Luang Prabang Itinerary
Luang Prabang has got to be the most idyllic tourist town in Southeast Asia. Its breathtaking waterfall sitting on its emerald throne trumps the need for party places and nightclubs. Everyone seems to only come for Kuang Si Falls, but I can assure you that there’s more than just Kuang Si Falls in Luang Prabang.
I have made this Luang Prabang itinerary a 5-day one as I was there for 5D4N. That was enough for me to see most things. However, if you are running short on time, feel free to modify this Luang Prabang itinerary according to your length of stay. I suggest staying in Luang Prabang for at least 3D2N. It’s a really nice town to stay for a while after some hectic-whirlwind travels in Southeast Asia.
You will be able to squeeze some activities into your first day depending on what time you arrive. I stayed at AVANI+ Luang Prabang, which is strategically located in the centre of Luang Prabang.
After checking in, head straight to the night market! There’s so much to see at the night market it will leave you dazzled. Carry-on-sized gifts, exotic clothing, handmade accessories and homeware, the night market in Luang Prabang is also a paradise for souvenir shopping. Make sure you bargain your way when you are here. I would say that the vendors are not as aggressive as what I’ve seen at night markets in other Southeast Asian countries.
If you are planning to eat at the night market, there’s another alley next to the main street. I can’t find the name for the street even on Google Maps! If you see a street with many food stalls offering “buffet-style” food, that should be it.
Head to Sakura Bar to chill over some drinks. There are only a few entertainment establishments in Luang Prabang so if you head to any one of those, chances are you’re gonna meet many, many travellers. Therefore, many new friends!
Sakura Bar had a special promotion going on while I was there. If you wanna go to Sakura Bar before 8:30pm, you can get a free tuk-tuk ride there. Just tell the tuk-tuk driver that you are going to Sakura Bar and if you can get a free ride. It seemed that most drivers knew about this promotion so I reckon this might have been going on for a while.
Most travellers come to Luang Prabang for the beauty of Kuang Si falls. How can you resist a grandeur waterfall with turquoise water with so many insta worthy spots?
There are a few ways that you can go there:
If you are travelling solo like I normally do, you can tag along with a group from a hostel. There are many hostels in Luang Prabang that offers a competitive rate to visit Kuang Si falls. For 35000 kip, you get transport and a group of energetic, young travellers to go with. Meeting new friends in an exotic country? Tick.
I did the tour with Downtown Backpackers Hostel. Basically, if you are interested in the tour, you can just rock up at the hostel at 9:00am. The tour starts at 9:30am where a pretty decent, air-conditioned van comes and pick you up. It takes around 20 minutes to get there and the tour ends at 12:30pm, which leaves you 2.5 hours to explore Kuang Si falls. I would say that’s sufficient – we did a short hike, swam a lot and had a lot of photo time. The only thing that we didn’t get to do was the boat tour offered by the monks.
If you want to have some control of how much time you wanna be there, you can hire a tuk-tuk. According to another traveller that I met during my stay in Luang Prabang, it costs 50000 kip. To get the rate, you need 5-6 more travellers to share the tuk-tuk with. You can then negotiate with the tuk-tuk driver on how long you can stay. If you are doing this, I recommend you doing the boat tour and tell me how’s the cave like by commenting below.
AVANI+ Luang Prabang also offer customised and luxury tour to Kuang Si falls that is more suitable for family if you prefer. It’s very well organised and you can leave at whatever time you want. It’s so convenient, you can just tell the receptionist and they can get it organised.
After getting lunch, you can get some rest as the heat in the afternoon can be seemingly unbearable. At around 4pm, you can head to Mount Phousi for the sunset. The view of Luang Prabang from above is breathtaking. The only thing is Mount Phousi can get crowded real quick. Go earlier so that you can secure a good spot to take some sick photos! Also, bring some mosquito repellent with you because Mount Phousi is the most fertile breeding ground in the world according to Aaron’s fact sheet!
