13 Things to Do in Luang Prabang

Kuang Si Waterfall Slider

Laid-back vibes, beautiful temples and remains of French architecture – Luang Prabang is a city that I completely fell in love with. It has so many places to explore and discover,  so spending a few days there is an absolute must when you come to Laos! In order to give you an idea of activities to in Luang Prabang, I’ve compiled a list of 13 things to do when visiting this beautiful city.

 

     1. Kuang Si Waterfalls

Taking a trip to Kuang Si Waterfalls was one of my favorite activities when I visited Luang Prabang. Kuang Si Falls consist of three tiers, ending in a big pool in the most stunning shade of turquoise I have ever seen. I would recommend going quite early in the morning, as you will have to share this magical place with lots of other travellers otherwise. Walk along the many cascades of the waterfall and don’t forget to take a dip in one of the beautiful turquoise pools along your way! There even is a mini cliff you can jump off if you like (yeees, you can even do this if you are a little bit scared of heights like I am ;)).

Kuang Si Waterfall

 

     2. Climb Mount Phousi

Mount Phousi is a small hill located in the center of Luang Prabang. It takes a little effort to reach the top, but you’ll be rewarded with a stunning panoramic view over the city and its many temples, the Mekong and the mountains in the distance. Mount Phousi is a popular spot to watch the sunrise or sunset, so it apparently gets quite crowded around these times – especially in the evening.

 

     3. Watch the sunset over the Mekong

There is no need for a lot of words- just sit down somewhere along the Mekong and enjoy the spectacular sunset!

Sunset Luang Prabang

 

     4. Chill out at Utopia

Utopia is a bar and restaurant nestled along the banks of the Nam Khan river (the town is surrounded by two rivers – the Mekong and the Nam Khan). Sit down, sip a drink (try the banana coffee smoothie – so good!) and enjoy the beautiful views from the deck. Then snooze off feeling the wind sweeping over your face…there’s no better way to spend a relaxed day in Luang Prabang! If you’re still there by nighttime, you can enjoy a candle-lit dinner and sip a cocktail or a beer. A place not to miss when coming to Luang Prabang!

For all yogis: check out the yoga classes at Utopia!

 

     5. Get templed out

Luang Prabang is scattered with many beautiful temples across the whole city. You’ve got 33 to choose from, but Wat Xien Thong is probably the most famous one – for a reason – it is absolutely stunning! One of my favourite temples is Haw Pha Bang temple, which is located at the entrance to the grounds of the Royal Palace.

Luang Prabang Temple

 

     6. Night Market

The night market takes place every day between 17:00 and 23:00. You can shop everything from local handicrafts to T-shirts and traditional Lao clothing. Unlike at other night markets, vendors aren’t pushy at all and the whole experience is really relaxing 🙂 Don’t forget to haggle a bit but refrain from bargaining about every penny or cent – it probably doesn’t make a world of a difference for you, but it may for the locals.

 

     7. Watch the Alms Giving Ceremony

This is a bit of a controversial activity in Luang Prabang. As the sun rises, a sacred Buddhist ritual takes place every day, during which the locals line up along the roads to offer alms to the monks. It has become a popular tourist activity to observe this tradition during the recent years. There is nothing wrong about that, but many tourists do not behave very respectfully, standing just about a meter away from the monks in order to get nice pictures. Don’t be that kind of traveler! Observing the ceremony is a great way to immerse yourself into the local culture, but do so from a distance and turn off the flash of your camera.

Alms Giving Luang Prabang

 

     8. Visit Xien Meng village across the Mekong

If you feel like escaping the tourist crowd, take the ferry across the Mekong to explore the little village of Xien Meng. There is a Wat you can visit, but if you are feeling “templed out”, simply take a stroll through the dirt roads, try some of the local street foods and observe life in the village. When we went to the village, there was a Laos wedding taking place, which was pretty cool to see!

 

     9. Luang Prabang’s morning market and Phosi Market

Visiting one of the local food markets is a really nice way to immerse yourself into local life. In the city center, a morning market takes place every day. Alternatively, you can head to Phosi Market which is a bit further out of the center (about a 20 minute walk). There you’ll get to see everything – bags of blood, frogs, spices, you name it!

Market Luang Prabang

 

     10. Volunteer with Big Brother Mouse

Big Brother Mouse is a small organization that offers daily conversation classes for locals to improve their English. Stop by at 9am or 5pm to help – there is no need to sign up for this, you can simply show up there!

 

     11. Knock back a beer at the Mekong

Perfect to combine with watching the sunset and a cheaper alternative than going to a bar at night!

