5 Must-Visit Places In Luang Prabang
Laos has got to be one of the most beautiful, wonderful, out-of-this-world places I have ever laid eyes on. As soon as I hopped off the plane, I couldn’t believe where I was. We drove through a long, empty road surrounded by wilderness, trees and giant mountains. Laos is still a relatively ‘undiscovered’ spot to visit which is probably why it still has a lot of its natural beauty still intact. Here are the top five MUST-SEE places in Luang Prabang:
(All that being said, that’s not to say there aren’t tourist hot spots and number five will probably be somewhere on every travelers list.)
Kuang Si Waterfall.
This place is simply magnificent! While I’ve seen many waterfalls in all parts of the world, the Kuang Si Waterfall is still my absolute favourite! To get to the top, you must hike approximately 10- to 15-minutes. Be careful, because it can be very slippery on the trek up (pro tip: hiking barefoot was easier). While the top is enticing with lots of pools and mini falls, a bit more exploring can land you amongst the most stunning, clear blue water all your complete enjoyment.
There’s nothing more peaceful than waking up in a completely new country and watching the sun rise. Mount Phousi is located in the center town and is not an actual mountain. Instead, it is a 150km rise that’s equipped with a long staircase. The climb up is easy and, once at the top, there is a small temple. The most satisfying part of this ‘must-see’ is the 360-degree view of the city from this amazing vantage. It is the perfect start to any morning! Keep the perfection going with breakfast and coffee at one of Laos’ cafes. Le Cafe Ban Vat Sene is rated the second best Cafe in Luang Prabang on TripAdvisor, known for having the most delicious breakfasts and coffee. Everything tastes amazing! Fun fact: You’ll notice a lot of signs and restaurant names in Laos are in French, and this is because Laos was occupied by the French colonial powers for many years.
The night market is open from 5pm to 10pm every night and is filled with loads of jewels, clothing, ornaments, local food and drinks! You’ll notice entire families setting up their goodies for sale, with rows and rows going for miles. If your bartering skills are up to standard, you could score some sweet deals (although, paying the asking price really goes a long way for these families). Make sure to hit up Buffet Street after working up an appetite! It’s a long street filled with buffet tables piled high with some of the most delicious food. It’s dirt cheap and you can fill your plate as much as possible, then find a spot at the communal ‘picnic’ tables with some other foreigner and make some new friends!
Utopia is a bar located in the city center. It is essentially a huge, open hut that overlooks the Mekong river. It’s decorated with colourful lounging pillows, woven tables, plants and flowers for a natural feel (as if it couldn’t feel much more natural literally being in the open wild). The music is vibrant and the crowd is too. It’s best to start the night early, as Laos has a countrywide 12am curfew. Therefore, most businesses close down at 11:30pm to allow people enough time to get home. You’ll also notice signs along the streets reminding individuals to keep quiet while walking through at night. Obey the signs and always be respectful of cultural laws.
Bamboo Bridge & A Local Village.
If you’re lucky enough to visit Luang Prabang during the dry season (October to late April), you should definitely take the time to visit a local village. These can be reached by crossing the bamboo bridge built above the Nam Khan River. The bridge is rebuilt every year and can only be constructed during the dry season due to the low water levels. Over the bridge, you will see locals spinning clothes, making paper, sculpting ornaments and selling jewellery. Take the long way back to the city center by walking along the river and gazing at some colourful slow boats. Word of caution: if you’re afraid of dogs, it may be a bit intimidating crossing the bridge into the village, there are many wild dogs that roam the streets which are very protective of their territories.