Another place that travellers love to chill is Utopia. I really liked the ambiance. There are couches on the floor for you to lie on. Lighting was on point and everyone was very sociable. The price was also really reasonable for a bar with a view. You can get a tall Beer Laos (3L I believe) for 10,000 kip. There are also some overpriced food here if you prefer.
Luang Prabang is a really idyllic town – it sleeps at 10pm. You probably have heard that bowling is a big thing in Luang Prabang – it’s because the only entertainment establishment that’s open till late is the bowling alley (closes at 2am). If you still feel like more alcohol after 11pm (Utopia closes at 11pm), you can check out the bowling alley. Because bowling is more fun when you’re drunk.
If you can wake up early and wanna see something really special to Luang Prabang, watch the alms-giving ceremony. Locals and travellers alike gather at different areas of town to give alms to the monks. The alms that the monks receive will be the only source of food that they can consume in a day.The ceremony happens everyday.
As this is a religious practice, please be respectful at all time. If you are keen to join the ceremony, AVANI+ can prepare the alms for you (sticky rice). You can also buy it from street vendors. Some people have been causing a little bit of problem for the sake of a perfect photo, so please don’t be one of them. You can still take photos but make sure you don’t disrupt the ceremony.
One of the best ways to better know a city is to visit the morning market. In Luang Prabang, there’s a morning market parallel to the main street where the night market happens every night. You’ll find exotic ingredients, fish lying on the floor, tropical snacks, handmade goodies (especially the bamboo holder for sticky rice) and more. The morning market is gonna be a fanfare to all your senses.
Sign yourself up for some cooking fun at Tamarind Luang Prabang! It’s the most organised and fun cooking class that I have joined so far! As a person who cooks a lot, I feel like the competence of cooking doesn’t really matter in this cooking class as everything that you’ll be learning is new, and fun! This is the second best thing that I have done in Luang Prabang, after Kuang Si Falls (a close call)! You can read about my experience with Tamarind Luang Prabang here! It is so good that I have to include it in my Luang Prabang Itinerary!
After the cooking class, visit the royal palace. Although it’s a little lacklustre considering that it’s a “royal” palace, it’s central location makes it really easy to visit and it’s really worth it for some good photos too.
Spoil yourself with some true Laotian cuisine at Tamnak Laos restaurant. It takes around 10 minutes to walk from the night market. The food there is exquisite and I had a really good time there. I ordered the set menu and thought that it was really worth it, although I would say the dinner served after my cooking class at Tamarind Laos was more superior.
Most people know that western food in Southeast Asia might not be as western as expected. However, due to the substantial French influence in the region, Luang Prabang has got incredible french patisseries and boulangeries all over the town. It’s your last day! Fall for the tantalising smell of the freshly baked baguettes and croissants!
Both Joma Bakery and Le Banneton are good breakfast places to spoil yourself. Although they can be a little pricey, the quality of pastry that you can get here is no-joke.
After your scrumptious breakfast, head to Pha Tad Ke botanical garden. This botanical garden is rising to be a special destination to visit in Luang Prabang. Though the entry price is steep (25USD for adults, children visit free), Pha Tad Ke botanical garden is very well maintained. It’s relatively small and it would probably take you less than 1 hour to visit the main area. Descriptions are everywhere so it’s a must-go for the gardening buffs out there. To come here, you can take a boat from the pier and just mention Pha Tad Ke botanical garden.
After lunch, pick a temple to visit. There are so many amazing ones just a stone throw away from the city centre. I went to Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham (with entry) and thought it was worth a quick visit.
One last thing that you should do is to visit the night market again to do some souvenir shopping before you fly out tomorrow! Like I said, bargain!
I hope this Luang Prabang Itinerary helps you in your trip planning to Luang Prabang!
If you wanna know how much things cost in Luang Prabang, check my post on my expenditure in Luang Prabang out!
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Born and raised in Malaysia, Aaron is a medical student that is deeply in love with travelling. He loves to inebriate all his readers with the crazy travel stories and personal travel tips that he has gathered throughout years of travelling experience. Learn more about him here!