Welcome to Luang Prabang, the “Pearl of the Mekong” and a city that will surely capture your heart with its warm and friendly atmosphere. With its blend of French colonial architecture, historic temples, and vibrant markets, there are countless things to do in Luang Prabang. 

Wander through its quaint charming streets, savor Lao cuisine, take in stunning sunset views from Mount Phousi, and cool off in the turquoise waters of Kuang Si Falls. Nestled between the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, surrounded by lush mountains, life moves slower here, inviting you to savor the moment and embrace the soul of Laos. From bustling markets to Buddhist traditions, we hope this detailed guide with exciting things to do in Luang Prabang will help you create unforgettable memories just as we did. Sabaidee!

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Best Things to Do in Luang Prabang, Laos

Things to know before you go

How to get around: Travel options include trains or minibusses from Vientiane & Vang Vieng. Check transport options and purchase bus/train tickets on 12GoAsia.

Best time to visit: November to March offers comfortably dry weather with pleasant average temperatures.

Recommended duration: 3 days for comfortable exploration of the city and nearby activities. Add a 4th day if you want some downtime in a hammock or by the pool.

Cash is essential: Carry cash as credit cards are not widely accepted. Local kip is useful, but USD is widely accepted (1$ = 20.000 kip).

Language spoken: Lao is the primary language; English may not be widely spoken outside hotels.

Dress modestly: Respect local customs by dressing appropriately, especially in Buddhist temples. Cover shoulders and knees for both men and women.

Wear sandals: Since you’ll frequently need to take off your shoes when visiting temples, sandals will be more convenient.

Best tour of Luang Prabang: Take a half-day walking tour of the UNESCO Old Town with a local guide.

Best day trip from Luang Prabang: Enjoy a slow boat tour to Pak Ou Caves & Kuang Si Falls.

Mekong cruise to Pak Ou Caves & Whisky village in Luang Prabang

 12 Things to Do in Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang is located in north-central Laos. With a population of under 10 million, it’s the second-largest city in the country. Known for its rich Buddhist heritage and traditional Lao culture, the town has a unique and spiritual atmosphere. The gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site is no doubt an amazing starting point for any Laos Itinerary. Despite being a popular tourist destination with plenty of things to do, Luang Prabang retains its relaxed and unpretentious vibe, making it a perfect place to unwind by the scenic Mekong River and experience the slow-paced lifestyle of Laos.

The town boasts a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity, with its diverse temples and religious structures complemented by cozy bars, cafés, and shops selling beautiful handmade silk textiles. Venture just a short distance from the city, and you’ll find yourself immersed in lush green landscapes, surrounded by jungles and turquoise waterfalls. Among these natural wonders, Kuang Si Falls stands out as one of the most incredible waterfalls we’ve ever seen – a must-visit spot that will leave you in awe!

READ MORE | The Perfect Laos Itinerary: How to Spend 10 Days in Laos

1. Stroll through the quaint streets of the Old Town

One of the best things to do in Luang Prabang is to spend time in its old town, a UNESCO World Heritage site brimming with charm. Explore the harmonious blend of French colonial architecture and Buddhist temples that adorn the city. While some tourists only opt for day trips to caves and waterfalls, they miss the true essence of this atmospheric city, with its delightful restaurants, cafes, and temples at every corner. Take a moment to slow down and fully embrace the exceptional experience this city offers.

Roaming through the historic neighborhoods, you can delve into handicraft shops, and ancient temples,  and cool off with a refreshing fruit shake. Luang Prabang’s rich history is evident in its architecture and overall aesthetics, with a notable French influence. The Old Quarter, nestled on a small peninsula between the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers, offers a serene ambiance, perfect for a leisurely evening stroll. Surrounded by lush greenery and towering trees, historic buildings have been transformed into luxurious hotels and restaurants, enhancing the area’s allure. To complete your day in a perfect way, head to the Viewpoint Café and Restaurant, perched at the confluence of the two rivers, offering a breathtaking panorama of the town and the majestic mountains. As the sun sets, bask in the enchanting beauty of this historic town. 

One of the best things to do in Luang Prabang is exploring the many marvelous temples

2. Explore the marvelous temples of Luang Prabang

Exploring the many temples of Luang Prabang is a captivating and spiritual experience that sets this Asian destination apart. With more than 30 active and beautifully gilded temples, known as Wats, the town exudes a sense of mysticism unlike any other. Each temple is adorned with intricate decorations, inspiring a feeling of peace and tranquility from the moment you step inside.

