The city of Luang Prabang is located in the north of Laos, located on the Mekong River that runs all the way from China to the south of Vietnam. For many backpackers, Luang Prabang is the first destination in Laos by slowboat. What is there to do here? Here an overview of all the must-visit sights in Luang Prabang.
8 must-visit sights in Luang Prabang
1. Kuang Si Waterfalls
These beautiful waterfalls are one of the most visited sights in Luang Prabang. A walk along the waterfall takes about 15 minutes to the bridge where the largest waterfall is located. Then it’s about a 15 minute walk to the top of the waterfall. From the top, you’ve the opportunity to visit another cave and a spring 3 kilometers away.
Many tour companies offer their tours to the Kuang Si waterfalls. Minivans also leave at set times, giving you a few hours to walk around and swim. It’s also possible to rent a minivan (around 250,000 Kip) or a tuk tuk (200,000 Kip) for the whole day. If you gather a group of people, this is a advantageous option.
2. Luang Prabang Nightmarket
Luang Prabang also has a night market. It’s a different kind of night market than, for example, the one in Pai in Thailand where mainly street food is sold. At the night market you can mainly stock up on souvenirs. There is also a side street where only street food is sold.
3. What Xieng Thong
This large temple complex is located on the tip of the Luang Prabang peninsula. The various decorated buildings are beautiful to see. Entrance is 20,000 Kip.
4. Mount phousi
Mount Phousi is located in the middle of the city. There are two roads through which you can walk uphill. Visit the mountain at around 5:00 PM to watch the sunset and have a fantastic view of Luang Prabang. You are not alone! Entrance is 20,000 Kip.
5. Luang Prabang Bamboo bridge
At the beginning of the dry season, the bamboo bridge is built over the Nam Khan River. This bridge is there about 6 months a year. In the rainy season, when the bridge has not yet been built, you can reach the other side by means of a small ferry. Crossing the bridge costs a total of 5000 Kip for the return trip.
6. La Pistoche Swimming Pool
Do you fancy a refreshing swim when your accommodation doesn’t have a swimming pool? Then visit La pistoche pool. This outdoor pool has a few nice pools and even has a pool bar! They also have sun beds. Entrance is 30,000 Kip + 50,000 deposit. Any snacks and drinks will be deducted from your deposit.
In the evening Utopia is the place to be in Luang Prabang. The visitors of this cafe are almost exclusively backpackers and it’s therefore a great place to meet other backpackers. There are lots of nice seats, tables and mats where you can chill. The atmosphere is created by cozy lamps and plants. You can also eat delicious western food here!
After Utopia closes at 0:00 am, almost everyone moves to the Bowlingally, which is still open for a few hours. After about 20 minutes driving by tuk-tuk you reach this bowling alley. A game of bowling costs 20,000 Kip per person and is a lot of fun!
Transport between sights in Luang Prabang
It is of course nice to visit most sights in Luang Prabang on your own. Renting a scooter in Luang Prabang costs between 80,000 and 120,000 Kip per day. Renting bicycles is also possible. There are also enough tuk-tuks driving around the city.
How to get to Luang Prabang
Chances are you will reach Luang Prabang by slowboat from Thailand. It can be reached in this way from both Chiang Mai and Pai with a tour operator. Well-known operators are Aya Service and Terminal Green. The trip takes about three days in total and costs 1750 baht.
In this case, you first travel by bus to Chiang Kong where you will stay overnight. The next day you cross the border and then board the slowboat to Pak Beng. After an overnight stay in Pak Beng, you will sail to Luang Prabang in about 8 hours.
Buses run from and to the city from various places. For example, it’s possible to reach the city from Hanoi in Vietnam by night bus. A very long drive though. The southern town of Vang Vieng is about 5 to 7 hours away (depending on which route the bus runs).
The city also has its own airport about 4 kilometers from the center. Chances are that flying to capital Vientiane are a bit cheaper though.