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Mekong River boat trip

At 4,350 km, River Mekong is the longest river in Southeast Asia. The Lower Mekong forms a part of the border of Burma (Myanmar) and Laos, and of Laos and Thailand. Two typical journeys along the Mekong areA Three-day cruisethat begins at theSiem Reap, covering Chnok Trou (the floating village), the Kampong Chhnang, the Kompong Tralech, the Koh Chen and finishes at the Phnom Penh. Low water at Tonle Sap Lake can alter this itinerary.

A Seven-day cruisefromthe Siem Reap, a cruise covering the Chnok Tru, the Kompong Chhnang, the Kompong Tralach, the Phnom Penh, the Koh Dek Chau, Chau Doc, the Vinh Long, the Cai Be, the My Theo and finishes at the Ho Chi Minh City. Most river ships on the Mekong have been built recently, and artful replicas of the “colonial” river steamers have been done, accommodating less than a hundred passengers. The cabins, in general, are quite comfortable and practical though recent additions include luxurious options.

Morning Market

Vientiane Talaat Sao, the morning market is widely known for offering a wonderful selection of the local offerings, mostly of fabric-based stuff. The stalls and shops stay open from early till about 17:00. The indoor market, older and newer malls have been fused together to make Talaat Sao the favored shopping centre for both the locals and the visitors. Mostly the indoor mall keeps featuring household appliances, the knock-off electronics and watches. A few vendors sell delicious Lao ice cream sundaes with yummy coconut ice-cream, nuts, jelly sweets and sticky rice. For buying a sinh, traditional Lao skirt, and endless choices of fabrics are available. Silk scarves, wooden boxes, carvings and bowls are scattered over shops.

 There are shops selling snakes in trinkets and Lao whiskey. Lao herbal remedies are sold. The older mall, opposite of the bus station is of three storeys selling Western as well as Lao clothing alongside electronic goods. Those desperate for parts for a phone, laptops or cameras, find this the ideal place to visit. If one has been looking for traditional styles, the Lao Cotton keeps quality stuff, so does few other shops. The newer mall attempts to raise the standards, and thus features high-end cosmetics, accessories, gold traders and better electronics.

Pak Ou Caves

Luang Prabang is highly popular for these limestone caves located near river Mekong. The Pak Oh Caves have been known as a place of worship over a thousand years. Near the Pak Ou (mouth of River Ou) the Tham Ting or the lower cave and the Tham Theung, or the upper cave overlook River Mekong, 25 km to north of Luang Prabang, Laos. This group of two caves on the west of Mekong, about two hours upstream from centre of Luang Prabang have become pretty well known to tourists.

These caves are mainly noted for the miniature Buddha sculptures. Innumerous small and damaged wooden Buddhist figures have been laid out on the wall shelves taking positions, including that of peace, rain, meditation, teaching, and reclining (or nirvana). One can reach the Pak Ou caves by boat. The trip takes about 2 hours upstream from the Luang Prabang with a magnificent scenery along River Mekong and the limestone mountains. The way back downstream consumes over an hour. One may alternatively go by a tuk tuk, cab or minivan to the Ban Pak Ou village that’s opposite of caves on the other side of the river.

Kuang Sii Waterfalls

The Kuang Si Falls spelled also as Kuang Xi or called Tat Kuang Si Waterfalls, is basically a three tier waterfall 29 kilometers south of Luang Prabang. The falls start in shallow pools from a steep hillside leading to the main fall with 60 meters cascade. The water gets collected in many a turquoise blue pool as it flows downstream. The Cascades resulting are quite typical of the travertine waterfalls.

One can make way to the waterfalls on a hired motorcycle with some scenic village en-route or book a tour. Many opt for an unusual alternative and hire a boat and ride down River Mekong before catching yet another boat for the short hop across to these falls.

Bamboo Bridge

For the construction of any kind, the most important requirement is the use of the bamboo. These products are available are made with the help of the most dependable and versatile building material. Bamboo is considered to be a very fast growing plant that survives itself in different climates and situation. It can be available in a climate that is stretched across the globe from that of North Australia to that of the eastern side of Asia.

 This may include regions such as India and parts of the USA and other European countries. The structure becomes so strong that it becomes hard, and it looks beautiful and has a fine finish. In parts of the world especially in the climates of the tropical region, there are forests to grow huge bamboos that are used for construction. The method of construction with the help of bamboo is used for making industry and is becoming dependent on other alternative methods by using renewable items.

UXO Laos Visitor Center

Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme (UXO Lao) operates in the nine most impacted provinces all over the nation. UXO Lao makes way for land for agricultural and community related purposes (e.g. hospitals, schools, temples and water supply) along with developmental activities. UXO Laos Visitor Center is basically a permanent but small exhibition in Luang Prabang, which depicts the problems of UXO affecting Laos and efforts to clean affected areas.UXO Laos Luang Prabang visitor center is situated within a government building on Bounkhong Road. UXO Laos visitors’ center usually stays Open from Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 12:00 and in the evenings from 13:00 to 16:00 .

