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31 In Laos/ Recaps/ Travel

Top 10 in Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang is often listed as a favorite city in Southeast Asia. It’s a small town filled with spirituality, culture and natural beauty. Unlike other cities it was actually really easy to pick my top 10 in Luang Prabang because the highlights stood out so much to me. This post will introduce you to the things you must do in Laos’ most popular destination.

VISIT KUANG SI FALLS

Kuang Si Falls is a spectacular turquoise waterfall that will just completely blow you away. If you visit, don’t assume that the smaller, lower falls are the highlight because they’re not. They’re the perfect place to swim, but the uppermost section of falls is the most beautiful. Take a picnic, go for a dip or just enjoy the soothing sound of these falls. Oh, and don’t forget to stop in at the Bear Rescue Center.

MOUNT PHOUSI

Climbing Mount Phousi in Luang Prabang is a must for any visit to LPB Mount Phousi is probably the most popular destination in the actual city of Luang Prabang. Climbing to the top of the hill mean that you get a spectacular view of the city and the two rivers that surround it. In addition to the stunning views, you pass through statues of the Buddha, temple entrances and ending up at a Stupa that sits at the peak. Remember that this is an insanely popular spot for sunset, so if you plan to catch the sunset there, get there early for a good spot.

VISIT BUDDHIST TEMPLES

Luang Prabang is well known for its beautiful temples in the Old Town and all around the city. In fact, 34 of the temples (or wats as they’re known in Laos) are protected UNESCO- protected since the Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We had a fantastic time popping in and out of them across the city. It’s a great way to spend an entire day! Don’t forget to do this respectfully!

TAKE A YOGA OR MEDITATION CLASS

Luang Prabang Yoga is an amazing yoga co-op that hosts classes in their two locations in LPB (Utopia and their own studio above Sena) as well as retreats in Nong Khiaw and even other countries! We enjoyed both a meditation class and a yoga class with Luang Prabang Yoga and greatly enjoyed both. It’s a great way to exercise, ground yourself or create focus in your life. The instructors are fantastic, they offer varied classes and, if you’re in the area for a while, you can join their loyalty program! Never tried yoga before? Don’t worry their classes are available for yogis of all levels.

LEARN ABOUT SAFFRON COFFEE

Saffron Coffee is a sustainable coffee company who works with local farmers to create organic, delicious coffee while promoting a legal, sustainable life for locals. Saffron Coffee has a cafe along the Mekong in Luang Prabang and it’s one of the best places to eat in the entire city. In addition to one of my favorite places to eat, they also offer coffee tours. You get to learn more about the process of growing, processing and harvesting their coffee. Then, to cap it all off you get to have a coffee tasting and try some of their baked goods.

SHOP + EAT THROUGH THE NIGHT MARKET

Luang Prabang has a fantastic night market filled with amazing goodies – trinkets, art and food! Matt and I found some really incredible works of art that we brought home for our future home. Not to mention all the foods. There are fresh smoothies, tasty baked goods and a massive vegetarian buffet that will leave completely satisfied. It’s so much fun to wander through all the different stalls. Definitely pick up a treat to enjoy while you shop!

UXO LAOS VISITORS CENTER

The UXO Laos Visitors Center is a museum/center that explains the issue with Unexploded Ordnance (think mines, bombs, etc) that were left from the Vietnam War. Many of these UXO are small and look like toys that children in villages mistake as toys, mines are accidentally detonated and more. This center teaches visitors about this issue. The donations from visitors work to help educate villagers about UXO and fund the programs who help dispose of the UXO to make Laos a safer place for its locals and its visitors.

EAT ALL THE DELICIOUS FOOD

The food in Luang Prabang is off the charts! Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Dessert… They have it all! Highlights for me can be seen on this list. You can find everything from beautiful baked goods to local delicacies and Western treats that you’ve been living without. A few treats that come to mind are veggie fried rice, brownies, queso and proper strawberry milkshakes! Dig in!

RESPECTFULLY OBSERVE THE DAILY ALMSGIVING

Top 10 in Luang Prabang The daily almsgiving of Luang Prabang is world-famous. Because of this fame and the beauty of this daily tradition it’s often mistreated. There are rules to respectfully viewing this tradition: keep your distance, don’t follow the procession and remember this is sacred. If you choose to take part in this tradition dress modestly and buy your alms from the morning market, not people on the street. There’s definitely something magical about watching the monks spill out from the temples into the streets, let’s keep it magical and not behave badly.

SPEND TIME ON ONE OR BOTH RIVERS

Climbing Mount Phousi in Luang Prabang is a must for any visit to LPB Getting out on the rivers is a huge part of exploring this gorgeous city. It isn’t every city that sits between two rivers. There are opportunities to kayak, take a slow boat or travel down river to Pac Ou Caves. My first visit, I ventured to Pac Ou, but the second we took the slow boat. It’s such a gorgeous, mountainous area, so be sure to take the opportunity to catch this gorgeous landscape from one of the rivers.

