1. The Alms-giving Ceremony
Alms-giving Ceremony (Tak Bat) is a long-standing tradition in Buddhist culture in Laos. Beginning around the 14th century, people participating in the ceremony needed to wake up very early to prepare an alms meal for the monks. The ceremony takes place early in the morning from about 5:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m., so visitors need to prepare and get up early if they want to attend.
2. Explore Kuang Si Waterfall
Kuang Si Waterfall is a mesmerizing natural gem nestled in the lush wilderness just outside of Luang Prabang, Laos. With its multiple tiers of cascading turquoise water, serene pools for swimming, and pristine natural surroundings, it’s a captivating destination for those seeking a serene escape and a taste of Mother Nature’s beauty.
3. Take a cooking class
Discover the secrets of Lao cuisine by joining a cooking class and learning how to prepare traditional dishes. Most tours start with a market tour where you'll pick the best ingredients for your experience! I recommend a class at Khua Mordin Cooking Class.
4. See Wat Xieng Thong
Wat Xieng Thong or Xieng Thoong Temple is one of the oldest and most important temples of Luang Prabang City. The temple was built during the reign of King Setthathirat in 1559 - 1560. The name Wat Xieng Thong means "Temple of the Golden City".
5. Visit handicraft villages
You will have the opportunity to get closer to Lao culture by visiting craft villages. I highly recommend Lao Pottery House and Ock Pop Tok Textile Center. These are all sustainable tourism hotspots, not only giving you the opportunity to engage with local culture but also helping local people in terms of cultural and economic development.
6. Rice farming experience in The Living Land Farm
Living Land is where you can practice agricultural activities that provide insight into Lao agriculture. Built to recreate the lives of local people where the famous wet rice civilization developed, here you will experience traditional wet rice traditional farming practices: land preparation, sowing, and harvesting.
7. Explore the Buddha Caves
Pak Ou Cave attracts many tourists to visit because of more than 4,000 ancient Buddha statues dating back more than 300 years ago in all sizes and shapes. To get there, you have to take a boat up the Mekong, admiring the idyllic scenery along the river for about 2 hours.
8. Visit the Royal Palace Museum
Built in 1904 during the French colonial period, the royal palace was designed for King Sisavang Vong and his family. In 1975, the monarchy was overthrown by communists and the royal family was sent to a re-education camp. The palace was later converted into a national museum. The entrance fee is 30,000 LAK (approx. $1.5 USD). Be sure to dress conservatively and note that photography is not allowed
Luang Prabang has many accommodation options. Our recommended places to stay when you visit are:
1. Rosewood Luang Prabang (5-star Hotel)
2. Sofitel Luang Prabang Hotel (5-star Hotel)
3. Maison Dalabua (4-star Hotel)
4. Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum (4-star Hotel)
5. Souphattra Hotel Luang Prabang (4-star Hotel)
Luang Prabang is a small town and you can walk or bike anywhere. Transportation is only necessary when you are visiting locations outside of town or further afield
Bicycle – One of the eco-friendly means of transportation. There are many bikes rental shops throughout Luang Prabang. Your guesthouse or hostel may even have some available. The rental price is usually from 20,000 to 40,000 LAK ($0.9 - 1.9 USD) per day.
Motorcycles – For a motorbike rental, typically range from around 80,000 to 120,000 LAK per day ($3.9 – 5.8 USD). You can often negotiate a lower rate if you're renting for multiple days.
Tuk-tuk and Sawng Taews – Prices for Tuk-tuks and Sawng Taews may vary depending on factors such as distance and negotiation. Short trips within Luang Prabang town, like from your hotel to the city center or nearby attractions, can cost around 20,000 to 50,000 LAK (about $1 to $2.5 USD). For slightly longer distances, such as from Luang Prabang to Pak Ou Caves, you can expect to pay around 50,000 to 100,000 LAK (about $2.5 to $5 USD).