There is no entrance fee or to the exhibition. ThisUXO Laos Luang Prabang visitor centre is exhibits with just 2rooms the different kinds of unexploited munitions (UXO), along with series of illustrations with appropriate data related to various wars that previously affected the country, the impact on civilian population and tasks of decontamination and cleaning are also exposed.

Elephant Village

Elephant Village is basically an elephant sanctuary and a popular tourist destination in Luang Prabang, Laos operated by a team of caring individuals for the rehabilitation and protection and of elephants. The magnificent "elephant village" is located about 15 km from Luang Prabang on the bank of River Nam Khan. Elephant Village is ideally located in the laps of Mother Nature, by misty mountains near the river. It's the first and one of its kinds in Laos that offers Elephant interaction programs alongside an outstanding variation of Elephant activity tours for the young as well as for the old.

The area around Elephant Village offers approximately 4 hectares of lush green nature, and sandbank at the camp allowing visitors to watch Elephants during their daily bath. A beautiful Elephant Lodge is connected via a small path, only a few hundred meters from the "Elephant Village", offering a simple but relaxing stay with well-furnished rooms in exclusive colonial style.

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang rose to unmistakable quality as the capital of the main Lao kingdom (Lan Xang - place where there is the million elephants) from 1353 onwards. The city owes its present name to the Pha Bang, a respected Buddha picture (now in the Royal Palace Museum) which was conveyed to the city by King Visoun amid the brilliant time of Lan Xang in the mid 1500s.
The discontinuity of the Lao kingdom toward the end of the sixteenth century saw Luang Prabang turn into a militarily feeble autonomous city state paying tribute to the encompassing kingdoms. At last the 1887 sacking of the city by the Chinese Haw drove the Luang Prabang government to acknowledge the security of the French, whose impact prompted the development of the numerous fine pilgrim manors that sit agreeably nearby the conventional Lao design.

Highlights – Angsana Spa, Backstreet Academy, Banana Boat, Big Brother Mouse.

Location - Laos

Opening Hours: All year round

Best time to visit: November to May

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Most Popular Places Around Luang Prabang

What You Should Know More About Luang Prabang

  • Q. Travel advice:

    • Physically excruciation: If you like adventure activities, then you really have come to the right place. Luang Prabang attracts a variety of backpackers however, when you enrol yourself in any form of adventure, make sure you do not neglect the safety gears and equipments.

    • Plan well: In Luang Prabang there are a number of things to do. However, it is important for you to ensure that you do not rush with the things. Make sure you do a proper research regarding all the places to see and then plan your travel.

    • Illegal substances: Do not indulge in drugs of any form.

    • Liquor: Do not go overboard with the liquor. Drink only as much as you can handle.

    • Beware of the mosquitoes: Across Thailand, mosquitoes are a common site. So, make sure you carry with you a strong mosquito repellent or a spray to keep the mosquitoes at bay.

    • Food: Street food in Thailand is good. However, you must ensure that you check the quality of the food before consuming it.

    • Climate: In Luang Prabang the climate is usually pleasant so there is not much to bother about. However, in case you plan a visit during winters, then it is advisable for you to tuck along some warm clothes as the chill usually increases ay night.

    • Secluded Areas: Though Thailand is a safe area but you must still avoid venturing the secluded zones all alone.

    • Be wise while choosing your hotel/resort: Some of the streets in Luang Prabang are away from all the hustle bustle. However, even if you seek some privacy it is advisable to not book a hotel or resort in such places.

    • Touts and Vendors: Keep the touts and vendors at bay.

  • Q. Drinking laws

    In Luang Prabang the legal age for drinking is 20.

  • Q. Things to do in Luang Prabang:

    • Visit the beautiful temples of Luang Prabang: Life in the city of Luang Prabang primarily revolves around the beautiful temples of the place. This holiday destination is known for the spiritual aura that it emits. There are about 34 different UNESCO-protected wats in the whole of the city. This is among the must-have experiences in Luang Prabang.

    • Pimai Lao Festival: The Pimai Lao festival takes place in Wat Mai on Sisavangvong Road. This site is important and serves as one of the most beautiful spots in Luang Prabang. This temple was discovered back in the 18th century and additions and expansions have been given ever since.

    • Get a glimpse of the central stupa: The central stupa comprises of great historic interest in Laung Prabang. It is among the largest constructed stupas in the city and are in a style similar to other chief attractions such as Wat Mai and Wat Wisunalat. It weighs approximately 600kg and you must visit at least once if your lifetime.

