Luang Prabang is a city which stole my heart years ago. The laid back life and peaceful atmosphere make this place a favorite for many travellers in Laos. Located on the peninsula created by Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, the city is surrounded by gorgeous nature and houses impressive architecture intertwined with French history and Laotian culture. Slow your pace and take in the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage City.
Swim at Kwang Si Waterfall
A beautiful, cascading multi-tiered waterfall, Kwang Si is a fairy-tale falls with its turquoise waters flowing into pools. These pools are major highlights of the waterfall, allowing visitors to take a dip from the hot Laotian heat and humidity. It would be best to be there early morning to beat the crowd.
About halfway between the entrance and the waterfall is the Asiatic Black Bear rescue centre. It houses a couple of dozen animals rescued from the hands of poachers and traffickers. The bears are in large enclosures with trees and some simple toys like tire swings. An elevated viewing platform has been built near the enclosure so visitors can observe these endangered animals
Kuang Si Waterfalls is located about 30-kilometers and takes approximately 45-minutes away from Luang Prabang town centre. I paid 50,000 Kip for a shared tuk-tuk which inclusive of a return trip and admission to the falls.
Admission Fee: 20,000 Kip
Opening Hours: 08:30 – 17:30 every day
Marvel at the stunning Buddhist Temples
There are over 30 Buddhist temples of different styles in Luang Prabang waiting to be explored. Most of the temples welcome visitors at no charge, except Wat Xieng Thong which costs 20,000 kip (USD $2.30). As many of the temples are sanctuaries where monks live and study, it is important to dress appropriately, with shoulders and knees covered.
Get lost in the Old Town
Not to worry, the old quarter of Luang Prabang is so compact you’ll never be too far away from the town centre. Take a stroll along the Mekong riverfront to admire the perfect blend of their two pasts living cohesively together.
Admire the city from Mount Phousi
Located right in the heart of the city, Mount Phousi is a favorite for its stunning views of the city. A small climb of about 329 steps leads you to the top, where lies a temple and a 360-degree view of the picturesque town. You will be struck by just how much this charming city is truly a jungle-clad Mekong backwater.
Visit the bustling Morning Market
Visit a fresh produce market where locals travel across the Mekong to buy their fresh ingredients for the day’s meals. Located in a small street next to the Royal Palace, be prepared to see all manner of strange animals on sale such as giant catfish, toads, birds and bugs. The morning market starts around 5.00 a.m. and winds-up by late morning.
Shop through the colorful Night Market
As the sun sets, the street will be closed to traffic and the hill-tribe traders emerge with their various apparels, ceramics, artwork, lamps, blankets, fabrics and handicrafts. These huge array of colorful products available are often of very high quality – and much better than the markets in Bangkok or the rest of Thailand.
Try the awesome fruit smoothies
While the food in Laos is meh…they do have awesome smoothies you can’t miss! Fresh fruits with milk and ice is the perfect way to beat the exhaustion from walking around in the hot sun!
Mingle at the chillest Utopia Bar
Located on the banks of the Nam Kham River, this is the perfect place to spend an evening. Grab a Lao beer and a meal while waiting for this place to get buzzing.
Participate in Tak Bat Ritual
Known as Alms Giving Ceremony, Tak Bat is a daily tradition which gives you an opportunity to experience an ancient Lao tradition. However, as more and more travellers discover Laos, the Buddhist tradition has turned into a circus show with disruptive and disrespectful behavior from tourists. As such, more and more locals stopped participating the ceremony to avoid being part of the show.
If you are planning to watch the ceremony, please remember that this is an ancient, spiritual ritual and therefore do remain quiet, keep a respectful distance and refrain from using flash photography.
Lastly, if you want to keep a track of all my photos and travels, remember to follow @wanderrsaurus on Instagram!