So one of my most recent travels was Luang Prabang! Compared to other Southeast Asian countries, Laos is a little more expensive. I spent a total of 912,500 kip (or around 145AUD) in Luang Prabang for 5 days. This doesn’t include my flight tickets. I could have gone a little cheaper if I want to but I thought – well, this is supposed to be a relaxing holiday for me after a mind-draining semester of med school. So here goes:
Accommodation in Luang Prabang is very affordable. I stayed at Downtown Backpacker Hostel which cost 45000 kip (7 AUD) per night. The hostel is clean and comfortable, with a group of young and fun travellers.
I was also invited to stay at AVANI+ Luang Prabang, which was a luxurious 5 star hotel in Luang Prabang. The stay was amazing and you can read about my experience here.
As the town area in Luang Prabang is relatively small, you can literally walk to most places that you wanna go. If you can’t bear the sweltering heat, take a tuk-tuk. Tuk-tuk is inexpensive. A 10-minute ride will cost around 10000 kip (1.60 AUD). One annoying thing about tuk-tuk in Luang Prabang is that the drivers charge by person, not by the whole tuk-tuk.
For example, if you are going to the bowling alley (let say 5 minute ride), regardless of 6 people or 8 people sharing the tuk-tuk, you will still pay 10000 kip per person.
However, for Kuang Si falls, most tuk-tuk drivers would prefer a bigger party. I have heard from another traveller who managed to share a tuk-tuk with other people and got a rate of 50000 kip per person. The tuk-tuk driver wouldn’t leave until he gets more people to be in his tuk-tuk. She said if she didn’t find more people to share the tuk-tuk with, the tuk-tuk driver would have charged her and her partner 100000 kip per person. Or she would waste more time waiting for the tuk-tuk driver to find more people to share the cost with her.
A tuk-tuk ride from airport to town centre – 50000 kip per destination (if you have 2 people going to the same destination, it’s 25000 kip and so on)
A tuk-tuk ride from town centre to airport – you can negotiate for this. I shared a tuk-tuk with 3 other travellers and paid for 17500 kip.
A tuk-tuk ride to Kuang Si Falls: negotiate. I followed the tour offered by my hostel and it was 35000 kip.
Food and drinks
I think the price of food in Luang Prabang has the greatest variability. I will just give you some examples of how much food costs.
– Buffet near the night market – 15000 kip
– Laotian style noodle soup – 15000-20000 kip
– Pumpkin chips – 10000 kip
– Coconut shake – 10000 kip
– Mango shake at night market – 15000 kip
– Pork satay – 3000 kip
– Elaborate meal at Tamnak Laos restaurant – 120000 kip
– Crispy pork snack – 30000 kip
You will have to pay for entrance for most attractions in Luang Prabang. These are a few examples:
– Kuang Si Falls: 20000 kip
– Nahm Dong: 20000 kip
– Mount Phousi: 20000 kip
– Pha Tad Ke botanical garden: 25 USD (Yeah, it’s a bit expensive)
Most people come to Luang Prabang for Kuang Si Falls. It’s one of the most spectacular falls that I’ve been to. It reminds me of Jiu Zhai Gou in China, with less tourists and less selfie sticks.
This section includes prices for alcohol, clubs, bars, spas, massages and of course, the notorious bowling alley.
Spas and massages in Luang Prabang are good. Although they are not as cheap as Cambodia and Vietnam, it’s still around 50000 kip (8 AUD) for a 60-minute massage. You can bring your own towel/ sarong if you mind the hygiene. For 50000 kip, it’s just a lounge room where everyone will enjoy the massage with you a.k.a no privacy. But when I went in June, there’s very few tourists! You actually don’t need much privacy because you might be the only customer!
Alcohol is really cheap! A 500ml bottle of Beer Laos will only cost you around 10000 kip if you get it from your hostel. PS: I am still on my quest to beat the lowest price of beer that I have had (0.25USD in Siem Reap, Cambodia)! There’s one night when we got 2 bottles of vodka and some mixers to share among 7 of us and that cost us like 125000 kip, which worked out to be around 18000 kip per person. The local vodka/ whisky is actually good. It tasted good and I didn’t have a hangover. Can confirm.
If you go to a bar (Sakura/ Utopia), no doubt that beers are gonna be a little more pricey. If you head to Utopia during their happy hour (12pm-9pm), you’ll be able to get a 500ml Beer Laos for 15000 kip. I think that’s the same for Sakura as well. Remember to ask around about the free tuk-tuk to Sakura if you wanna save some penny for more booze. Basically, get a tuk-tuk ride to Sakura before 8:30pm and the tuk-tuk driver will not charge you. Most tuk-tuks drivers around town know about this deal. I think it’s just one of the strategies for Sakura to get more customers.
The bowling alley is the only place in Luang Prabang that opens past midnight (2am). If you are running out of places to go and you still want more alcohol, head to the bowling alley. You’ll find many travellers playing drunk bowling. Beers at the bowling alley are comparable to the price of those two bars.
Renting a motorbike
Renting a motorbike in Luang Prabang is fairly easy. We didn’t order it through our hostel because it took forever for the motorbikes to arrive at our hostel. They quoted us 100000 kip per motorbike per day but we actually scored a better deal (90000 kip) at the street next to us. I reckon we could have gone a little lower.
So that worked out to be 45000 kip per person if you are sharing the motorbike with someone else. If you are renting a motorbike, make sure you link up all the places that you wanna go to. Luang Prabang can seem like a small town but to get to other tourist attractions like whisky village and Pak Ou caves, it will take more time that what Google Map has calculated because the road condition is just unbelievably shit.
One of the biggest cost while travelling in Laos is the cost of intercity travel. However, if you are travelling only in Luang Prabang, it’s pretty affordable! Hope that this post benefits you in terms of grasping a rough idea of how much things are gonna cost in Luang Prabang!
Too lazy to plan your itinerary? Check my itinerary out here!
Cheers! Happy budgeting!
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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!