General information

Luang Prabang location

Luang Prabang location

Luang Prabang is Laos‘ former capital and the centre of Laotian culture and religion, with monasteries, monuments, traditional costumes, old French houses, and beautiful scenery. It’s nestled between two of the region’s largest rivers, the Mekong and the Nam Khan, and it’s unquestionably one of the top tourist attractions in Laos. Every year, thousands of domestic and international tourists visit Luang Prabang, particularly during the annual Pimai Lao (or Laos New Year) celebration in mid-April. People are hospitalized, the environment is typical, and the cultures are untouched. Luang Prabang was designated a World Heritage Site in 1996.

How to get to & around Luang Prabang

One of the best and most popular ways to get to Luang Prabang is to cross the border from Chiang Khong, Thailand to Hoi Sai and then take a boat up or down the Mekong River through the spectacular and scenic scenery.

Furthermore, the bus ride from Vientiane’s Northern bus terminal to Luang Prabang takes about 10 hours. Although this is a very inexpensive route, there are international warnings about travelling on this stretch. While it has been relatively quiet in recent years, you should ask around before embarking. The journey is bumpy and winding, and local buses are frequently overcrowded. If you are prone to motion sickness, bring the appropriate medication.

Moreover, international flights arrive at Luang Prabang International Airport from Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Hanoi, and Siem Reap. Visas are available at the airport upon arrival. The airport is approximately 4 kilometres from the city. You can also book a taxi or hire a tuk-tuk for $5 to get there. For your convenience, we highly recommend a car rental.

Best time to visit Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang Weather

Luang Prabang Weather

The tropical monsoon climate of Luang Prabang has two distinct seasons:

  • Dry season: from November to April
  • Wet season: from May to October.

The best time to visit Luang Prabang is between November and March when the weather is pleasant and dry. It can also get crowded, particularly in January and during festivals, so plan ahead if you’re going during this time of year.

Best places to visit in Luang Prabang

Temples of Majesty

Wat Xieng Thong Temple- Luang Prabang- Laos

Wat Xieng Thong Temple- Luang Prabang- Laos

Luang Prabang has 34 active temples, all of which are beautifully gilded, giving the city a deeply spiritual feeling. They are referred to as Wats. Wat Xieng Thong, the most famous temple, was built in the 1500s and is one of the best places to visit in Luang Prabang. When visiting temples, make sure you understand the customs and proper etiquette.

Night Markets

Luang Prabang Night Market

Luang Prabang Night Market

South East Asia is famous for its markets, and Luang Prabang has one of the best in the region. They are in the town centre and are very vibrant, colourful, and lovely. Depending on the season, there are a wide variety of items for sale, ranging from simple wood carvings to ornate jewellery and trinkets.

River Mekong

Obama drinking coconut in Luang Prabang

Obama drinking coconut in Luang Prabang

Get a coconut from the stall outside Sunset View Restaurant along the Mekong River and drink like a president. When Obama rolled up his sleeves in Luang Prabang and treated himself to a sip of coconut milk in 2015, he became the first U.S. president to visit Laos and the only politician to look incredibly cool while hydrating.

Phou Si Mountain

Phou Si Mountain

Phou Si Mountain

Luang Prabang has a beautiful skyline, and Mount Phou Si is the best place to see it. It is located in the heart of the old town, making it very accessible, but getting to the top requires a bit of a hike. While the views are spectacular throughout the day, it is at sunset that the hill truly feels magical.

Royal Palace Museum

Royal Palace Museum - Luang Prabang

Royal Palace Museum – Luang Prabang

The complex is divided into three areas: the main palace and several other structures. The Royal Palace Museum houses a large collection of historical artefacts and items. Another structure in the complex is an ornate pavilion known for housing a standing Buddha statue called Prabang, after which the city is named.

Kuang Si Waterfall

Kuang Si waterfall- Laos

The falls are 23 kilometres from Luang Prabang and are a gorgeous mix of azure and turquoise, cascading in an entirely beautiful way.

Best food in Luang Prabang

Whole Barbecued Fish

Grilled fish

Grilled fish

The Mekong River is Luang Prabang’s main artery, and the region’s cuisine makes extensive use of the abundant fresh fish. River fish are marinated, salted, and grilled whole over coals on a skewer at the Sisavangvong Night Market. They’re smoky and lightly charred when served.

Jaew Bong

Jaew Bong

Jaew Bong

This sweet and savoury chilli paste is a regional delicacy that is served as a dipping sauce with everything from plain sticky rice to sausage. In Luang Prabang, it’s made with sundried chillies, galangal, garlic, and fish sauce, but the flavour comes from water buffalo skin. Vegetarians and those put off by the chewy morsels of buffalo fat should order jaew mak khua, a chili, eggplant, and herb-based alternative.

Lao Khao Soi

Khao Soi

Khao Soi

Laos’ national noodle dish features a tangy, minced pork and tomato mixture that is reminiscent of bolognese. Fermented soybeans, garlic, chillies, and shallots are mixed into the pork, which is then topped with bean sprouts, pork rind, scallions, and chopped cilantro. It is available at the majority of Luang Prabang’s restaurants and street food stalls.

Water Buffalo Sausage

Buffalo Sausage

Buffalo Sausage

Water buffalo sausage is sold on every street corner and is available on the menus of most restaurants. They have a chewier texture than beef, but the meat is sweeter and leaner. They are not for the faint of heart, as they can be extremely spicy, and are typically served sliced and grilled.

Khao jee Pâté

Khao jee Pâté

Khao jee Pâté

Khao Jee pâté is a popular sandwich in Thailand that is similar to Vietnamese Banh Mi. Fill a crusty French baguette with delectable meat, vegetables, and herbs, and you’ve got yourself a cheap breakfast or lunch. Carrots, scallions, mint, cilantro, and pâté are also used, and a smear of jaew bong adds a local flavour.

Travel Tips

  • Dress appropriately when visiting temples and mosques in Luang Prabang.
  • If you want to wear khakis, ensure they are long enough to cover your knees.
  • A hat or umbrella can protect you from the sun.
  • Apply sunscreen and moisturizer before leaving your hotel.
  • If you intend to explore on foot, prepare a good pair of shoes.

We hope the information in the article above is helpful to you. If you are interested in a trip, do not hesitate to contact us!