* Please note that these are approximate prices and you will need to negotiate the fare with the driver before starting your journey. Prices may vary depending on factors such as number of passengers, time of day, and your bargaining skills. You should clarify the price and destination with the driver before getting on the bus. Additionally, prices can change over time, so it's best to check with locals or your accommodation for the most up-to-date information during your visit.
The e-Bus – Luang Prabang has close to 15 e-Busses that follow three routes to provide an eco-friendly way to get around Luang Prabang. The price is quite affordable, typically around 15,000 to 20,000 LAK per person for a single journey (~$1 USD)
The best time to visit Luang Prabang, Laos is during the dry season, which usually lasts from November to March. This is when the area’s weather is consistently pleasant, cool, dry, and if you’re here primarily to do adventure activities, this kind of climate is perfect. The temperature never drops below 15°C (59°F), and the average daily temperature sits around 25°C (77°F). This is the busiest time of year as well, so you can expect higher prices and bigger crowds.
April to June is usually the hottest time of the year, with record temperatures reaching more than 40°C. The rainy season starts from July to September. This period often has heavy rains (especially in August) and can easily cause flooding. This will be difficult if you are exploring in rural or mountainous areas because the rain will make the ground muddy and difficult to move on. On the other hand, you can take advantage of fewer crowds and better accommodation prices if you don't mind the weather.
Luang Prabang is a fairly safe place to travel. However, it would help if you still be careful when coming here, especially with personal belongings, money, and expensive jewelry because pickpockets will be your biggest concern, especially at the night market. Therefore, always keep your valuables in an easily protected place.
Don't give money to child peddlers. Often these children are kept out of school so they can earn money in the streets. The moment you give money to a child, chances are there will be many other children surrounding you. Politely decline and move on.
Laos is stringent in punishing work related to drugs or the sex industry, so don't expose yourself to these troubles.
Save the phone numbers of hotel staff who can help you or emergency numbers in case of emergencies. 191 is the phone number to contact the police.
Travel insurance – the medical system in Laos isn't very good, therefore, if you get sick or injured during your travel here, you might need to be transferred to Thailand. Therefore, make sure your travel insurance is dependable in an unfortunate situation.
Flights – flights to Luang Prabang can fill up pretty quickly. Airlines usually encourage online booking so that you can make an early booking. Also, this way, you can make use of the many early bird offers available as well for advance bookings.
Visa – If you are from ASEAN and countries such as Mongolia, South Korea, and Russia, it is possible to visit Laos without a visa, the maximum allowed period of stay is 30 days. The remaining countries that are not included in the visa exemption policy need to apply for a visa before traveling to Laos. The e-visa fee can cost between $35 and $50. Visa on arrival is available for a few countries for 30 days at a cost of $40 per person.
Debit and credit cards – there are ATMs across the city from where you can withdraw cash. However, remember to confirm with your bank that you will be making transactions in Laos so that your card will not be blocked and deemed stolen.
Mobiles – bring a smartphone with you from home and purchase a 4 GSM local sim from the airport so that you can use that instead of collecting roaming fees. The connectivity may be very slow, so try to keep it for just basic usage like instant messaging and calls.
Power bank – if you have forgotten your charger, you could easily request one at the front office. Still, if your charge drops during a bus ride, you'll need a power bank for backup.
Keep it light – Laos is very hot and humid; therefore, light clothing is the best way to keep cool and comfortable. Bring shorts, loose t-shirts, and soft dresses. Also, since laundry services are readily available, not to mention, cheap, clothing for a minimum of 5 days should suffice.
Jackets – the country may be hot during the day, but it can get quite cool after dark, especially in the mountainous areas. If you are planning a trip between November and February, pack in some light jackets as well because this is the cooler season.
Footwear – it is best to stick to hiking shoes or sneakers when traveling in Laos. Some roads aren't in very good condition and footpaths might be quite rugged.
Hats and sunglasses – when it comes to protection from the sun and style, the best options are sun hats and sunglasses.
Small medical kit – band-aid, earplugs, hand sanitizer, antibacterial cream…
What a wonderful escape plan for you to do during your holiday! Just pack your luggage and we will take care of the rest of the journey!
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