Those who know me, always comment on how much I rave about Laos.
The reason why I drone on about it all the time is, it is simply the best country to spend time in South East Asia!
It is a seriously underrated country which doesn’t appear often on many travellers itineraries due to the notion that there isn’t much to see there – this is simply not true.
Laos has some of the best mountain ranges I have seen in Asia, has the friendliest locals and is home to tonnes of culture and attractions that there is almost too much to do there.
The Kuang Si waterfalls, tubing in Vang Vieng, chilling in hammocks in 4000 islands – it is all here for you to experience.
If you are planning on spending a short sprint in Laos on your way over to Vietnam or Thailand, I would highly recommend Luang Prabang as this has the best the country has to offer.
It is the cultural epicentre and you’ll find the majority of travellers land here due to this reason. It is the perfect backpacker base as it is so cheap for food and accommodation and there is some great nightlife.
Keep reading for the 5 things do in Luang Prabang.
How to travel to Luang Prabang in Laos?
Depending on whether you’re travelling clockwise or anti-clockwise around South East Asia, you can access Luang Prabang from the north of Thailand and Vietnam.
The easiest (but longest way) is by bus but you can also fly into Ventienne and then catch a connection here. Take a look at my night bus survival guide here.
Luckily for tourists, all of Laos main tourist destinations are in close proximity to each other and are almost in a row.
You can easily transport your way through by taking the tourist buses.
I’m not going to lie, the roads are pretty non-existent but you’re in safe hands with the bus drivers who are used to managing the paths.
Some helpful Laos phrases for Luang Prabang
One of my favourite things about travelling through South East Asia was relishing the challenge of learning to speak the different languages. Here’s some useful phrases for Laos;
- Sabaidee Bor = How Are You?
- Kup Chai (la lai lai) = Thank you
5 AMAZING things to do in Luang Prabang
1. Discover Paradise in the Kuang Si Falls
If you do nothing else on your visit, make sure you visit Kuang Si Falls in Luang Prabang.
These falls have crystal clear blue waters that you can oggle at and even swim in.
It is also home to the amazing Free The Bears charity who protect Asiatic bears from illegal trafficking
. The journey here is around 25 minutes from central Luang and entrance will cost you around 40,000 kip.
If you want to read more about this amazing place click here.
2. Visit the Pak Ou Caves
If you fancy a venture on the magnificent Mekong river, you can grab a boat ride from central to the Pak Ou caves.
There are tours which run each morning, so make sure you research the times or you’ll need to rent a private charter after that (you can always group up with fellow travellers who missed the boat too).
On your journey you’ll be taken to local Laos villages selling their handicrafts, or you can try some rice wine or Laos Laos Whiskey from the vendors there (you’ll know which ones which as all the whisky bottles have snakes in).
As you venture into the caves you will have to pay a small fee to enter but it is a welcome respite from the heat when you’re there. You’ll see hundreds of gold Buddha’s and offerings in the cave and get some amazing views of the river as you ride.
Pak Ou Caves
3. See the monks at dawn in Luang Prabang
You’ll have to up early to experience it, but it’s worth the wake up call!
Every morning as the sun rises you will see a Buddhist Alms giving ceremony where locals give thanks to over 200 monks from local temples.
Although it is a local ceremony, visitors are allowed to get involved and offer alms in the form of food (rice an snacks).
You will need to kneel to give your offering to show respect.
Monks in Luang Prabang
4. Watch the Sunset at Mount Phu Si
Every evening the sun puts on a magnificent show over the Mekong river, which you can watch at Mount Phu Si.
You will need to climb several hundred steps to reach the top, which can be a challenge in the heat, but the views are spectacular.
Make sure you take your seat and watch the sun turn the sky a salmon pink as it hides behind the mountains.
There is a small fee to enter but you won’t regret going – it was one of the best sunsets I experienced in SEA.
Mount Phu Si
5. Experience Club Utopia & Go Bowling!
Yup, you did just read that.
Luang Prabang doesn’t have nightlife as we would typically know it back home, there are some bars including the amazing hippy vibe Utopia which is great during the day or night.
But, Utopia in Luang Prabang and other bars around shut at around 11pm.
That’s why there is a late night bowling alley set up for the after party.
Join up with the fellow backpackers hanging off tuk tuks and make your way over to the alley.
Here, you can knock over some skittles while drinking your Beerlaos and listen to cheesy 90s party tunes. It will definitely be a night to remember.
So, those are the top things to do in Luang Prabang
Aside from the 5 things above, there is plenty more to do – you can explore the exquisite French quarter of the town and buy some of the best French pastries and baguettes in Asia.
Taking of baguettes they’re sold EVERYWHERE. Each morning, the vendors set up around 20 baguette stalls in a row in the central square – I remember them calling “Hello”, “Sabaidee”, “Buenos Dias”.
Make sure you try their avocado sandwiches and a fruit smoothie! You can bag a lunch for around £1.
There is also a night market which sells some amazing local handicrafts and sells street food which is perfect for when you’re on a budget. All dishes are around £1 as well. It is just so cheap it’s untrue so your travel budget will stretch so much longer.
Make sure you visit Laos and the amazing Luang Prabang when you’re visiting South East Asia – you won’t regret it!