  • Q. What will you like in Luang Prabang:

    Shopping experience: One of the best things to do in Luang Prabang is to go shopping in the local markets. You will surely enjoy yourself as you purchase local, ethnic products at cheap rates.

    Trekking on Mount Phou Si
    : Among the many other things that you can is go trekking on Phou Si. If you are the kind that enjoys adventure activities that this is surely the place for you.

    Books on Luang Prabang:
    Thailand, a travel guide, Lonely Planet Thailand.

  • Q. What is the best time to visit Luang Prabang?

    If you are planning to visit Luang Prabang, November to May is the best period to visit the city though in September and October months one can enjoy boat races on the Nam Khan river.

    November to May:

    This is the dry season in Luang Prabang and temperatures are mostly pleasant. The temperature doesn’t go beyond 31-32 degree Celsius. Many tourists visit during this time and enjoy the sightseeing, festivities, and natural beauty of this place.

    May to October:

    Even though the monsoon season prevails in Luang Prabang during this period, it is surprisingly a good time to visit. The temperatures are lower in the range of 20°C and weather is comfortable. Flowers are colorful and attract a lot of beautiful butterflies. The waterfalls even look amazing with water gushing through the stony pathways. With fewer tourists visiting the city, hotels and accommodation places are cheaper to stay. Moreover, the boat races are a must watch during this season.

  • Q. How to reach Luang Prabang?

    The beautiful city of Luang Prabang is well connected with all three major modes of transportation.

    By Air

    The city’s airport opened in 2013 is located about 5 km towards north-east of the city. There are frequent flights from major airports like Bangkok, Hanoi, Chiang Mai, Kuala Lumpur etc. For certain nationals, Visa-on-Arrival is also available at the airport.

    By Bus

    Luang Prabang is well connected by bus service. One can take a bus from Hanoi which would be around 30 hours of journey. Highway 13 links the city to Vientiane and Vang Vieng. The road is in good condition during the dry season and buses and coaches are available easily. Prior bookings can also be done for a bus journey.

    By Boat

    From the Thai border, boats ply on the Mekong river from Huay Xai and can be boarded till Pakbeng. From one can either take the overland connections or continue their boat ride to reach Luang Prabang. Many operators also offer 2-day luxury cruises to enjoy the beautiful boat ride in Laos.

  • Q. Which are the major tourist attractions in Luang Prabang?

    Luang Prabang is a wonderful city built at the confluence of two rivers and offers a large number of tourist attractions due to its beautiful setting. The city is an amalgamation of traditional Laos culture and European architecture as it was a French colony earlier. It’s a most enchanting place to visit and enjoy.

    Few popular places that you must visit in your trip are:

    • Alms ceremony – a ritual in Laos
    • Haw Kham – a former royal palace converted to a museum
    • Chomsky Hill – the main hill in the city
    • Vat Xieng Toung – the oldest monastery in the city
    • Elephant Village Sanctuary & Resort – to learn about Asian Elephants.

  • Q. What are the things to do in Luang Prabang?

    Luang Prabang has a lot to offer to its tourists. There are numerous activities that one can do to enjoy their vacations. The city is famous for its traditions, rituals, and breathtaking natural beauty. From food to nature treks to wildlife safari, there is a lot to do here.

    Few activities that you could enjoy in Luang Prabang are

    • Climb the Mount Phousi
    • Trek to waterfalls at Kaung Si
    • Enjoy the Tak Bak ceremony
    • Plough Rice Fields with Water Buffalo
    • Visit the Royal Palace Museum
    • Dine on the traditional Lao cuisine
    • Enjoy the night market
    • Ride the Mekong river
    • Learn to cook Lao cuisine
    • Visit the Tad Sae Waterfall
    • Spend the day with elephants at the Elephant Village
    • Visit the Pak Ou Caves

  • Q. What is the local food of Luang Prabang? Which are the best places to taste this food?

    Luang Prabang has a very distinctive cuisine that can be cherished by all. Being located in the lap of nature raw fishes, wild herbs, and stews are some of the ingredients that make the cuisine unique. The food making technique has matured over the years and is full of herbaceous and earthy flavors.

    To enjoy the local dishes, you can visit the following eateries in Luang Prabang-

    • Café de Laos
    • Le Banneton
    • Atsalin
    • Saffron Café
    • Scandinavian Bakery
    • Sena Steak House
    • The terrace
    • Elephant Blanc
    • Nang Ae Restaurant
    • Delilah’s
    • Dyen Sabai

  • Q. What is the best public transport to commute around Luang Prabang?