THINGS ON MANY OTHER TOP 10 LISTS:

NATIONAL MUSEUM – This building used to be the Royal Palace. I visited this museum on my first trip to Luang Prabang, but I didn’t think it was necessarily a must-see unless you love visiting past palaces.

PAC OU CAVES – This is often advertised as a cave temples, however, its lower cave is a cave filled with hundreds of small Buddha figures that were “retired” or discarded from temples or homes. The upper cave was a cave temple but there isn’t much left at all.

HOSTELS/HOTELS WE RECOMMEND FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:

CHITDARA 2 This beauty is my favorite place to stay in Luang Prabang. The location is perfect because it is right along the Mekong and in the heart of old town. I really loved having the river view and the beds are unbelievably comfortable! We loved eating out so much that we opted out of the free breakfast and negotiated a discount.

VILLA MAHASOK This is Matt’s favorite. He loves the beds here (I agree they are great) and he loved its close proximity to his favorite places to eat. However, it sits just outside of Old Town which meant for a lot more walking. Its big draw for me is the daily free bottled water and the amazing shower!

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Cori Carl
    February 6, 2018 at 11:56 am

    I’m such a sucker for night markets, I love them all! And those waterfalls look amazing! There are a bunch of waterfalls near me in Toronto, but they don’t have those colors.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      February 9, 2018 at 9:09 pm

      I’m a sucker for them as well! The color of the water is what absolutely makes these the most unique! I absolutely love them.

  • Reply
    Candy
    February 6, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    I have been to wine and beer tasting/tours, but have never been to a coffee one. I love coffee and this would be such a fun experience for me. I also love that it’s a great place to eat and I’m all about baked goods with coffee. It’s the best combination 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      February 9, 2018 at 9:12 pm

      It was a super cool tour. I highly recommend any coffee lover visiting Southeast Asia/Laos to do it!

  • Reply
    Turtle
    February 6, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Great suggestions! It’s been about ten years since I was last in Luang Prabang and I am desperate to go back. Your post is only making me want to return even more! I remember spending a lot of time at the temples and markets but I didn’t do much last time in the nature surrounding the city. That’s what I would like to do more of next time.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      February 9, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      I think it sounds like it’s time to go back! You’ll love getting out into nature there!

  • Reply
    Mary
    February 6, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Your photos really make me want to visit Laos. Especially with the night markets, food, temples and beautiful scenery. It looks like a place thtat one could lost in and want to stay forever.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      February 9, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      It absolutely feels that way. We were there three weeks and I didn’t want to leave at all.

  • Reply
    Chantell Collins
    February 7, 2018 at 6:20 am

    This article has just become my checklist for when I visit Luang Prabang next month. As huge coffee lover it is hard to believe that I have never done a coffee tour – and Saffron sounds like a great company being sustainable. Also I haven’t meditated in a long time so I would definitely be interested in that.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      February 9, 2018 at 9:18 pm

      Yay! That makes me really happy to hear that it’s become your checklist! I think you’ll love Saffron. I really love to support sustainable companies. Luang Prabang yoga offers so many wonderful classes and you can always sit in on meditations in a temple at night. Luang Prabang is just so wonderful.

  • Reply
    Sarah K
    February 7, 2018 at 7:19 am

    The Kuang Si Falls looks absolutely spectacular! So many different layers in one. I’d definitely bring a picnic there, but wouldn’t have remembered so thanks for sharing that.

  • Reply
    Jamie
    February 7, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    I never thought to visit here but it’s now on the list. What a beautiful place. The photo of the waterfall caught my attention!

  • Reply
    Sheila Walton
    February 9, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    That is very valuable information for me. I am a traveler I can not go in those place. That is very interesting places. and beautiful Places. I want to go there but I have not enough information on this place can you told me some more information about this places.

  • Reply
    Sam Sparrow
    February 10, 2018 at 12:23 am

    Luang Prabang looks so beautiful! I love the lushness set against something more urban and bust like the street food market (who doesn’t love a night market?!) I’m big into waterfalls, and Kuang Si Falls do not disappoint. I’d love to visit here, it’s easy to see why its a favourite for so many.

  • Reply
    TravellingDany
    February 10, 2018 at 4:01 am

    Oh my gosh your pictures are SO beautiful! I especially loved the one of Kuang Si falls. Me and my husband like to search for waterfalls when we travel, they have something so inspirational! And this one is spectacular indeed, especially if you can swim near the lower falls!

  • Reply
    Fairuz Ibrahim
    February 10, 2018 at 4:04 am

    You’ve just given me 10 reasons to pack my bag and fly to Laos. When I saw the pic of Kuang Si Falls, I was blown away by its beauty, and the street food scene and, umm, saffron coffee 😳 just make travel-buds tingle!