Visiting these temples at your own pace is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Luang Prabang. You’ll likely witness monks walking from one temple to another, and the serene chants that fill the morning air add to the enchanting atmosphere. Interacting with the friendly and cheerful monks at the Wats is a unique experience not to be missed. Below we listed a few must-see temples

TEMPLE ETIQUETTE | As you venture through Luang Prabang’s gold and burgundy temple grounds, the serene ambiance will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression. Just remember to be mindful of the customs and etiquette, especially dressing modestly with covered arms and legs, to ensure a meaningful and respectful temple experience.

Admire the brilliant glass mosaics at Wat Xieng Thong

Admire the brilliant glass mosaics at Wat Xieng Thong

You absolutely cannot miss visiting Wat Xieng Thong, the jewel of Luang Prabang’s temples! This temple was without a doubt our favorite in Laos, and quite possibly, in all of Southeast Asia. Whether you’re seeking moments of meditation or just exploring, the beauty of Wat Xieng Thong will leave you in awe.

Dating back to the 1500s, this is one of Luang Prabang’s oldest and most resilient wats, having withstood invasions and witnessed coronations of Lao kings and other significant festivals. The intricately carved gilded wooden doors portray various scenes from Buddha’s life, while a rare reclining Buddha, dating back to the temple’s inception, can also be admired.

The temple’s external walls adorned with glass mosaics are truly a sight to behold. Elaborate scenes from daily life, featuring miniatures of people, palm trees, and animals, shimmer brilliantly in the sunlight. What truly captivates is how well-preserved the temple remains after all these years, with many original Buddha images still standing. 

TIP | If you visit towards the late afternoon near closing time, you might be able to witness the monks chanting.

ENTRANCE FEE | 20,000 kip (~€1)

OPENING HOURS | Daily from 8 AM till 5 PM

Wat Wisunarat

Wat Wisunarat, also known as Wat Visounarath or Wat Visoun. Believed to be Luang Prabang’s oldest temple, with origins dating back to 1512, this revered site holds deep historical significance. Throughout the centuries, this temple has weathered natural disasters, wars, and raids, yet it stands as an enduring symbol of Laos’ spirituality and cultural significance. 

Today, the temple houses a captivating collection of Buddha statues and ancient stones, while some other significant pieces have found their way to the Royal Palace Museum. One of its unique features is the Singhalese-style stupa, earning it the affectionate nickname “That Makmo” or the Watermelon Stupa.

Panoramic view from Mount Phousi in Luang Prabang Laos

3. Watch the sunset at Mount Phousi

Mount Phousi, also known as Phou Si Hill, is a 100-meter-high hill situated in the center of the old town. Its summit offers an incredible panoramic view of the city and the majestic Mekong River. The breathtaking vistas, especially at sunrise and sunset, make it an ideal spot for capturing stunning photos of the surroundings. Climbing about 300 stairs to reach the top is truly worth the effort.

Along the ascent, you’ll encounter small Buddhist temples and statues, as Mount Phousi is considered a sacred hill and a pilgrimage site for Buddhists. At the hill’s peak, you’ll find the Wat Chom Si Buddhist temple and a small cave housing a Buddha statue. It’s customary for worshippers to leave flowers and incense as a sign of reverence.

The panoramic views from the top are truly mesmerizing, providing a 360-degree perspective of Luang Prabang and its surroundings. There are two entrances to Mount Phousi, one opposite the Royal Palace Museum and the other next to the Nam Khan River.

Many people ascend the hill for the captivating sunset view, so arriving early to secure a spot is advisable. The viewing platform at the top can get crowded at sunset and isn’t huge to begin with. So we decided for ourselves to go earlier at 3 PM and had the vantage point practically to ourselves. Alternatively, visiting during sunrise offers a more peaceful experience.

ENTRANCE FEE | 20,000 kip (~€1)

OPENING HOURS | Daily from 5.30 AM till 6 PM

4. Witness the Morning Alms (from afar)

Almsgiving (or tak bat) in Luang Prabang is a sacred and centuries-old Buddhist tradition, where local monks walk the streets at sunrise to collect alms from devoted locals. This ritual involves offering food to the monks as a way to support their daily sustenance and spiritual practice. While witnessing this ceremony can be a moving experience, it has become somewhat controversial due to tourism. The situation has become concerning due to tour guides bringing large groups of people to witness the ceremony, leading to interruptions and incidents where tourists don’t respect the necessary distance and vow of silence. Some visitors even attempt to take selfies, turning it into a spectacle.

We strongly believe that this behavior is disrespectful and urge you to refrain from participating unless it holds personal significance for you, rather than simply seeking photo opportunities.

