Top things to do in Luang Prabang; backpacker’s guide!
As my adventure in Laos came to an end in Luang Prabang, I realised what a truly epic place this is. It seems the further North Loas I travelled the better the locations seemed to get and with this, I think Luang Prabang is the number one place to visit in Laos. Luang Prabang has a sweet vibes atmosphere and plenty for a backpacker to do. As a result, I have done my ultimate favourite best things to do in Luang Prabang. Use these tips for a truly epic time.
I see a lot of travellers asking if Luang Prabang is worth visiting? Let me tell you, yes it’s totally worth a visit! This is the coolest destination in Laos.
After you have visited here, you can make your way from the pier in Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai by an epic 2-day boat journey. This is what we did after we’d finished exploring Luang Prabang.
Let’s have a look what’s included in this post for you;
What to do in Luang Prabang?
There’s plenty of different things to do no matter your age, fitness level or travel preference.
Let’s look at some of the best things to do;
1. visit the epic Kuang Si Falls
The most amazing waterfall I have seen. The Kuang Si falls at its tallest is actually taller than the more famous Niagara Falls. The unique three pooled rock formations are covered by unique turquoise coloured waters than you can swim in and take plenty of worthy Instagram photos.
However, during rainy season the waters will turn a dark brown colour. Nevertheless, the Kuang Si Falls are one of the most amazing things to do in Luang Prabang.
Don’t forgot your camera! And, if it’s not waterproof, don’t get too close!
Like amazing places to see in Asia? checkout Kelingbeach secret point beach
2. See the spiritual Alms ceremony
Sorry guys you have got to set your alarm for 5am to see this one “Jheeeezzz that’s early man” yeah but it’s worth seeing the cool monks as they march the streets in singular lines (almost like soldiers) to collect food offerings from the locals. This is a daily occurrence because it’s the only source of food for the monks of Laos. Furthermore, you will be joined by other tourists and backpackers to watch the Luang Prabang Alms ceremony. You can even get involved and offer food, but if you are not going to offer (we didn’t) don’t sit on the provided chairs, the monks will expect food if you sit in the chairs.
The Luang Prabang Spiritual Alms giving route is all over the centre of the town. The buddhas will pass through most of the major streets on their route through Luang Prabang.
3. Hike Mount Phousi for the best views of Luang Prabang
This was the first thing we did after checking into our homestay in Luang Prabang, to be honest we just sort of stumbled across the entrance to the mountain.
I found out that there are two side to enter the mountain and the entrance fee to the the Mount Phousi is 20,000 kip fee ($2.50).
The first thing you get to see on your 10 minute climb to the top of the mountain (it’s called a mountain but there mean a high hill) is the giant sized golden buddhas which make a great pic.
Then when you reach the top you will be hit with the wow factor of the views! It’s crazy looking out, it’s like your looking over a Hawaiian village, not Luang Prabang. I think this is because of the blended palm trees with rooftops that you wouldn’t expect in Laung Prabang.
There wasn’t much of a Mount Phousi dress code so don’t worry about what you’re wearing.
Top Top – Get to the top of Mount Phousi before sundown and watch the most epic views as the sun drops into the horizon. This will definitely make it on your Instagram account.#
4. Visit the Luang Prabang Buffalo farm
This was a first for me and will probably be a first for you? You can visit the buffalo farm and try ice cream that has been made from the onsite buffaloes and I wouldn’t lie about this it was actually the best ice cream I have ever tasted (apart from Ben and Jerrys). We only tasted the ice-cream, however you can go on a guided tour around the farm to see the buffaloes and chickens.
However, we just preferred the ice cream. See the picture for the pricing details.
There is lots of top places to eat in Luang Prabang whilst you’re there.
5. Get to the Tad Sae waterfall/Tad Thong waterfall
A tricky place to visit that is 12 miles out from the centre of Laung Prabang, however if you do take the time out to visit you will be rewarded with epic rock formations and a stunning water display. Not many backpackers make their way here due to the location, but it’s probably worth a visit.
Check out this Luang Prabang waterfall map;
6. Get close to the Loas elephants at the Luang Prabang elephant sanctuary
Established in 2001 the Luang Prabang elephant sanctuary has been working hard to provide a new home for the neglected working elephants of Laos. You will get the chance to meet and the elephants and gain new knowledge regarding the histoy and backgrounds of these truly majestic animals.
