I knew I would enjoy being in Luang Prabang, it didn’t intend to fall in love with it like I have! What a beautiful special place this is with much charm. You cant help be captivated by the cobbled streets, the wooden signs over shops which all match. Two rivers meet forming a peninsular the locals build handmade bamboo bridges to cross. The people, the food, the buildings all create a wonderful atmosphere you wont want to leave.
I struggled with a photo to choose as the ‘feature’ as it’s impossible to sum the City in one! Here are my favourite places to visit and things to do in Luang Prabang.
Easily my favourite thing to do in Luang Prabang was to walk over theses hand made bridges. They are dotted around the peninsular and are built by local families each year. They are washed away with the monsoon and rebuilt the following season. You pay a very small fee to the family, worth it to enjoy the stable but noisy crossing!
Manda Da Laos
I booked us in to this wonderful restaurant for our first evening after our long boat trip. It’s pricy, and I mean pricy but worth every single penny. We went for the tasting menus to try as much of the Laos/French inspired cuisine. Delicious! Plus we were stuffed. What makes this restaurant truly unique is that it is the setting. You sit amongst lantern lit lily ponds – you won’t get a more romantic setting! Book to avoid disappointment.
One of the best ways to see around Luang Prabang is by bicycle. Most hotels will hire them/give for free. There are also bike hire shops too. The streets are mostly flat and very safe to be on and you get to see much more than if you were on foot. Have a go! We stayed at the Mekong Riverview and these were their lovely bikes.
Immerse yourself further in to the Laos culture by taking a cookery class. There are a variety to choose from in Luang Prabang, this is one I found on the Main Street. There are other famous ones such as Tamarind & Bamboo Tree, however we didn’t have time to try out any of them. Let me know if you do and what you thing, I will certainly be returning here! Check out more available classes & venues here.
If like us you are only in Laos a few days you don’t really want to change much currency in to Kip. This worked fine almost everywhere using Dollars and Baht, but not on Mount Phousi! There are three different routes to the top and halfway up there is a little hut where you pay. You can ONLY pay in Kip. The lady in charge was very firm about this! We had none, so back down we went to change some Baht at a little kiosk on the Main Street in town.
By now it was getting rather warm as we trekked back up to pay and walked the rest of the way to the summit. The views across Luang Prabang were definitely worth the leg ache. It’s even pretty from the air!
Luang Prabang’s Buildings
I cant and wont name all of the pretty temples and buildings there are to see in Luang Prabang, it would just take too long! With their unique style, golden and sometimes jewelled exteriors they really are impressive. Just from wandering up and down the main and side roads you will come across many of the famous sights. Take an organised tour like these ones to make the most out of your visit.
Whether you are weary from climbing up Mount Phousi twice in a day as you forgot your kip. Or you have walked miles up and down the cobbled alleys, or cycled along the river, treat yourself to a refreshing drink. The local beer here is Beer Lao and is very tasty!
Luang Prabangs’ Cobbled Streets
The main road through the centre is very pretty, but do divert off of it and go down the side streets. They are just as lovely with a mix of temples, guest houses and locals homes for you to see. The whole area is very safe so don’t be worried about going off the main track. How else will you really get a feel for the place?
The Luang Prabang Views
You do not need to climb Mount Phousi for a beautiful view of Luang Prabang, they are all around you. While away the evening by the river and watch the boats float past.
Take a River Trip
Equally join one of the many river trips on offer for an alternative view of Luang Prabang. There are several companies along the riverbank to choose from. We arrived by boat from Thailand (a two day trip) so we didn’t do any further sailing during our stay. Take your pick of a wide variety of boat trips, from ones which visit temples, waterfalls & villages to sunset cruises.
Eat Locally In Luang Prabang
Two meals and a beer each for about £6! You cant beat that price especially when it was super tasty, healthy, filling and comes with this view! The riverbank has many restaurants on the high ridge where you can eat. Choose your favourite and tuck in to the local cuisine!
Street Food Tour
If you are brave you can go one stage further and try a food tour where you really will eat locally! Nine times out of ten you will probably love it! The final ‘restaurant’ on this tour was a basic but our student tour guide was excellent. We chose Backstreet Academy as the money you pay goes towards the students study. You will leave feeling full and with a bit of knowledge about local Laos cuisine. I wont be trying the ‘spicy wood’ again though! Actual wood in my soup!
Check out more food tours on offer here.
Luang Prabang Street Market
One day a week the Main Street turns in to a huge market in the evening selling anything you can think of. We picked up some fruit, spicy sausage and a fridge magnet – random selection I know! Get stuck in, grab yourself a bargain. However, be aware that just because the streets are closed to cars the motorbikes still might mow you down!
Every morning you can wake up really early and witness the local monks receiving alms. We decided against this as we had heard it was now mobbed by tourists who were not conforming to the etiquette. If you do choose to attend this please be aware this is a traditional custom which requires respect.