If you do wish to participate or observe, it’s essential to act respectfully. Dress modestly, stay a respectful distance away, and avoid using flash photography. Arrive early to avoid disruption and maintain a vow of silence during the ceremony. If you want to participate in almsgiving, prepare your offerings beforehand, which typically include rice, fresh fruit, or traditional sweets, presented with a bow.

The almsgiving takes place every day around 6 AM on Sakkaline Street, although it’s best to confirm the exact timing with your hotel. To avoid the crowds, consider observing from smaller side streets or near Vat Mai and the Royal Palace.

5. Wander Through a Local Market

After witnessing the morning alms, make your way to Luang Prabang’s bustling morning market located near the Royal Palace. Here, you’ll get a taste of the local food culture and experience the liveliness of commerce. The market is filled with stalls offering fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and tasty snacks, all set up by the locals.

The morning market is a hub of activity, especially early in the day. If you want to see a wide variety of tropical fruits, freshly caught fish, and unique produce, it’s best to arrive early as things wind down by around 10 am.

This market is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the local way of living. Families come here to shop for fresh ingredients for their home-cooked meals. Unlike the night market, which mostly caters to tourists, the morning market has a more authentic feel, as it’s a place where locals shop for their daily needs.

While you explore the market, don’t miss out on trying khao jee, a delicious grilled sticky rice snack served on a bamboo skewer and wrapped in a banana leaf. You’ll also find a French influence here, with some amazing freshly baked cakes and bakery items on offer.

Overall, the morning market is a delightful experience to taste the flavors of Luang Prabang and get a glimpse of the local culture through its food and daily rituals.

Learn History at the Royal Palace Museum in Luang Prabang Laos

6. Learn History at the Royal Palace Museum

Constructed in 1904 during French colonization, the ornate Royal Palace is now one of the most popular things to do in Luang Prabang. Originally the residential palace of King Sisavang Vong, its blend of Lao and French architecture gives it an interesting interior. After the monarchy’s end in 1975, the government turned the palace into a museum, showcasing relics from the royal period, including the throne room and the King and Queen’s sleeping quarters.

The Royal Palace Museum holds numerous artifacts and items reflecting Laos’ history, providing a glimpse into the former royal lifestyle. The palace complex also includes an ornate temple, the Haw Pha Bang. Inside you’ll find the revered 2,000-year-old golden Buddha statue called Phra Bang, after which the city is named. The location by the river was chosen for official visitors arriving by boat to be received by the royal family directly. Today, the museum stands as a significant part of Laos’ story, displaying its rich heritage and cultural legacy.

ENTRANCE FEE | 30,000 kip (~€1,5)

OPENING HOURS | 8 AM – 11:30 AM, 1:30 PM – 4 PM (The museum and palace close for lunch and open back up around 1 pm.) At the entrance, you’ll find free lockers to store prohibited items such as cameras, video recorders, shoes, and bags.

Indulge in a mouthwatering Lao culinary experience

7. Indulge in a mouthwatering Lao culinary experience

Indulge your taste buds in a culinary adventure like no other as you explore the flavors of Lao food. Laos may not have the same widespread fame for its food as its renowned neighbors Thailand and Vietnam. However, its regional dishes are a delightful surprise. Curious foodies will find a culinary adventure awaiting them in Laos.

At the heart of every meal in Laos lies the beloved sticky rice, locally known as Khao Niao. Served in charming single-serve woven baskets, sticky rice holds the key to savoring a myriad of other delicious Lao dishes. Some must-try dishes are:

Laap (Larb): A popular Lao minced meat salad, usually made with chicken, or pork mixed with herbs, lime juice, and ground roasted rice.

Khao Soi: A comforting Lao noodle soup made with coconut milk, and tender meat (often chicken or pork), and served with rice noodles.

Mok Pa: Fish steamed with herbs, spices, and coconut milk wrapped in banana leaves, creating a flavorful and aromatic dish.

Tam Mak Houng: Known as Lao’s green papaya salad, it is a tangy and spicy mix of shredded green papaya, tomatoes, lime juice, fish sauce, chili, and peanuts.

Or Lam: A hearty and flavorful stew made with mixed vegetables, herbs, and your choice of meat (usually pork or chicken), cooked in a rich broth.

Khao Poon: A spicy and coconut milk-based noodle soup with rice vermicelli and a mix of meats, topped with fresh herbs.

Sai Oua: Lao sausage made with minced pork, herbs, and spices, often grilled or fried for a delicious snack or appetizer.

