20 Things to do in Luang Prabang
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Luang Prabang being the premier tourist destination of Laos, has unrivalled collection of sightseeing spots and adventure activities that can drag the tourists repeatedly towards the city. It is considered as the very exact representation of Laos culture; it is encircled by a number of mountains and located at the confluence of Nam Khan and Mekong rivers.

Go through this list of 20 best things to do in the city that no visitor would like to miss. Cascading waterfalls viz Kuang Si and Tad Sae are beyond just beautiful with the salubrious atmosphere. Also, you will get ample opportunity to cruise along the Mekong River that is always rich with milky water. The city’s tradition, culture, and the influences of Buddha are well portrayed in Royal Palace museum, Pak Ou caves and Wat Xieng Thong. A complete day out itself will describe the city undoubtedly.

Here are some Things to do in Luang Prabang:

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01

Tad Sae Waterfall

Image Credit : Mr ATM
The Tat Sae Waterfalls popular as the Tad Sae Waterfalls are those waterfalls situated along the tributary of River Nam Khan in Luang Prabang, Laos about 18 kilometers southeast of Luang Prabang and 2 kilometers from village Bak En. The falls flow over the limestone formations among trees. Takes about an hour to reach by a tuk tuk or a shared minivan and a fee of 10,000 kip (or $1.25) is charged for a round boat trip to the fall from riverbank.

Tad Sae Waterfall
Image Credits : chrissam42


The rainy season has always been marked as the ideal time for a visit to the falls; as December to July stays dry. The limestone cascades have always been a sight worth seeing. A number of pools wait the dry feet. Picnicking is a popular pastime at these falls. Elephants are often hired for a joyride. . Elephant tour operators offer this option as the last leg of the trip, however in the dry seasons they skip it.
02

Pak Ou Caves, Luang Prabang

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.
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05

Royal Palace

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Image Credit : Chi King
In a well tended, spacious garden off Luang Prabang’s main boulevard (Thanon Sisavangvong), lies the wonderful Royal Palace Museum, also popular as Haw Kham. It's easy reaching the place. A walk up to the museum is easy. One can also opt for a rented motorcycle or bicycle in a cab or a tuk-tuk. The museum remains open from 08:00 to 11:30 and 13:30 to 16:00 daily except Tuesdays. The museum is the key if one is keen on knowing more about the Lao culture and history. T

Royal Palace
Image Credits : Chi King


his museum had been a Royal Palace, built back in 1904 for the King Sisavangvong. One is bound to be impressed by the royal apartments well preserved. The exhibits of this museum include royal religious objects, statues, weapons, paintings and screens of centuries ago. On the mirrored Throne Hall, crown jewels of Laos can be seen. A room featuring murals that depict Lao life of the 1930s is worth visiting. There's also a new pavilion housing a 2,000 year-old, Prabang Buddha made of solid gold. The garage showcases the last king’s car collection.
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06

Mount Phousi, Luang Prabang

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Image Credit : rule37
Mount Phousi rises about 150 mtrs from the centre of Luang Prabang and is located between the Thanon Sisavangvong and the Thanon Phousi. From the summit, a 360-degree spectacular look of the city with River Mekong to the north, River Khan to its south and east, with all the temples, and surrounding landscape with the mountains has been marked favorite by tourists. When it comes to climbing Mount Phousi there are numerous steps. However the climb is gentle for one with reasonable health.

The popular time for visiting Mount Phousi is in the late afternoon, to watch the sunset over the Luang Prabang and surrounding countryside. For a much awaited peaceful experience, the sunrise view is worth catching, especially from the hill top. The Thanon Phousi staircase is comprising 355 steps zigzagging up till the summit, is well paved, offering several resting spots all along. The Wat Tham Phousi shrine, featuring a huge-bellied Buddha nestling in a grotto and reclining Buddha can be spotted halfway up on the hill. The golden Wat Chomsi, built in 1804 sits on top of Mount Phousi.
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07

Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center

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Image Credit : Rob Young
The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (or the TAEC) is more than merely a museum and a boutique of fine handicrafts. Located at the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang, Lao, PDR, TAEC has been the single independent resource centre that is dedicated to the country's diverse and multiple ethnic groups. Established back in 2006, the TAEC preserves, collects and interprets the traditional arts and the lifestyles of the ethnic groups.

Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center

This Centre has further expanded to include the growing collection of ethnic minority artefacts, a library, and TAEC Cafe for the special events. Back in July 2014, the TAEC opened TAEC Boutique, the stand-alone shop that featured the finest hand-crafted items from the minority artisans. In Luang Prabang the visit to the TAEC is justified and a must do. One can extend the visit for a cup of coffee and delicious French pastry at the Le Patio Café and stop by Museum’s Shop for purchasing their fair-trade handicrafts.
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08

Wat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang

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Wat Xieng Thong is basically a Buddhist temple located at the northern tip of Luang Phrabang, Laos’s peninsula. Wat Xieng Thong is among those most important Lao monasteries and stands out as a significant monument. There are more than twenty structures including a sim, the shrines, the pavilions and the residences, in addition to gardens of flowers, shrubs and huge trees. There is a ‘tree of life’ mosaic set on the exterior wall at the west. Inside, a gold stencil work showcases the dharma wheels on ceiling and exploits from the life of King Chanthaphanit.

Dotted around the Sim are stupas and three chapel halls or Hor Tai. The rest two show striking external mirror-shard mosaics depicting the village life and exploits of Siaw Sawa. The Hor Pa Maan or the success Buddha sanctuary is usually locked except the week following Pi Mai. The Hor Tai Pha Sai-nyaat contains a rare reclining Buddha.
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09

Wat Xieng Muan

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The sim has been reportedly constructed during the mid-1800s, though the monastery is actually way older. The sculpture found inside is pleasing, and the ceiling has been painted with the gold nagas, an uncommon motif in such a position - possibly due to the influence of Thai Lu. Also, no table is an elaborate haang thien with the nagas at their ends. Backed by the Unesco and New Zealand, the Wat Xieng Muan has successfully been able to restore the monks' quarters to be used as a classroom for training the young novices and the monks in artistic skills required to maintain and to preserve the temples of Luang Prabang's.

Wat Xieng Muan

 Wood-carving, Buddha-casting, painting are some of the skills taught, however, all of these came to a halt after 1975. The Wat Cieng Muan opensdaily from 8 in the morning to 5 pm in the evening. An Admission fee of about LAK 20,000 is usually charged.

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10

Tad Thong Waterfall

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Image Credit : patrikmloeff
For years, this path was hidden from the public but is open again to let the world witness the beauty of the natural jungle and waterfalls. The waterfalls usually are spring fed, as are many of the falls in this area, which naturally reduce to a trickle as the dry season comes to an end - but Tad Thong is more impressive and known for a Jungle walk, so the waterfalls are sort of a bonus, as claims tourists and not the primary reason for a visit.

Tad Thong gives an opportunity of taking a short but vigorous hike through the jungles, and a spring-fed pool to a place entirely to oneself. The Tad Thong has always been a place of must visit as it is a quiet spot ideal for a long, nice nature walk with butterflies and beautiful falls and only a few tourists with friendly locals.
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11

Discover Night Market

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The Vientiane night market (‘Night Market’, the ‘Night Market Riverside’, or the ‘Riverside Market’) is basically a makeshift outdoor market, which disappears and reappears every night, along banks of River Mekong River, in vicinity of park Chao Anouvong. This night market reflects a reddish shade due to bulbs illuminating hundreds of positions in the market of theRed awnings. Though the night market is aimed mostly for tourists, the local population also joins the night market.

