of the finest scenery in Laos. The outdoor adventure companies in town have your ticket to visit welcoming hilltribes subsiting in the rugged jungles.Possibilities range from day trips to multi-day hikes with overnights in villages. I did my trekking...

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Luang Prabang Favorites

  • Architecture.

    There are some beautiful buildings in Luang Prabang.I liked the old wooden buildings with their colourful shutters. Many old buildings had been made into hotels, restaurants, guest houses.

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  • Money.

    The local currency is the kip. 10,000 kip is $US1. There was an ATM at the airport and there were lots of ATMs and money exchanges in town especially on the main street. It is better value to pay for sights in kip rather than US. It is easy to change US and Thai currency.Notes should be in good condition, though. We frequently changed small amounts...

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  • exchanging money in LP using an ATM or...

    Sorry, I don't use MC (although I have one but I prefer to use only one major VISA) but I had no problems using my USA banks ATM in Luang Prabang to withdraw funds. Also VISA is linked to both BCEL Bank and Lao Development Banks' ATMs (these are the 2 main banks in Luang Prabang ALTHOUGH there are a number of foreign exchange offices/kiosks/booths...

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Comments (1)

  • nidnilun's Profile Photo
    Jun 6, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    luangprang is rich in culture traditions and natural wonders all of which make present day of Luangprang is a wonderful city most visitor come to visit in laos. ( Ten speaking are no match for seeing with your own eyes)

 
Explore Deeper into Luang Prabang
Participate in Touristy Ceremony
Things to Do
Beat the Crowds at Sunset
Things to Do
Cross Nam Ou
Things to Do
Cross the Mekong
Things to Do
Give a child an amazing gift.
Things to Do
The Alms Giving Ceremony - A Sacred Lao Tradition
Things to Do
Stroll across a bamboo bridge.
Things to Do
That Makmo
Things to Do
The Temples of Luang Prabang
Things to Do
Enjoy the sunset over the Mekong.
Things to Do
Coconut milk shakes
Local Customs
The Royal Palace.
Things to Do
Washing.
Off The Beaten Path
Wats on Sakkarine Road.
Things to Do
Wat Meun Na.
Things to Do
Wat That Noi and Wat Hor Xieng.
Things to Do
Wat Mai
Things to Do
Wat Xiengthong.
Things to Do
Mount Phousi.
Things to Do
Explore the sidestreets.
Things to Do
Visit the far side.
Off The Beaten Path
Do something useful.
Things to Do
Do it yourself dining.
Restaurants
Some fool gave me a machete!
Things to Do
Tat Kuang Si Cascades-Luang Prabang
Things to Do
Fresh, Delicious and Reasonable Prices
Restaurants
Ride through the jungle with an elephant
Things to Do
Best food for the money!
Restaurants
Fantastic BBQ duck at local hangout
Restaurants
RIVER TRIP TO PAK OU CAVES
Things to Do
BIG BROTHER MOUSE
Things to Do
all-u-can-eat, vegetarian
Restaurants
try the restaurants by the river
Restaurants
food stalls at handicraft night market
Restaurants
Souvenir market
Things to Do
Who is Big Brother Mouse?
Things to Do
Fair Trade in Luang Prabang
Shopping
French/Thai Fusion
Restaurants
Cao Kiep: Local style Rice Cakes
Restaurants
Cai Pen: Riverweed with chili, garlic and sesame
Restaurants
Map of Luang Prabang

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