Mekong River Fish: Fresh fish from the Mekong River are prepared in various ways, such as grilled or steamed, to highlight their natural flavors.

Learn how to cook traditional Thai dishes during a cooking class in Bangkok

8. Take a traditional Lao Cooking Class

When you’re in Luang Prabang, consider joining a cooking class to learn how to make your favorite dishes at home. It’s one of our favorite things to do when exploring a new country. There are several excellent cooking schools in Luang Prabang where you can learn from experts in Lao cuisine. The typical class includes a visit to the morning market to get fresh ingredients, a hands-on cooking demonstration, and a delicious meal to enjoy your creations.

One of the most well-known cooking schools is Tamarind Cafe & Cooking School, which offers an authentic taste of traditional Lao cuisine. They’ll even pick you up from the city and bring you to the school. With small class sizes, you’ll get plenty of attention and guidance to cook traditional meals like a pro. It’s a worthwhile experience that will add to your journey in Laos (cooking class costs start from $30). For a more immersive cultural experience, you can try a cooking class with a local family, which includes a Baci ceremony with traditional singing and music. Joining a cooking class is a fantastic way to learn about the local food and take a piece of Luang Prabang back home with you!

9. Learn about Lao Ethnic tribes and arts 

The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center (TAEC) in Luang Prabang is a unique museum dedicated to preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage of Laos and its diverse ethnic groups. It was established in 2007 with the mission of safeguarding the traditional arts, crafts, and customs of the country’s ethnic minorities.

The museum is housed in a beautifully restored French colonial building, located in the heart of Luang Prabang’s historic district. Inside, visitors can explore a fascinating collection of exhibits that showcase the cultural traditions, rituals, and daily life of various ethnic groups from different regions of Laos. Through interactive displays, multimedia presentations, and informative exhibits, visitors can learn about traditional weaving, clothing, handicrafts, agricultural practices, and music. 

Behind the scenes, TAEC plays a crucial role in documenting, and preserving the country’s fading traditions, while also advocating for the rights of minority communities. Supporting this organization is well worth it. On your way out make sure to check out the gift boutique, they have beautiful handmade souvenirs!

ENTRANCE FEE | 30,000 kip (~€1,5)

OPENING HOURS | Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am-6 pm

Slow down and enjoy the local café culture

10. Slow down and enjoy the local café culture

During our stay in Luang Prabang, we absolutely loved the slow-paced lifestyle. The city doesn’t have a long list of things to do, which means there’s plenty of time to simply unwind and do nothing. Luang Prabang boasts numerous charming cafes, offering not only stunning interiors but also picturesque views of the Mekong River. We spent our afternoons sipping coffee while soaking in the wonderful atmosphere.

As a former French colony, Luang Prabang’s coffee and bakery culture still thrives. While neighboring Vietnam is known for its coffee, Laos also produces exceptional coffee, especially if you like it strong and flavorful. Many local cafés serve coffee made from locally grown beans, supporting the livelihood of Lao farmers and contributing to sustainability. It’s a great way to experience the local flavors and enjoy the slow, peaceful moments in this lovely town.

11. Enjoy the atmosphere at the Night Market

Just like in other parts of Southeast Asia, when in Luang Prabang, one of the best things to do is to explore its vibrant market scene! The town boasts one of the best markets in the region, and you’ll find it taking over Sisavangvong Road in the old town every day. Starting around 5 pm, the vendors set up their stalls, offering a delightful array of handmade treasures. From stunning textiles and art pieces to intricate wooden carvings and trinkets, this market is a paradise for souvenir hunters. You’ll find unique souvenirs here that are authentically crafted – no cheap knock-offs! We personally couldn’t resist taking home a beautiful textile piece for our table and a captivating painting.

TIP |  Bargaining is the norm! Don’t forget to stay polite and smile while you haggle for the best deals.

As the night sets in, the market square transforms into a bustling hub of street food stalls, tempting you with a variety of delectable Lao dishes and barbecued delights. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy dinner and savor some authentic local flavors. Since the city quiets down after dark, this lively part of town becomes the heart of evening activity. The vibrant atmosphere draws a crowd, creating a wonderful experience.

Watch the Sunset over the Mekong River with a Beerlao in Luang Prabang

12. Watch the Sunset over the Mekong River with a Beerlao

In the old town of Luang Prabang, you’ll be treated to beautiful river views everywhere you go. One of the best ways to unwind at the end of the day is to grab a cold Beerlao and find a cozy spot by the water to enjoy the sunset. As beer enthusiasts, we’ve tried local beers all over Southeast Asia, and we can honestly say that Lao beer is our favorite in the region. Don’t miss their dark beer – it’s absolutely worth a try!