  • Reply
    Marissa
    February 10, 2018 at 10:14 am

    This has never been on my list before, but this top 10 list has convinced me otherwise! I love waterfalls, so I’d definitely need to visit Kuang Si Falls and get some beautiful pictures. I also love night markets, so I’d love to explore theirs and see what I could find.

  • Reply
    Marvi
    February 11, 2018 at 1:34 am

    I’ve heard so many good things about Kuang Si Falls, it’s on top of my list for sights to visit when I go to Luang Prabang. It does look extraordinary! Your photo definitely captured its beauty. One thing I really didn’t know about is the yoga or meditation classes here. I’ve been practicing yoga for a while now and would love to be able to practice more in a new set-up – especially if it’s in an open air like on your photo. I’ve been doing home-yoga only so this is pretty welcoming.

  • Reply
    Medha Verma
    February 11, 2018 at 2:47 am

    I have seen pictures of Kuang Si Falls before and I absolutely love them! It looks a lot like the Plitvice Lake in Croatia and would probably be the highlight of my trip when I visit Luang Prabang, Laos. All the three countries infact, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos and upcoming tourist destinations and I haven’t been to any. I plan to take out 3 weeks in 2019 and visit them all. The food looks pretty awesome, I usually love southeast Asian food so I am pretty sure I will love the food in Laos!

  • Reply
    Kavita Favelle
    February 11, 2018 at 3:04 am

    Luang Prabang is definitely on my wishlist to visit, as is the whole of Laos. I would like to experience all of your top 10, perhaps with the exception of yoga, I think that’s too active for me! I like the combination of sites of natural beauty with cultural attractions, learning about local history and issues, and of course, the food!

  • Reply
    Hannah Henderson
    February 11, 2018 at 5:12 am

    Luang Prabang looks so beautiful, and being on the rivers like that is appealing. I love the look of the night markets – being able to have dinner bit by bit as you wander through is my idea of fun! Saffron Coffee sounds like a wonderful venture too – I think it’s so important to be able to create sustainable income in these countries. Jealous of all that delicious food and those views – must add Luang Prabang to my list!

  • Reply
    Indrani
    February 11, 2018 at 7:44 am

    Saffron coffee tasting tour is something that I would be keen on. 🙂 The UXO centre sounds unique with its lessons on detonation of bombs, a first time for me. And yes I agree about behaving responsibly during the alms giving ritual.

  • Reply
    flydriveexplore
    February 11, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    The night market looks really interesting and the colours of the Kuang Si Falls does look beautiful. Of course, the delicious food is always the best, especially the sweet treats!

  • Reply
    Meg Jerrard
    February 11, 2018 at 10:12 pm

    Spending a day at Kuang Si Falls sounds amazing, I would love to spend some time photographing the falls, enjoying a picnic and then jumping in for a swim. I’ve never done Yoga before but maybe with the region’s connection to spirituality it might be a good place to try a class. And I’ve wanted to witness the daily almsgiving for a while now, it looks like it would be such an incredible cultural / religious event to attend.

  • Reply
    Efthimis Kragaris
    February 12, 2018 at 4:31 am

    I must say that any place with waterfalls is a must-visit destination for me! Kuang Si falls looks great and I am sure it is the perfect place to be on a warm day. Street food also is a reason that I love visiting Asian countries; there is such a great variety of stalls offering almost everything at a good price. Adding Luang Prabang on my bucket list!

  • Reply
    Carolina Colborn
    February 12, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Oh, no! These are what I missed because I erroneously booked Vientiane last September instead of Luang Prabang! We saw the Golden Stupa there but we missed the beautiful KUANG SI FALLS and the meaningful crimson sea during the morning almsgiving. Gotta go back then.

  • Reply
    Nathalie Salcedo
    February 12, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    I love this post 🙂
    Too much things to do in Laos!
    My favorite is the falls 😍😍😍 it seems really enchanting and beautiful, is the water too cold?

  • Reply
    authenticfoodquest
    February 13, 2018 at 2:02 am

    Luang Prabang is a place that I’ve been reading about and wanting to visit for a while. Your post add much more context. Good to know there are yoga centers and retreats, that would be something I’d love to do as well. The food…wow, the food looks delicious. I’m really need to get there soon!! Great read!

  • Reply
    Anita Hendrieka
    February 13, 2018 at 2:33 am

    I’m absolutely kicking myself I didn’t get to make it to Laos last year! I really love the look of the food markets, they are always the best in Asia. Bookmarking this page for future reference!

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    February 13, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Luang Prabang is such a vibrant place and there are so many sights and experiences. I was really impressed by Saffron Coffee. Such a commendable initiative that has focused on sustainable development of the local community.

  • Reply
    Ami Bhat
    February 14, 2018 at 12:02 am

    This is a perfect combination of all the things I enjoy. Nature with Kuang Si Falls would just be amazing, as would be visiting those Buddhist temples. I would like to observe the Alms giving, it seems like a very noble cause. Maybe even dig into how it came about. Cheers

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