On your itinerary in Northern Laos, your route will probably take you to Luang Prabang City. With 55,000 inhabitants, it is one of the three most important cities in the country behind Ventiane, the capital. The opportunity for us to take the temperature of this Asian country that slowly opens to tourism. Here are my tips to discover Luang Prabang and all its tourist activities in three days thanks to a tested and approved program.
Luang Prabang, a peaceful town north of Laos
Former capital of the kingdom, Luang Prabang is today one of the most touristic and dynamic cities of the country. She is also known to be a strong symbol of Buddhism in Asia with many temples and religious traditions ardently defended. As soon as we arrived, we quickly noticed signs of French influence, allowing us to refreeze ourselves with bread and delicious sandwiches. We had heard a lot about this city and we could not wait to find out. Luang Prabang is a city that likes to take its time, so that’s what we did! After your two-day cruise on the Mekong, you will arrive in Luang Prabang after dark. It is only the next day that we really discover this city with many colonial buildings.
Visit of the temples
The ideal way to soak up the atmosphere of the city is to start with a visit to the many temples. You can set a route to not miss any or do it to the feeling. Personally, I found the temples pretty, but nothing more. Small overdose maybe? The principal are paying, 20 000 kips (2 euros) per person. Once your morning visit finished, you will have well deserved a little break. The opportunity to taste the famous sandwiches. Rest assured, Laos have personalized them so that you can still feel like eating locally.
Stroll along the Mekong
Luang Prabang is located on the edge of one of the tributaries of the Mekong. The view is superb if you are lucky enough to have a clear sky. Ideal for a small digestive ride!
Shopping at the night market
As everywhere in Asia, night markets are the law. Another great way to discover the city and the specialties of the country. Here you will find, of course, the famous elephant pants but also tea and coffee Lao and other silver jewelry.
Ceremony of the monks
For your visit to Luang Prabang to be complete, you will have to get up early. Finally, if you wish to attend this ritual during which the monks harvest the offerings. This ceremony takes place on the main street at 5am. No obligation to participate. It’s you who see
Visit of the Royal Palace
This is undoubtedly the essential visit of the city. However, we quickly go around. The main temple houses the Phra Bang, one of the most sacred Buddhas in the country.
The ascension of Mount Phousi
If like us, you like to take the height, the Mount Phousi offers a sight on all the city. The climb costs 200,000 kips. Know it, in Laos, all points of view are paid. It is better to choose its moment, the sunset for example.
Attempt the Lao massage
During our stay, we were able to taste the joys of Lao massage. Quite similar to Thai massage, which I mentioned here. We suffer during but we feel refreshed after. We opted for Hibiscus. Count 6 euros for an hour of massage.
The good taste of the French croissant
Eh yes ! It’s possible. We believe it. Take the time to walk to the bakery Le Banneton and you will salivate with happiness. A real croissant as we like them!
A swim in the blue water of Kuang Si Falls
From a tourist point of view, Laos stands out thanks to an astonishing and wild nature. The Kuang Si Falls are sublime in beauty despite the many tourists who visit each day. Water of azure that invites swimming. To get there, you can take a tuk tuk but the mini-van services offered by hotels or guesthouses are much more advantageous.
A glass with Utopia
Ah Utopia! We had heard about it for the first time in Thailand. This bar, a true attraction of the region is the ideal place to land after a day of sightseeing. Relaxed atmosphere, delicious cocktails and a menu that perfectly mix Lao and European food. The prices are higher than elsewhere but the setting is great, with a breathtaking view of the Mekong. Of course, do not expect to come across premises. Go for a party but only until 11:30 pm curfew time.
Where to eat?
Eating in Luang Prabang is one of our favorite activities! We were able to reconnect with the bread but also with the cakes. The central square of the city is home to many booths where you are challenged with great support of Sabaidee ( Hello Lao). A little suspicious at first, it became our canteen so the choice is vast and reasonable prices. I still remember my rice with vegetables and pineapple, a delight ! The first night we looked for the night market to discover Lao food. We were disappointed to discover a tiny streetand full of wood smoke because of grilling. We opted for a stand offering various dishes at will for the sum of 150 000 kips (= 1.50 euros). The food was good but cold and impossible to sit.
Guest houses and hotels abound in Luang Prabang. Prices are however higher than in other cities of Laos. We opted for the ViengChalern Guesthouse where the welcome is excellent provided by students eager to improve their English. If you want to get up with the view of the Mekong it is a little more expensive but quite possible!