If you’re looking for a romantic dinner spot, there are plenty of restaurants along the Mekong River where you can have a lovely evening. Soaking up the ambiance of Luang Prabang by the river adds to the city’s unique charm and makes for a truly memorable experience.

 6 Things to do around Luang Prabang

In addition to exploring the charming streets of Luang Prabang’s old town, which is a must and can easily fill a full day, there’s a wealth of things to do beyond the city! To fully embrace the natural beauty of this region in Laos, it’s recommended to spend at least 3 days in Luang Prabang. Here are a few activities outside the city you shouldn’t miss!

Must thing to do in Luang Prabang is visiting Kuang Si Falls 

1. Admire the beauty of Kuang Si Falls 

If you’re planning to travel to Laos, this attraction likely doesn’t need an introduction anymore. Kuang Si Falls is without a doubt the highlight of anybody’s visit to Luang Prabang. Mother Nature truly outdid herself with this breathtaking waterfall, featuring multiple tiers that reveal stunning views at every turn. When you think you’ve seen it all, another awe-inspiring part of the falls awaits you around the corner. Surrounded by lush jungle, the cascading water creates beautiful natural infinity pools, which turn bright blue and turquoise in the sunshine.

To make the most of your visit, try to arrive early to avoid crowds, and if it’s cloudy in the morning, consider waiting until the afternoon for the best views. Spending the day here is a delight, with opportunities to swim in the pools, jump off trees, and embrace your inner Jane or Tarzan.

Multiple tiers waterfall at Kuang Si falls in Luang Prabang

Practical info on visiting the waterfalls

Getting to the falls is convenient, as you can hire a (shared) minivan via your hotel or a travel company in town. Most minivans usually leave around 11.30 a.m. A roundtrip journey costs around 50,000-80,000 Lao kip and allows you around 2 hours to explore the area. Alternatively, you can rent a motorbike for more flexibility, like we did. It’s important to mention that Laos roads can be a bit challenging compared to Thailand, with potholes being a common sight. So, if you’re comfortable riding a scooter, it’s an excellent way to explore. Make sure to rent a motorbike from a trusted company, we can suggest discoverlaostoday or from your homestay. Hungry after your adventure? No worries! There are food stalls and snack carts waiting for you near the entrance of the waterfall. 

ENTRANCE FEE | 25,000 kip (~€1,20)

OPENING HOURS | Every day from 8 AM – 5 PM

Guided options

If you prefer to join an organized tour to the waterfalls, below you can find highly rated tours that often combine also other activities such as the Pak ou Caves, Mekong cruise, city tour, or trekking.

Discover the Spring of Kuang Si Waterfall on a Raft

Discover the Spring of Kuang Si Waterfall on a Raft

While swimming in the waterfall is more popular, don’t miss the opportunity to hike to the top of Kuang Si for a unique off-the-beaten-path experience. Make sure to wear proper footwear as the trail can be slippery and steep. Once you reach the top, there’s a chance to take a serene bamboo raft ride to the spring of Kuang Si, guided by a skilled older man (costing only 10,000 kip per person). The short 10-minute cruise through the jungle is well worth a tip for this memorable adventure.

2. Ride a Boat on the Mekong

If you didn’t arrive in Luang Prabang by slow boat from Thailand, don’t miss the chance to take a scenic cruise along the majestic Mekong River. This iconic river flows through six countries, offering incredible rural scenery for you to admire and capture stunning photos. Stroll along the road next to the Mekong in Luang Prabang, and you’ll find boat drivers ready to offer half-day trips or serene sunset cruises – whatever suits your preference! Whether you opt for a short one-hour cruise or a longer journey to places like Pak Ou Caves, the Mekong Sunset Cruise comes highly recommended, providing a relaxing way to end your day after exploring the Old Town on foot.

Rent a motorbike & tour the countryside in Luang Prabang Laos

3. Rent a motorbike & tour the countryside

Renting a motorbike (or scooter) and venturing into the lesser-explored paths is hands-down one of our favorite ways to discover hidden gems. Luang Prabang’s surroundings boast rolling hills adorned with lush greenery, quaint villages, and stunning rice field terraces. Although Laos isn’t as renowned for scooting around as its neighbors Thailand and Vietnam, the landscapes are simply breathtaking.