7. Luang Prabang Night market and try the all-you-can-eat buffet
I enjoy routing through the local goods on the markets and some markets are mega, but some are shocking. However, the Luang Prabang night market is “sweeeeeeettt”. You have the chance to by the cool Southeast Asia T-shirts for $2, whacky local goods for a $1 and taste some of the local made wine that strangley has a dead snake in the bottle. I tried this wine and I instantly felt woozy, maybe it’s because I haven’t been drinking much. Anyway, the markets are a great thing to do in Luang Prabang, even if you don’t buy anything it’s good to see all the local goods.
Luang Prabang night market and what to buy? Here is a list of goods;
- Local foods
- Local crafts
This is a Top Top – where to eat in Luang Prabang? Down one of the side streets of the market there is a few stalls that offer all-you-can-eat for just 15,000 kip ($2). And it’s pretty damn good food for the value. They have different kind off vegetables, pasta, rice, curry, fruit, eggs and a few other tasty foods. Worth its weight in gold the buffet stall.
8. See the Royal Palace
Gold plated buildings what else do you need to know? There is more to the Luang Prabang royal palace than the stand-out gold. It is a cool Loa styled building that looks amazing in the sunshine. Also, the Haw Ph Bang temple is surrounded by tropical palm trees and cut grass that is worthy of a good sunbathe on. It is also FREE to enter here, and you can take away some amazing pictures.
9. Take a sunset cruise along the Mekong river
This is a leisurely 1.5 hour cruise on the Mekong whilst the light is at it’s best. Enjoy the sights of the Mekong around Luang Prabang with beer, refreshing drinks and Lao snacks. If you wish, you can climb the stairs, on the bank opposite the departure point, to Chompet Temple and have a panoramic view of Luang Prabang.
10. Explore Luang Prabang on a bicycle
Visiting Laos is a great for a more relaxed side of backpacking. You don’t get the hustle and bustle like lots of the other touristic destinations in Southeast Asia. And Luang Prabang is a sweet example of this. Therefore, bike hire in Luang Prabang is a must do to get see plenty of the local streets at your own relaxed pace. Sun shining, ray-bans on and hitting the streets on your bike “Life at its finest”.
11. Try food at Utopia the best place to eat in Luang Prabang
This is where to eat in Luang Prabang. Utopia is the number one spot for backpackers and tourists from all over the world. Utopia serves mouth-watering food at good value, a little more expensive than the local restaurants but it’s worth it for the food.
12. Get your relaxation on with a Lao-style massage
After working your way through everything on the 15 best things to do in Laos for a backpacker in Luang Prabang you will need an authentic Lao-style massage from one of the local massage shops. You can have the stress from your feet massaged away while you relax in an air-conditioned room and maybe you could have a shoulder rub as well.
13. Watch a show at the Luang Prabang Royal Ballet Theatre
You can come here to watch a one and a half-hour show that is supposed to be quite impressive, we never watched one, but I know the locals regard it as a best thing to do in Luang Prabang.
You should check out the times before visiting to see what shows on at what time.
There is different shows on at different times.
What is the Royal Ballet Theatre entrance fee?
A ticket will cost around 150,00 – 120,00 Kips.
14. Buy a new book from the cool bookshop
This was a great find, everyone needs a good book on travels and this shop fills that need. I know the hotels in Southeast Asia are sometimes mega for finding a new book that a previously traveller has passed on. However, the shop has a larger range to choose from at a low price and they also have some cool gifts in there.
For more best essential travel list ideas, see backpacking essential item list for Asia
15. Watch a movie at night on the large screen at the bookshop
Every night the book shop I mentioned, play a film on a large screen on the upstairs of the building and to be fair they play good films. For example, the other night they were playing the baby driver. Which is a newish film. So, trade a night out in Luang Prabang, for a night at the movies.
Where to stay in Luang Prabang?
There is plenty of top accommodation in Luang Prabang and there’s something for everyone in this awesome place!
Whether it’s a hotel or a cheap homestay, you will find something for your budget or requirements.
Let’s have a look at some of the best places to stay in Luang Prabang;
This place is amazing! If you’re travelling from the capitol, you can check out my guide on how to get from Vientiane to Luang Prabang which is a popular journey.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this post!