Discover Night Market

The Luang Prabang Night Market perhaps has most extensive collection of handicrafts, with wide range of textiles, carvings, clothing, quilts, basketry, and much more. There are stalls selling mobile accessories and also other gadgets related to music and kind. The only thing which isn’t sold is food; however, there are a chain of restaurants on the other side of that street. The night market has always been a good place for buying souvenirs of Vientiane or for other souvenirs. The night market Opens every day at 18:00 to 22:00, 20:00.
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12

Mekong River boat trip

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Image Credit : Allie_Caulfield
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.

Mekong River boat trip
Image Credits : Allie_Caulfield


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.
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13

Whiskey Village (Ban Xang Hai)

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Ban Xang Hai or Whisky Village is a tiny village located near the Mekong River. It draws visitors with its special strong whisky produced from rice which is sometimes fermented and sold in bottles. Lao-Lao comprises an integral part of the Lao culture. It is used during ceremonies for blessing and tourists are often offered a shot of firewater (or large glass) when on a village visit. Home to only a few people, this ancient settlement, offers the locals and the travellers’ handcrafted hooch.

Pulling up in a boat, along a shore and sipping from bamboo straws and learning about the whole fermentation procedure is a good idea. Visitors get the opportunity of buying this alcoholic creation, but those preferring water instead of whisky can watch locals weave Lao silk or go on a spree to buy locally made paper and fabrics. The only negative aspect about Ban Xang Hai is that jars of Lao-Lao may contain wildlife. A visit to the Whisky Village is often followed by a trip to the Pak Ou Caves since these two popular spots are located beside one another on Mekong River.
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14

Plough Rice Fields at Living Land Rice Farm

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Rice is life in Laos. Laos also gives an opportunity for experiencing the rice making procedure from seeds to table, through the half day ‘Rice is Life’ experience suitable for individuals and their families. Such exciting join-in tours start from $ 40. The Living Lands Farm is one such community enterprise outside Luang Prabang maintaining educational programs as well as professional organic farming next to rice paddies. Small groups can participate in the interactive rice farming experience actively benefitting locals from community, maintaining crafts in traditional form. One gets to learn bamboo weaving, tools and trap making gardening and blacksmithing.

Plough Rice Fields at Living Land Rice Farm

 Residential English-speaking farmers demonstrate the activities. The Tour includes activities in the farm as well as rice product tasting, Lao lunch in a separate area, transportation, and local taxes, ideal for a perfect family experience. Wading through the sloppy, knee deep mud and dragging plough in a rice field behind a huge buffalo is not on the bucket list of every tourist– it’s certainly an unplanned adventure to learn rice farming in Laos.
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15

Dine out on Traditional Lao Cuisine

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Laotian Food Is that International Cuisine tourists often miss out on. The first thing that one needs to know about the Lao cuisine is that the sticky rice is the national staple in Laos. Laotian people eat sticky rice, also known as glutinous rice, at every meal. The next aspect is the importance of vegetables and the dipping sauces. Khao Jee sandwich, Lao Sausage, Khao Poon (Rice Vermicelli Soup), Larb, Pho, Or Lam (Lao Stew), Sien Savannah, Tam Mak Hoong, Som Moo are some of Lao favorites.

Dine out on Traditional Lao Cuisine

 Pha Khao Lao, Amphone, Makphet, Kua Lao are some of the best restaurants to lunch or dine in Lao cuisine. Pho Zap, Seoul Restaurant, Nazim, Osaka are some of these. The international dining is superb with nationals globally opening up restaurants like Bistro 22, Le Silipa, Pimenton, and Aria and so on.
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16

Visit Morning Market

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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.

Visit Morning Market

 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.
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17

Kuang Sii Waterfalls, Luang Prabang

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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.
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18

UXO Laos Visitor Center

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Image Credit : ccarlstead
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. This UXO 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.
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19

Elephant Village, Luang Prabang

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Image Credit : rosshuggett
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.
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