Having the freedom to stop for photos, grab some fresh fruit from roadside stands, or simply soak in the scenery makes renting a motorbike an absolute delight. Picture yourself amidst green rice fields, passing charming wooden houses, and encountering cheerful children playing in the fields, waving and greeting you with enthusiastic “Sabaidee” (hello). It’s an experience that fills your heart with joy and something we highly recommend.

One of the most memorable days of our journey through Southeast Asia was when we rented a scooter in Luang Prabang and unexpectedly stumbled upon a cozy spot amidst the rice fields. Exploring this way adds a special touch of adventure and discovery to your trip.

Renting a motorbike in Laos

Renting a motorbike in Laos can be an exciting way to explore, but we want to share some important tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to feel confident in your riding skills, especially on the Laos roads, which can be quite challenging. Unlike the wild scooter mania of Vietnam, the roads here are more uncomfortable due to potholes and gravel.

To avoid any potential issues, look for a reputable motorbike rental. Check reviews thoroughly or ask your hotel for recommendations. Unfortunately, there are stories of shady businesses taking advantage of tourists, so it’s essential to be cautious.

Before you hit the road, inspect the bike’s tires and note any existing damages. It’s a good idea to take pictures of the bike, preferably with the rental shop in the background, as a record of its condition.

Keep in mind that you’ll need an International driver’s license to rent a motorbike legally. Otherwise, you could face fines if stopped by the police. Additionally, always wear a helmet while riding – not only is it required by law, but it’s a crucial safety measure.

Finally, be mindful of security. Theft and crime can happen, so always lock your scooter when leaving it unattended.

Mekong cruise in Luang Prabang Laos

4. Mekong cruise to Pak Ou Caves & Whisky village

The Pak Ou Caves may not be the grandest in Laos, but they make for a delightful half-day trip from Luang Prabang. The highlight is the scenic Mekong River cruise, where you can observe the locals going about their daily life. For them, it’s an essential religious site.

Inside the caves, you’ll find a mesmerizing collection of over 4,000 Buddha statues dating back centuries. Each idol holds its own unique story, left by pilgrims from different times. These statues are not mere souvenirs; they hold significant religious importance.

The caves themselves are nestled in dramatic limestone cliffs along the Mekong River. While they can get crowded during peak season, the journey is still worth it if you have the time and interest. You can visit independently by renting a scooter or join a tour of the caves, which often includes a visit to the famous Kuang Si Falls and a whisky village.

The boat ride to the caves takes around two hours upstream, but the return journey is quicker, about an hour. Once there, you’ll have the chance to explore both the easily accessible lower cave and the slightly more challenging upper cave. The upper cave rewards you with stunning views of the countryside and the river. On your way back with the tour, they make a stop at Ban Xang Hai, the Whisky Village, where you can sample potent whisky made from rice.

ENTRANCE FEE CAVES | 20,000 kip (~€1)

OPENING HOURS CAVES | 8 AM – 5 PM

5. Cross the bamboo bridge for a more authentic experience

At the end of the peninsula, you will find this long bamboo bridge that stretches across the Nam Khan River, near its convergence with the Mekong. You can access this charming bridge by climbing the stairs at the intersection of Khem Khong and Sakkaline Roads.

To cross the 100-meter-long bridge (round trip), there’s a fee of 18,000 kip, which goes to the family that rebuilds it every dry season when the water level recedes. During the rainy season, the current gets too strong, and the bridge cannot withstand it, so people use boats to cross.

Walking on this seemingly rickety but sturdy footbridge is quite an adventure. Once you reach the other side, you’ll step into a less touristy part of Luang Prabang. Follow the road along the Mekong River, and you’ll discover local workshops where villagers skillfully weave vibrant textiles, delicate silks, paint paper umbrellas, carve wood, and craft handmade paper called “saa.”

Saa paper is made from the bark of the mulberry tree, and you can witness the process and purchase unique souvenirs made from it. We met some talented artists painting beautiful art on saa paper as well. One older lady we encountered was weaving the most gorgeous textiles, and we couldn’t resist buying a silk scarf and a painting to take home. These authentic handmade souvenirs are now some of our most cherished memories from our travels.

By supporting these artists and purchasing their creations, you contribute to their livelihoods. This special side of Luang Prabang is often overlooked by tourists, making it all the more worthwhile to venture across the bridge!

Fun thing to do in Luang Prabang is learning how to cultivate rice

6. Learn How to Cultivate Rice

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a rice farmer and how that delicious bowl of steaming hot rice gets on your table? Well, guess what? You can experience it firsthand at the Living Land Farm!

