Visit the “Heart of Laos” and learn about the beautiful culture and the amazing natural beauty in this country. Overwhelm your senses with gorgeous scenery and impressive Buddhist temples. Luang Prabang used to be the capital of Laos and it is still one of the most visited spots in Laos.
I have been to most of the countries in Southeast Asia and Laos stood out as a true gem. Add this city to your bucket list for your travels! There are so many wonderful things to do in Luang Prabang, so read below to find out more.
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Table of Contents
Best Things to Do in Luang Prabang
#1. Visit Kuang Si Falls
This was my favorite spot in Luang Prabang and you’ll be amazed at this waterfall’s beauty. The water cascades down the side of the rocks and then continues to cascade down into gorgeous turquoise pools. The waterfall itself is about a 45 minute drive outside of Luang Prabang, but you can find plenty of methods to get there either by tour, boat, or shared tuk tuk.
The hike to the falls takes about 15 minutes and along the way you can stop at the Free the Bears center or the Butterfly Park. Once you’re there, make sure to take a dip in the water and enjoy your incredibly lush surroundings.
#2. Climb Up Wat Phou Si
Another highlight of any trip to Luang Prabang, is hiking up to the top of Wat Phou Si. This is the highest spot in all of Luang Prabang and it features Golden buddhas and panoramic views of the valley below.
In order to get to the top you’ll need to climb up 335 steps. This area is sacred, so make sure to treat it in a respectful manner. The top offers 360 degrees over Luang Prabang with amazing views of the Mekong River.
#3. Walk with Elephants
Visiting an elephant sanctuary is a very special experience. There are plenty of elephant experiences to choose from but I highly recommend the Shangri-Lao Elephant Camp. This is an ethically run organization, where you get to walk with, bath, and feed the elephants. It’s truly unforgettable!
Other Ethical Elephant Sancturies
- Mandalao Elephant Sanctuary & Resort
- Elephant Village Sanctuary & Resort
#4. Partake in Alms Giving
Enjoy one of the most unique things to do in Luang Prabang. Every morning at sunrise 200 monks walk through the streets and receive daily rice from the people, which is called alms giving. It’s a really sacred experience to observe and take part in.
Things to Know Before You Go:
- Get your offering before you go to the ceremony
- Kneel when the monks pass to offer them the food
- Arrive early so you don’t disrupt the ceremony
- Do not talk to or touch the monks
- Take photos from a distance
#5. Wander Through a Local Market
There are plenty of markets to visit in Lao from the daily local markets to the night time food markets. Your senses will be overwhelmed with sights and smells. It’s a great way to experience the local culture and get some of the delicious food.
You can get access to the local ingredients or try the Lao cuisine at the night market. The night market is one of the most popular places to go at night. It’s one of my favorite things to do in a new country!
#6. Spend Time in the Royal Palace
This was built when the French colonial people were in Laos. King Sisavang resided in this palace. Now, you can visit the old royal residences and see what it was like to live like a King.
You can explore the grounds for a bit and then go to the museum which features the throne room, royal cars, and paintings about Lao life. It is free to visit the grounds of the palace, but there is a $4 fee to go to the museum.
#7. Explore the Temples
The majority of Laotians are Buddhist and there are many Buddhist temples in Luang Prabang to see. When we were there, we went to see Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham. This temple is known for its five-tiered roof and its gold features.
Other temples to Visit:
- Wat Xieng Thong
- Wat Haw Pha Bang
- Wat Senoukharam.
#8. Boat Along the Mekong
Luang Prabang sits along the Mekong River, one of the longest rivers in Asia. Getting on a boat is a great way to explore the area and see things you wouldn’t see from the land. Enjoy the serenity of getting on the water and learning even more about this wonderful place.
There are many options for boat tours to take. Choose a river cruise to experience the Mekong and visit some of the other sights along the way. You could even take a luxury river cruise for a longer journey down the Mekong.
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