What To Do In Luang Prabang

Situated in the centre of northern Laos, Luang Prabang is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding cultural, historic and architectural values and its harmonious relationship between the natural and built environment. In the 14th century, the King Fa Ngum founded the first Lao Kingdom, Lane Xang, here in Luang Prabang. Luang Prabang remained the capital of Lane Xang until 1565 when the capital was moved to Vientiane. It remained to serve as the country’s spiritual and religious centre.

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When coming to Luang Prabang, you must see 7 well-known places that I will show you in below.These are the answers for the question what to do in Luang Prabang.

See at Tad Kuang Si Waterfall

The impressive waterfall is located about 30 kilometers south of Luang Prabang. You can take a tuk-tuk from the center of the city or rent your own transport. Several villages inhabited by people from various ethnic groups can be visited along the way to the waterfall.

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The scenery on the way to Tad Kuang Si is beautiful featuring fresh air, flowers and wild animals.

The waterfall is really a beautiful place, vegetation is stunning, the view from the top is amazing. Swimming areas here and there. Pure rock filter mineral water might be fresh and invigorating. Bring the towel.

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In autumn, especially in October, the water flows dramatically, the spectacle is magnificent. It’s also time to enjoy the boat racings all around, and eventually the festival of lights...

Entrance fee to the park : less than 5 USD

To go there :
- by tuktuk, from 20 to 30 USD, 
- by private minivan with driver : 50 to 80 USD 
- by rental 4x4 for a day : 100+ USD

Swim at Tad Sae

This waterfall is accessible by car, tuk-tuk, bicycle but during the rainy season can be reach by boat only. It is divided into three limestone steps and is twenty minutes by car from Luang Prabang. It is perfect for picnicking, swimming and relaxing.

The waterfall, even though it is not in such a splendid setting as the one at Kouangsi, has more going for it in the way of amusements, offering numerous pools in ‘stairs’. There are many uses made of this waterfall, including “hydro massaging of the back”, the surroundings are perfect for this.

Explore Tham Ting Cave

Situated on the Mekong River, just a short distance from Luang Prabang, Sacred Tham Ting Cave houses where there are thousands of Buddha statues. This underground sanctuary has been venerated for centuries. The number of Buddha images in the cave gradually increases as locals bring Buddhas to place in the cave when they visit.

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The cave can be reached either by boat trip to the point where the Nam Ou River meets the Mekong or by road to Ban Shang Hai village, where you can also witness the villagers making 'Lao Lao' (fermented rice liquor). Visitors can sample the drink and purchase locally made handicrafts.

Visit Vat Xieng Thong Temple

Built during the 16th Century by King Saya Setthathirath and complted in 1560, Vat Xieng Thong temple is one of the most interesting examples of traditional Lao art and Buddhist archtecture.

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The ornate carved and gilded funeral vehicle of the former king is kept in one of the buildings in the temple grounds. It is well worth visiting and paying your respects to this temple while in Luang Prabang. This temple was used to organize the highest Royal Ceremonies and houses the bones of King Sisavangvong. The intricate golden facades, colorful murals, glass mosaics and unique three-tiered roof make this one of the most beautiful temples in Asia.

Visit National Museum

The National Museum, constructed in 1904 as the Royal Palace, is laid out in a cruciform shape and accessed from a side entrance. Various royal objects are displayed in the large entrance hall. Many gifts from foreign envoys (including a rock brought back from the moon) and religious and culture artifacts are also on display including the Phabang (Buddha image), the gold standing 14th century Buddha image from which Luang Prabang derives its name.

The museum is open from 8:00 am to 11:30 am and 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm every day except Tuesday.

Climb Mount Phousi 

Phousi Mountain is located in the centre of town. Visitors will need to climb 328 steps to the top of the mountain from where they will be able to get a perfect 360 panoramic view of the whole city. Mount Phousi is Luang Prabang's holy mountain, and at its very top sites the 20m high Vat Chomsi stupa.

Shop at Night Market

Open from 5 until 10 pm, the atmospheric night market is set up on the main road between the post office and the museum, selling a large variety of local textiles and ethnic handicrafts: There is also a small street with lots of food stalls serving inexpensive local fare located besides the Tourism Information Centre.

In general, there are a lot of other amazing activities in Luang Prabang for you to discover besides things I mentioned. Hopefully, this article has helped you choose your next Laos destination, as all these places deserve a dedicated holiday on their own.

-If you happen to find yourself planning a trip to Luang Prabang anytime soon, good on you for finding this piece! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed visiting Luang Prabang.

- Make sure you comment below on your thoughts! Maybe I missed out on your favorite place or activity, be sure to tell me about it. Share it around, too, you never know who may need it.

Travel Safe!

About the Author James Wilson

Hi! My name is James Wilson, adventurer and traveler. I was born in New York City, am 29 this year, and have been traveling since I was 19. New places fill me with an unexplainable joy, so let me share some of my experiences with you!

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1 comment
Anna says

Hi James! Great website ! I live and work in Zambia and have 3 kids (8/5/2). They are good little travelers. My husband and I have never been to asia and want to go in December for 6 – 8 weeks. I am overwhelmed, what would be your primary location recommendations for us?! Thanks! Anna

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