At the Living Land Farm, you get a rare chance to dive into the life of a rice farmer. From plowing the land to planting the seeds, harvesting, and threshing the rice, you get to try it all! The tour takes you through the 13 stages of rice harvesting, including the famous glutinous ‘sticky rice’—a Luang Prabang favorite.

No modern machinery here—everything is done the traditional way with hard work. You’ll learn the art of cultivating and growing rice the old-fashioned way. It’s truly a fun experience, especially if you’re with kids! Just be ready to get a little knee-deep in mud—embrace the adventure!

By the end of the day, you’ll gain a whole new appreciation for the effort that goes into making rice.


Maps of all the best things to do in Luang Prabang

For your convenience in navigating all the above-mentioned things to do in Luang Prabang, we have created an interactive map pinpointing all the mentioned sights and locations. This Google Maps link is free for you to open, save, and use as a helpful guide during your upcoming trip to Laos.


Best restaurants & cafés in Luang Prabang Laos

Where to eat in Luang Prabang?

The food scene in Luang Prabang is simply delightful! You get to experience a fantastic fusion of typical Asian classics with a French Colonial touch. The streets are lined with beautiful restaurants, and just a hop away, you’ll find mouth-watering street food stalls. Trust me; there are plenty of options to satisfy any craving!

But here’s a heads up: the opening days & hours listed on Google might not always be accurate, so don’t rely too much on that. Also, be prepared for the restaurants to fill up quickly, so making reservations ahead of time is a smart move!

Let me share some of our favorite spots:

Xieng Thong Noodle Soup – Their noodle soups are to die for, and the best part? They’re super affordable! (Note: Temporarily closed)

Khaiphaen – Not only do they serve authentic Lao cuisine, but they also support a noble cause to help street children.

Phonheuang Cafe – You’ll love their delicious local food, and it’s great value for money. The place has a nice ambiance too!

Tamarind – A must-visit if you want an introduction to the flavors and customs of Lao food. Plus, you can enjoy the riverside view while trying their Lao taste platter.

Bouang – Looking for a trendy Asian eatery with a mix of Asian and Western food? They’ve got great vegetarian options too!

Yuni Yupoun Restaurant – Cozy vibes with a delightful menu featuring bites from all over the world.

The Belle Rive Terrace – For a magical dinner with sunset views of the Mekong River.

Two Little Birds Cafe – If you crave a healthy breakfast, they’ve got amazing breakfast bowls.

Dyen Sabai – Get ready for an idyllic setting after crossing a bamboo bridge, it’s known for its Laos fondu.

Best places to stay in Luang Prabang Laos

Where to stay in Luang Prabang?

When it comes to accommodation in Luang Prabang, you’ll find a variety of options, ranging from 5* resorts to simple hostels and locally-owned guesthouses, catering to all budgets. However, it’s worth noting that accommodation in Laos tends to be slightly more expensive than in neighboring Thailand and Vietnam.

For first-time visitors, we recommend staying close to the old town to fully immerse yourself in the town’s ambiance. This allows easy access to evening walks along the Mekong River and proximity to cozy cafés and restaurants.

Maison Dalabua Luxury stay in luang prabang laos

LUXURY | Maison Dalabua

Maison Dalabua is a beautiful and tranquil stay surrounded by lotus ponds and a tropical garden. The spacious, air-conditioned rooms offer all amenities, and guests can enjoy the swimming pool and spa services. Its convenient location, just a short walk from the Night Market and Royal Palace, makes it an ideal base for exploring the city. The hotel’s attentive and friendly staff ensure a peaceful and comfortable experience, and guests can also take advantage of free bicycle rentals to explore local attractions.

SERENE ESCAPE | On The Mekong Resort

Escape to tranquility at On The Mekong Resort, where you’ll be captivated by the breathtaking views of the Mekong River from the breakfast and garden seating areas. The property boasts a stunning setting with unique touches, offering comfortable accommodations with garden views and a terrace. Take advantage of the free shuttle ride to the city center or opt for bike hire to explore. The staff’s exceptional service ensures a warm and personalized experience.

On The Mekong Resort serene escape in luang prabang laos
Ock Pop Tok Mekong Villa riverview stay in luang prabang laos

RIVER VIEWS | Ock Pop Tok Mekong Villa

Experience the tranquility of Ock Pop Tok Mekong Villa, along the scenic Mekong River. The comfortable rooms are adorned with unique handmade textiles, offering modern amenities amidst tropical gardens. Enjoy the convenience of free tuk-tuk transfers to explore the city or hire a bicycle. Indulge in delicious meals at the on-site Silk Road Café, and treat yourself to in-room massages and treatments for a truly relaxing stay. Local restaurants and markets are within a 5-minute walk, providing a perfect blend of serenity and accessibility.

