The charming city of Luang Prabang is one of the most popular and atmospheric destinations to experience on the holidays to Laos. Even though most travelers only spend one or two days in Luang Prabang, there are plenty of reasons why this city deserves more attention. By touring this Northern Province at a slow pace it is much easier to appreciate its historic preservation zone. A great tour can include visiting sights like the fantastic Wat Xieng Thong Temple, the elegant Royal Palace Museum and the lively morning market. For the longer stay in the city it is also possible to see other sights such as the holy Pak Ou Caves, a trip up the Mekong River, or admire the major waterfalls at Tad Se and Kouang Si.
Learn more about exploring this popular tourist destination by using our Luang Prabang Travel Guide
When to Visit Luang Prabang
In Luang Prabang, the best times to travel don't always follow the typical tourist cycles. The best time to travel to this city is the dry season (October to April) which is the peak tourist season and the weather is relatively cool. If you want to travel in the quieter months and not too concerned with the daily showers, then the best time to visit is the rainy season (May to September). Even though you will get rain for several hours a day, you do in return get the much smaller crowds and the low-cost hotel rates.
Getting around Luang Prabang
The most common type of transport usable on the Luang Prabang travel packages is the tuk-tuk which is a quick and convenient option to get move the city. Other transport options include the taxi van which is a popular choice for travelling from the airport to your hotel or guesthouse. For the local trips around town in the tuk-tuk you can expect to be charged a flat fee of $2.50 per ride. If you want the more independent travel options it is easy to hire a bicycle from the local guesthouses or shops which can cost in the region of $1.85 to $3.75 per day. It's also possible to rent a motorcycle at about $15-$20 per day.
Eating and drinking
For those tourists that are relaxing in the evenings in Luang Prabang a great place to stop and eat is the vibrant night market, which has the barbecue stands serving up delicious sausages and meaty skewers, while there is also a wide range of vegetarian buffets. This area is also popular with the backpackers, which will give you an opportunity to stop and chat while enjoying the delicious meal.
If you wish to continue to experience the nightlife in the city, there are plenty of bars throughout the Nam Khan side of town. Some of the popular choices include Hive Bar, Utopia, Lao Lao Garden and Icon Klub. Most of the bars have restricted opening hours and must close by midnight. However, there are two nightclubs, Muang Sua and Dao Fa in the local area. For those that like to stay up late into the early hours, the infamous Bowling Alley is a perfect destination to experience.
Luang Prabang Tour Packages
Luang Prabang is rich in colonial and traditional architecture which helps to make touring and exploring this city a complete delight. Plus, this city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage City which means it hasn't seen extensive modernization and still able to maintain its unique atmosphere.
A full-day guided tour of the city makes it possible to fully appreciate the culture and rich traditions of Laos. Great sites to explore in this UNESCO-listed city include Mount Phousi, the temples and museums. A popular destination to explore is the Royal Place Museum with its impressive architecture that has a combination of Laotian touches and French Beaux-Arts styles. This museum is rich in art and artifacts that make it really easy to get a glimpse of life in the 1930s. The local area also includes plenty of temples, with one of the oldest being the Wat Xiengthong.
For the more adventurous it is possible to get away from the city and explore the Tat Sae Waterfalls while also enjoying an elephant ride. The great scenery on this hike makes it possible to swim in the cool pools and track through the lush green forest. Most of the hikes take about two hours to reach the waterfall where it is impossible to stop and enjoy a traditional picnic and cold beer. Other great adventures in the local area include a motorboat ride that takes you upstream.
Travelling with children
While the museums and wats aren't likely to be the most exciting for the children, there are still plenty of other fun and enjoyable attractions in the local Luang Prabang area. Any child will love to explore Tat Sae and Tat Kuang Si for the charming and natural swimming pools. A visit to Kuang Si makes it possible to see the Asian black bears in their enclosures, while the trip to Tat Sae also includes the ride on the elephant back. The Pak Ou Caves are great for those that love to explore, while the river cruise on the Mekong gives a great opportunity for the entire family to relax and admire the scenery.
Hike to the top of Mt. Phousi in the early evening to get a perfect view of the city at sunset. It is located in the center of town which makes it easy to reach and there is also a great historic Temple at the top to explore.
Kuang Si Falls
A worthwhile trip outside the city (about 40 km away) is the Kuang Si Falls which is an extremely pleasant sight. The river water is literally clear blue and so clean that it is really refreshing for a swim. This is a great area to spend two or three hours with the family while playing water games.
Pak Ou Caves
A trip to Pak Ou caves, which are north of Luang Prabang can take a while to reach, but the trip is certain to be worthwhile. By renting a motorbike it is possible to reach the caves with about 60 minutes. Once inside the caves, you get to admire 1000s of Buddha statues.
A further great place listed in our Luang Prabang Travel Guide is the Mekong River. This is certain to be a fun adventure with the family. Plus, it is possible to rent either a float or kayak to really appreciate the local sites along the course of the river.
The night market is a major attraction in the town and becomes really lively in the evenings when the sun goes down. There are plenty of types of dishes served up with some amazing buffets that are available for about $2. Additionally, this area is great for buying all types of gifts and souvenirs.