Luang Prabang, Laos, doesn’t have as much foot-traffic as other Southeast Asian cities. That said, its calm streets, laid-back pace, and absolutely delicious food options make it a must-stop in any Asian adventure.
Think: days spent hiking mountains, drinking BeerLao, and slurping up noodles for breakfast.
Here’s how to spend a day in Luang Prabang, Laos
1. Watch the sunrise at Phou Si
On your first morning in Luang Prabang, check out the sunrise at Phou Si Mountain. The mountain is smack-dab in the center of the city — with a climb to the top of no more than 15 minutes. Once up there, you have to pay 10,000 kip at the temple, but it’s a teensy price for the glowing view.
2. Try out some Laos snacks
Some of our favourite snacks including Mung bean cake, noodle rolls, Khao piak sen, and grilled beehive. Everything’s about 5,000 kip, which is a little over 50 cents USD.
The Luang Prabang morning market should be in full-swing post-sunrise, located just off of Sisavangvong Road, in the roads surrounding the temple of Wat Mai.
3. Hike at Kuang Si Waterfalls
After a brief nosh, head about a half-hour away from the city for a hike at Kuang Si — a glittering, sea-foam green multi-levelled waterfall. After hiking to the top, find a little blissful pond, with a tree swing hanging over the top. It’s like a hike up to heaven.
4. Hit up the Luang Prabang Night Market
Every single evening, Sisavangvong Road jumps into night market-mode, closing itself off to cars, and setting up little stalls of jewelry, bags, and higher-quality souvenirs than you’d normally get in Thailand or Vietnam.
Also, the Night Market has one of the best all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffets, for just 15,000 kip. Load up, and then load up again. Eating has never been this cheap, nor this delicious.
5. Finish the day at Utopia Bar
Regardless of where you end up at the end of the day, you’re probably going to do it with a BeerLao in your hand. Why not drink it at the most iconic Luang Prabang bar of all — Utopia — which is tucked through back alleyways, and rests along the edge of the river.
The music bumps; the crowd is filled with travellers from around the world, eager to meet and mingle. They’re waiting for you.