Mekong Luang Prabang

 

     12. Visit the Bowling alley

For some reason I missed out on this. You may think, so what – a bowling alley? Well, this apparently is THE place in Luang Prabang to party. Almost every backpacker goes there when Utopia closes and apparently it is super fun! It’s the only place in Luang Prabang that is open after the midnight curfew, so it is packed with people every night as I have been told. Don’t miss it like I did!

 

    13. Indulge yourself in delicious food

The night street food market is heaven for vegetarians! We went out for dinner there every night and never got bored with it because so much is offered to choose from (not only vegetarian options but also meat & fish). During the day, we usually just grabbed a sandwich and a fruit shake from one of the many food stalls along the main roads, which always was super delicious too!

 

As you can see, there are a lot of things you can do to keep you entertained when visiting Luang Prabang. The list could go on even longer – close to the city are the famous Pak Ou Caves, there is the Royal Palace Museum and many more things you can do. Just go and discover the beautiful city by yourself!

 

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Things to do in Luang Prabang

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20 Comment

  1. Luang Prabang was by far my favorite city in Laos.
    Kuang Si waterfalls were pretty and the Alms giving ceremony was amazing to watch as well.
    x

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      Same here! I love that there are so many different things to do & see in Luang Prabang 🙂

  2. Those waterfalls look like some I visited in Croatia! Maybe I’ll make it my goal to see a beautiful waterfall everywhere I go!

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      Do you mean Plitviče Lakes? 🙂 I haven’t been to those yet, but saw pictures and it looks likek a gorgeous place!

  3. Sheena says: Reply

    I’m due back for a visit to Laos & Luang Prabang – either my memory is really bad or I didn’t actually do even half of these things while I was there. The Kuang Si waterfalls look amazing. I’m hoping to travel around South East Asia next year, I think Luang Prabang has to make the list now!

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      I would see it this way: it’s always to discover new places even if you have already been to the city before 🙂 I’d go back to Luang Prabang any second, really liked that even though it is a slightly bigger city, it didn’t feel crowded as other big cities in Southeast Asia!

  4. Lisa says: Reply

    I love reading about places I am not familiar with. Your post and pictures have taken me through a wonderful adventure with you. I must put this on my must visit list. Beautiful place looks like I could do some serious hiking there.

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      I’m happy to hear that you liked reading the post 🙂 Laos is such a beautifual country to visit – great nature and not overrun by tourists like for example Thailand. There are lots of hiking opportunities too!

  5. So many awesome suggestions! And your pictures are just stunning. Big Brother Mouse sounds like such a great project; more places should have similar drop-in opportunities. Laos has always been on my list of places I’ll eventually travel so if I make it anytime soon I’ll be sure to head to Luang Prabang and heed your advice!

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      Thank you 🙂 Yes, it’s a good concept I think – too often travelers don’t want to commit to something in advance, so this is a great opportunity in my opinion!

  6. My co-blogger Davide went to Luang Prabang last year, and when I saw his shots I fell in love with this place. Your post is really great, love your pictures and I’m sure I’m gonna do all the things on the list :), in particular visit the Kuang Si falls…they’re really amazing

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      Thanks for the feedback, happy to hear that the post has been helpful 🙂 Kuang Si falls really are amazing, you definitely shouldn’t miss this place if you get the chance to visit Laos!

  7. Trevor says: Reply

    I’m really glad I found this post. We’re going to Laos in March 2017, so your tips will be very helpful. We love going to local markets, so can’t wait for both the morning and night markets.

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      Thanks, happy to hear that my post has been helpful 🙂 Enjoy your trip, Laos is such a beautiful country!

  8. We’re planning to visit Laos in the upcoming year. Luang Prabang is on our itinerary. Thanks for all the great tips about what to see and do. We really look forward to the Kuang Si falls.

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      Happy to hear that the post has been helpful 🙂 Enjoy your upcoming trip – Kuang Si falls re really a place you shouldn’t miss, they’re stunning!

  9. Beautiful location and a wonderful and informative post. The waterfalls look so very inviting and I can’t even imagine how refreshing it must be to take a dip in it. I am a big fan of night markets and its nice that the people are not pushy which can be a big turn off at times. The culture and people look so welcoming. Would love to visit one day and explore this on my own.

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      Thanks for the feedback, happy to hear that you enjoyed reading the post 🙂 Laos and especially Luang Prabang is really an amazing place to visit – there are so many nice places to explore!

  10. kallsy says: Reply

    Every country in Asia is always tugging on my heart strings! The waterfalls in Luang Prabang are simply stunning and I would love to visit the temples here to learn more about the history and culture. I am glad to know there are some vegetarian options for street fare! My husband and I LOVE street food and markets. These are some great recommendations!

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      I can relate to that! 🙂 It’s actually pretty easy to find vegetarian food in Laos, but the night market was the best vegetarian food I’ve tried.
      Thanks Kallsy 🙂

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