    To commute around Luang Prabang, multiple modes of transport are available. The tuk tuks are easily accessible. Though they tend to charge more than Vientiane, the price can be negotiated easily. Rental motorbikes are also available for people to take and roam around in the city. A wide range of motorbikes like Honda CRF, Honda Scoopy etc. can be rented for an entire day. For a casual stroll in the city, bicycles are also available at numerous shops for rent. Make sure that you lock the bicycles and motorbikes when parking at a tourist location.

  • Q. What is the local language in Luang Prabang and which are the most commonly used greetings?

    The local language in Luang Prabang is Lao, also known as Laotian and is closely related to Thai. It is connected to the Tai Kadai language family. The language is written in Lao script and the Vientiane dialect is the standard. The meanings of words in Lao depends on its pronunciation. Few basic words to get you started are:

    • Hello is ‘Sa-bai-Dee’
    • Thank you is ‘Khawp Jai’
    • Good morning / Good evening is ‘Sabaï dii / None lap fan dii’
    • How much is it? is ‘Laka tao daï?’
    • Is it close / far? Is ‘Pid bo? / kaï bo?’

  • Q. Which are the best shopping places in Luang Prabang and what are they famous for?

    Luang Prabang is famous for handmade items that are made by the locals. Souvenirs, jewelry, and handicrafts are the items to look out for. The designers have put a modern twist to the traditional motifs and designed unique and interesting handicrafts that tell a story about this place and people. The night market on the main street that sets up in the evening is famous for such handicrafts. The handmade elephant slippers are a must buy here. The Dara market next to Wat Phousi is another place to shop. In this market, you can buy fabrics, jewelry, clothes, bags etc. Few other shops that can interest you in shopping are:

    • Big Brother Mouse for gifts
    • Naga Creations for souvenirs
    • TAEC Boutique for handmade clothes
    • Passa Paa for traditionally designed textiles and clothes

  • Q. Where can I do adventure activities in Luang Prabang?

    Luang Prabang is a place famous for outdoor and adventure activities. Located at the intersection of two rivers, water boat riding and cruise is the most famous water sport. Being surrounded by lush forests and greenery trekking and wildlife tours are another set of outdoor activity that you would like to do when visiting the city. Few outdoor activities that might interest you are:

    • Visiting Mount Phousi – take the stairs to the top of this hill to enjoy the spectacular panoramic view of the city.
    • Mekong River Cruise – pick a riverboat and enjoy a breath-taking ride while enjoying the local cuisine and riverside attractions.
    • Elephant riding – visit the elephant village and enjoy an elephant ride.
    • Take a kayaking tour on the Nam Khan river.
    • Take a trek in the foothills of the mountains to visit the local tribe villages.
    • A cycling tour of the city is a good way to experience this World Heritage Site as a local.

  • Q. Which are the best waterfalls to see in Luang Prabang?

    Luang Prabang has two main waterfalls that are a must visit during your vacation trip here. The most famous being the Kuang Si waterfall that is located around 30 kilometers towards the southwest of the city. The water here flows over limestone rocks which makes it look magnificent. Towards the upper section of the waterfalls, there is a lagoon where one can enjoy swimming in the cold waters. The Tad Sae waterfall is another beautiful place to visit. It is about 16 kilometers from the town. It makes for a good place to enjoy a picnic with your friends and family by the water’s edge. Both these tourist spots are well maintained and equipped with changing rooms, washrooms, and restaurants.

  • Q. Which are the most adventurous trekking routes/spots in Luang Prabang?

    Being located in mother nature’s lap, Luang Prabang makes an ideal place for trekking. Few treks that you would be interested in are:

    • Chomphet Trek: this trek is the best to explore the rural life in Luang Prabang. Chomphet district is located across the Mekong River and one has to walk through green forests, caves, and fields to reach the village.
    • Kwang Si waterfall trek: A alternate four to five-hour walking route to reach the waterfalls is one of the most spectacular treks to take.
    • Nong Khiaw trek: this is a one-day trek to the highest limestone cliffs in Nong Kiaw. The views from the top of the cliff are amazing and will leave you mesmerized.

  • Q. What are the famous historic monuments in Luang Prabang?

    Since Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is home to some of magnificent architecture and monuments. Few must visit monuments here are:

    • Wat Xieng Thong: it’s the most famous monasteries in Laos and is a great reflection of Laon culture, religion, and traditional art. It consists of more than twenty structures including shrines, residences, and pavilions along with beautiful gardens and lush green trees.
    • Royal Palace Museum: Built-in 1904 during the French colonial period this was the home to the King and his family. Post monarchical era this palace was converted into a museum.
    • Wat Long Khoun: it is a Buddhist temple made on the banks of the Mekong river. It is also known as ‘Monastery of the Happy’ and has deep connections to the royal family.

    If you do happen to visit around mid-April, you’re likely to encounter the festivities associated with the Laos New Year celebrations, which include the tradition of throwing water - welcome relief from the heat.