Luang Prabang set my trip through Laos to high standards. Immediately I felt this city. Set in a valley at the joining of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, Luang Prabang is the type of place that makes you slow down for a bit and relish in the moment. Its the perfect combination of local life with night markets and temples, natural beauty, and quaint little shops and cafes.
My number one recommendation for Luang Prabang hands down is to visit Kuang Si Waterfall. It was so good it needed its own post here:
Chasing waterfalls in Luang Prabang
A perfect opportunity to buy some hand made souvenirs and gifts for friends and family back home. Some of the best local food in all of SEA so far for me.
The restaurants, cafes, and street food:
There are many little cafes where you can get a healthy breakfast and a decent latte. Indigo cafe also had many vegetarian options so we went here a few times.
One of my favorite things about Laos was the ability to get a smoothie from basically anywhere! The street was lined with stands selling any smoothie combination you can imagine and delicious baguette sandwiches with yes avocado!
My favorite restaurant with out a doubt is Utopia. A totally zenned out atmosphere. Comfy mats and tables overlook the Nam Khan River where you can watch the local life passby- kids splashing in the water and the men fishing. The veggie burger was delicious! Enjoy the moment while you are here and don’t be too bothered by the slow paced staff- things run at a different pace here it’s part of the experience. Also known for a chilled out night scene which follows with the famous bowling (past the towns curfew) and morning yoga sessions.
Take the time to walk up the steps to Phu Si Hill in the centre of town. There are two entrances on each side. I recommend going up one and down the other. The easiest entrance to find is just directly across the Royal Palace Museum.
The climb to the top is all on stable stairs and is about 100 meters up. It is not a difficult climb by any means- but if you are taking your time and stopping to enjoy the views maybe give yourself 20-30 minutes or so.
There are several temples you can explore along the way – halfway up the hill you’ll find Wat Tham Phou Si and at the top of the hill is Wat Chom Si.
At the top enjoy the full view of Luang Prabang. You can spot the point where the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers meet. I heard its also a great sunset spot. Once at the top be prepared for many people gathering around to take in the views. And watch out for those selfie sticks!
Staying on budget we decided to just go for a typical backpackers hostel- nothing to write home about. But walking through the side streets there seemed to be many guesthouses (especially near Utopia) and I think that would be most enjoyable if not on a super tight budget.
Just walk around during the day and enjoy the smiling faces of locals, flower adorned temples and streets, and colorful local food market.