Things to see in and around Luang Prabang
There are many things to see and do in and around Luang Prabang. A visit of 3 days will allow you to explore the main highlights that the city has to offer, although a longer stay enables one to soak up more of the unique atmosphere that makes Luang Prabang so special.
Wat Xieng Thong and other temples
Luang Prabang is famous for its many exquisite temples, the finest example being Wat Xieng Thong. Most of the temples are located within the UNESCO old town and can conveniently be visited on a walking tour. Remember to take off your shoes before entering a temple.
Former Royal Palace Museum
Former home to the royal family of Laos, the Royal Palace Museum offers a fascinating insight into the lives of the old Laotian rulers. Built in 1904 using a blend of traditional Lao and French beaux-arts styles, the museum is also the home of the Pha Bang Buddha, the ancient and highly significant religious object from which the town takes it name.
Mount Phou Si
Climb the 329 steps to the top of Phou Si hill, located in the centre of the old town, for panoramic views over Luang Prabang and the surrounding countryside. A popular sunset point but also great in the morning.
Binthabat (Alms Giving Ceremony)
Rising at dawn to watch the procession of orange clad monks receiving alms from the local people is still one Asia's most memorable and quintessential travel experiences - make sure you don't miss it during your time in Luang Prabang.
Kuang Si and Sae Waterfalls
Accessible by tuk tuk, motorcycle or minivan, Luang Prabang's two waterfalls - Tat Kuang Si and Tat Sae - both make excellent half day excursions from the city. Kuang Si, the busier and more popular, also plays home to a refuge for bears rescued from poachers, while Sae is a quieter alternative where you can even sometimes have the falls to yourself.
Each evening the main street of Luang Prabang's old town is converted into a vibrant night market, selling locally made handicrafts from paintings to T-shirts, coffee, teas and spices to gorgeous textiles. Not to be missed!
Pak Ou Caves
Board a long-tailed boat for the two hour cruise up the mighty Mekong river to the Pak Ou Caves, two mysterious grottoes set into limestone cliffs and crammed with Buddhist statues. The return boat journey offers the chance to visit a number of riverside villages where such creations as rice whisky and hand woven fabrics are produced.