Situated 300 km north of Vientiane (capital of Laos), Luang Prabang has ancient features with moss-covered houses like Hoi An (a famous ancient town in Vietnam) as well as winding mountain passes with cool climate like Dalat (a well-known highland city of Vietnam). Visiting this ancient capital – the world’s cultural heritage of Luang Prabang, tourists have a chance to experience Laos old design through a lot of exciting activities within a day trip.
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05:30 am: Taking photos of early morning alms giving to the monks
Luang Prabang attracts visitors with many ancient temples of high artistic value which were built over many dynasties. There are still the remains of a place that used to be the center of Buddhism of Laos – known as the land of millions of elephants.
On every early dawn, the image of monks on alms at Phon Heuang Street is always of intriguing for foreign tourists. Whenever a monk passes, the local people kneel down in front of the porch and reverently offer him food.
07:00 am: Enjoying a morning grill
With the chilly air of the mountains in the morning, there is nothing more enjoyable than steaming baked barbecue such as grilled pork, grilled chicken served with sticky rice in Laos style that tourists can find at any popular eateries on the street corner.
08:00 am: Discovering Pak Ou cave with more than 4,000 Buddha statues
After breakfast is the best time for tourists to begin the journey of exploring Pak Ou cave as the weather is ideally cool. The cave is located in the north of the ancient capital, along the Mekong River and approximately 30 km from the center. Tuk tuk (a kind of taxi) will stop by the river, tourists will then buy a boat ticket taking them to the other bank of the river.
Pak Ou consists of two limestone caves, Tham Theung (Upper Cave) and Tham Ting (Lower Cave). There are more than 4,000 ancient Buddha statues dating 300 years back which were rowed to the caves to hide during night by Laotians when their capital was attacked by foreign invaders.
02:00 pm: Experiencing the ancient image of Laos through Wat Pa Huak Temple
Along the main avenue of the peaceful and quiet town located the ancient temples. Tourists will be attracted right away as walking into Pa Huak temple by the wood sculptures and 19th-century walls, that, mostly, describe the Buddha or the historical context.
Standing in the front yard of the temple, looking across the street, tourists will have a beautiful view overlooking to the National Museum of Luang Prabang (formerly known as the Royal Palace); In the bottom lay the souvenirs stores – where they could spend hours admiring the souvenirs or choosing and buying them as gifts.
03:00 pm: Worshiping at the most sacred pagoda in Luang Prabang and listening to Buddhism lectures
Wat Xieng Thong built in 1560 by King Setthathirath is considered the most sacred pagoda in Luang Prabang.
With the patronage from the Royal family, the pagoda owns many ancient statues showing the Buddha image in nirvana. Some antiques in the pagoda were brought to Paris (France) for exhibition in 1931 and were only returned to Laos after 30 years.
There is a big golden Buddha statue in the main shrine of Vatmay Souvannapoumaram Pagoda, surrounding by many other small Buddha statues. Buddism classes are also held in this pagoda. Tourists who are interested are welcome to attend the class and listen to sermons in Laos’s language.
05:00 pm: Taking a panoramic view of the ancient capital from Phousi hill
One of the most ideal activities that can take up hours of tourists’ time in Luang Prabang is taking a panoramic view of the town lighten up while standing on top of Phousi hill.
The interesting thing is all roads in Luang Prabang lead to Soukkaseum road along the Mekong River where Thammothayaram pagoda is situated. The pagoda is on Phousi hill, taking 338 stair steps to go up which there is Buddha statue on nearly every of them. Moreover, there has a Buddha footprint right in the pagoda which is an original detail tourists should not skip in their trip to this place.
07:00 pm: Going for a stroll around the night market
Once tourists come here, an activity not to miss is wandering around in the night market. The stalls are displayed on the ground along the pedestrian street of Sisavangvong. There are mini savory pancakes served with coconut milk right around the corner while just crossing across the street sold a lot of other snacks.
Tourists can enjoy stuffing themselves with all the rustic cuisine of Laos in a cheap and delicious way.
Laos rice-noodle with thick broth added a bit of seasoning such as sauce, lemon, and chili is fantastic and worth trying. At the end of the day, a vegetarian buffet with just 10,000 KIP ($2.3) will definitely a satisfaction. Especially with this buffet, tourists are allowed to get food only one time; therefore, they all try to fill the dish as full as possible with fried rice noodle with cabbage and carrot, pan fried bean sprouts with tofu, cucumber, pumpkin; vegetable spring rolls; deep fried string beans, etc.
You also see more Luang Prabang travel guide at here.