For travelers and travel lovers – like us, discovering new places, trying hands at crazy adventures, exploring culture, and meeting interesting people is what keeps us seeking for the next unforgettable experience. Traveling to Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will give you all that and much more! And here are 10 awesome things to do in Luang Prabang that make this town extraordinary and worthy of a spot on your next bucket list.
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1. Watch Alms Giving Ceremony
One of the best ways to watch the ancient alms giving ceremony is wandering or bicycling along the main road in Luang Prabang at about 5:30 am. The ceremony starts at sunrise as a procession of monks and novices make their way down from the temples to collect their daily meal from the local community.
Although this is a sacred tradition, travelers are encouraged to take part alongside the locals, giving the monks food and fruit too. We highly recommend you to participate in alms giving as it is one of the most immersive ways to experience the everyday culture of the Laotian people.
2. Get a bird’s eye view of Luang Prabang on the top of Mount Phousi
This place was a real treat with the height of about 150m. It’s right in the center of town so you cannot miss it. The 10 to 15-minute hike up is pretty steep but the best views over Luang Prabang and Mekong River are well worth it. Reaching its top, an unbelievably spectacular scenery will be on your eyes: Hills and mountains as far as the eye can see covered in dense jungle.
Visit in the evenings just before sundown to catch the best of wonderful sunset and there is a minimal entrance fee for foreigners (10,000 kip = $1.24/person).
3. Buy local products at the morning market
Morning market is best recommended to visit right after witnessing the Alms giving ceremony which you will be done by 6 AM. Amazing and the real feel of life in this quiet little town – this is where the locals buy their daily wet grocery. But be prepared to be surprised- live frogs, tarantulas, to deep friend grasshoppers, and crans, fish, even snakes are available for sale.
As good an experience, you’d get to know about the everyday life of locals by look at their local market. And if you are not very fancy at buying things, it’s a nice stroll and place to snap pictures.
4. Visit the Royal Palace
This former palace is now a National Museum on Sakkaline street. It is also a must see in Luang Prabang, especially for those who are deeply in love with history, architecture, and culture. There are fabulous artifacts and decorative items on display, showcasing Laotian royalty in full glory.
Museum leaves a lot unsaid about this forgotten family. It’s really informative – don’t forget the old car collection from royal family outside. This is a somewhat sad remembrance of a silent destiny, beautiful rooms and at time simplistic grandeur. You have to put all your belongings into a locker; no photos, no shoes, and no short should be allowed. Ticket price: 30,000 kip = $3.7/person.
5. Explore The Golden City Temple Wat Xieng Thong
Whether you are an architecture geek or not, this temple needs to be on your must-see list. The Golden City Temple is probably one of the oldest and most important temples of the old town Luang Prabang which was built in 1560. The temple is renowned for its fascinating architecture, elaborate mosaics and beautifully restored wall paintings.
The main temple building houses many Buddha statues and has a mosaic mural on the red walls (stunning). The other tiny buildings all have something special to see inside. Wat Xieng Thong was also the location for the coronation of Lao kings and is still an important gathering place for significant annual festivities. Ticket price: 20,000 kip = $2.47.
6. Take a Mekong River cruise tour
If you want to get away from the bustling life and are looking for a couple of sundowners, we fully recommend a cruise trip on the Mekong River at sunset. It is, no doubt, a perfect way to wind down after a long day of sightseeing and take in the natural beauty that Luang Prabang gently shows visitors.
To enjoy another charming Luang Prabang, you can get some useful information at Luxury on the Mekong.
7. Learn about traditional Lao textiles
The Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts Centre is where the fascinating world of Lao textiles comes alive. Set in the grounds of a stunning tropical garden on the Mekong, it’s the perfect place for you to learn more about this unique Lao art.
It will be an unforgettable experience because they also offer a range of classes in weaving and dyeing, making things from silk with your own hands. Here there’re lots of gift boutiques and cafes where you can simply enjoy the sunsets with a refreshing drink.
8. Indulge in Kuang Si Waterfalls
Kuang Si waterfalls is absolutely stunning with cascading falls down falls in very unique colors. It is located about 30km away from the center of Luang Prabang and makes for a great day trip to one of Laos’ most well-known natural landmarks.
It is the biggest waterfall in the area with three cascading tiers leading to a 50-metre drop into beautiful natural pools. Entry fee: 20,000 kip = $2.47.
9. Buy souvenir at Luang Prabang Night Market
If you hope for a perfect trip to Luang Prabang, make sure you don’t skip visiting the daily night market. It starts at 17:00 and ends at 23:00, beginning at Wat Mai and running along Sisavangvong Road to the town centre. It is the best place to find some really unique and interesting souvenirs to take back home.
You will expect to taste some delicious fruit smoothies and fawn over intricate jewellery, traditional clothing, and beautiful handmade crafts. Remember to flex your haggling skills and get some great deals because the sellers here drive a hard bargain. But the products are definitely worth it and you maybe wilI wish to grab more and more items from here.
Read more Luang Prabang travel guide at here.