MID-RANGE | Sadakham Hotel

Experience a comfortable and convenient stay at Sadakham Hotel with mountain views and access to free bikes and a garden. The hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with all the necessary amenities and excellent room service. Start your day with a delicious breakfast offering American, Asian, and vegetarian options. The friendly staff goes above and beyond to ensure a delightful stay with their helpful and welcoming attitude.

Sadakham Hotel mid-range stay in luang prabang laos
Mali House budget stay in Luang Prabang Laos

GUEST HOUSE | Mali House

Lovely guest house with a perfect location and beautiful, clean rooms. Mali House offers a garden, free WiFi, and soundproof rooms. It’s conveniently close to stores, markets, and tourist attractions. The owner is very kind and helpful, making it an enjoyable and peaceful stay. Airport transfers and bicycle rental services are available. Amazing value for money with a coffee shop on-site.

HOSTEL | Barn Laos Luangprabang Hostel

A tranquil retreat close to temples and the Night Market. Enjoy air-conditioned rooms with private bathrooms, comfortable beds, and a shared kitchen. Watch morning alms from the balcony and take a short stroll to the main café area. Barn Laos Luangprabang Hostel also offers dorm rooms separated for men and women. Enjoy a continental breakfast and take advantage of organized tours and bike hire for exploring the area.

Barn Laos Luangprabang Hostel in Luang Prabang Laos

How to get to Luang Prabang Laos

How to get to Luang Prabang

Getting around Laos is easy and efficient. For flights, use Skyscanner, and for bus and train schedules, check 12GoAsia website. These websites save the hassle of lining up at travel agencies or bus stations.

By air

Luang Prabang boasts an International Airport with regular services from major airlines. Find the best flight deals on Skyscanner and fly to this enchanting destination.

By land

Getting around Laos is hassle-free with options like minivans, buses, and trains. For safety, stick to day travel. Bus/minivan journeys take 5 hours from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang due to road conditions. A new high-speed train connects major cities like Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, and Vientiane, making travel quick and convenient. Pre-book your seats via 12GoAsia between the cities as the train seats are always high in demand.

Powered by 12Go system

By slow boat from Thailand

If you’re up for an adventure, consider the slow boat from Thailand to Laos. During our last trip, we tried it, spending two days on the Mekong River with an overnight stop at Pakbeng. The scenery is breathtaking, but comfort is basic with old car seats. Locals use the boat for transporting goods, so expect some stops along the way. Is it an experience? Sure it will be something you will remember forever! 

 Stay tuned for our detailed guide on this slow boat trip. If you have any questions, feel free to ask below!

READ MORE | The Perfect Laos Itinerary: How to Spend 10 Days in Laos

What to pack for traveling to Luang Prabang in Laos

What to pack for Luang Prabang

  • Lightweight cotton scarf for covering up when visiting temples.
  • Having a quality daypack for your day-to-day adventures is essential. We personally recommend light daypacks from Deuter.
  • Lightweight everyday shoes (we personally enjoy the ones from Adidas) or Birkenstocks are always a comfy option to explore a town!
  • Bring a reusable water bottle or consider bringing a Life Straw or GRAYL for safe drinking water. 
  • Action Camera for capturing all your adventures, we have been enjoying the Go Pro Hero 10 on our latest travels.
  • Personal belonging safety can be ensured with luggage and locker locks, along with anti-theft gear like those from Pacsafe.
  • Don’t forget to pack a universal adaptor to ensure you can charge all your electronic devices during your trip. 
  • A reliable power bank is highly recommended for on-the-go charging, particularly during long bus rides or full days of exploration when you may not have access to power outlets.
  • Mosquito spray is essential, especially during the wet season.
  • Bring sunscreen because a lot of the ones you’ll find there have whitening agents in them and the prices are outrageous. 
  • Entertainment for on the journeys, we never travel without bringing our e-reader to pass the time, as well as our headphones for listening to podcasts.

READ MORE | The Ultimate Southeast Asia Packing List | What To Pack & Wear


Laos Essential Resources

FLIGHTS | Find the best deals for flights to Laos with Skyscanner.

TRANSFERS | Ready to travel to your next destination in Laos? Book your bus or train tickets via 12go.

HOTELS | Browse Booking.com for accommodations in Luang Prabang, from budget hostels to luxury hotels.

TOURS & ATTRACTIONS | For booking the most fun experiences, check out GetYourGuide or Viator.


Full guide on best things to do in Luang Prabang Laos

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