Luang Prabang is the most famous city in Laos and one of the highlights of your trip to the country. Here you will find the 5 places you must visit when you are in Luang Prabang!
1. Mount Phousi
One of the most beautiful spots in Luang Prabang is by far Mount Phousi. This hill has a Buddhist temple on top from which you have great views on the city of Luang Prabang and the Mekong river. You will find more Buddhist temples walking to the top.
The nightmarket is not just a good place to buy souvenirs but you can also dine out for low prices. There are several of these eating markets in a small alley at the beginning of the market. These kind of eating spots are very primitive but the food is good and cheap. It is an all-you-can-eat food-fest for only 15.000LAK (about $1,8)
3. Kuang Si Waterfall
This waterfall is located about 45 minutes from the centre of Luang Prabang and is one of the most visited waterfalls in the area. The best way to get there is by tuk-tuk. You can rent one for 200.000LAK (about $24): the driver will take you to the waterfall, wait for a few hours while you go to the waterfall and take you back to Luang Prabang! The entrance fee is 20.000LAK (about $2,4). It is a 10 minute walk to the beginning of the waterfall where you can take a dip in the water. The source of the waterfall is a 20 minute walk up the stairs and a short swim of 200 metres!
4. Elephant rescue center
Near Luang Prabang there is an elephant rescue center where you can be a volunteer for a day (or a week, whatever you like). Of course you can just visit the centre without volunteering!
5. Butterfly garden
This garden is full of beautiful butterflies and is located not to far from the entrance of the Kuang Si Waterfall. You can easily visit the waterfall and the garden in one day. It is also possible to volunteer at the butterfly garden!
How to get to Luang Prabang?
From Vientiane (the capital city of Laos) and Vang Vieng (another tourist spot) there are many busses going to Luang Prabang. From Vang Vieng the price for the bus is about 90.000LAK (about $11). It is also possible to get to Luang Prabang from Thailand (Chiang Rai) by bus and boat (the trip by boat will take you 1,5 days, this is the more adventurous option).
Other destinations from Luang Prabang are Oudomxay (if you are traveling to Vietnam and want a stop along the way) and Hanoi. The busride to Hanoi will take about 26 hours. If you are not willing to spend 26 hours on a bus but you would like to travel to Vietnam then you can take the bus to Oudomxay and from there to Dien Bien Phu (just across the border in Vietnam). From this town there is a 6.30AM bus to Sapa but there are also busses to Hanoi!
Where to stay?
There are a lot of hotels and hostels. The hostel i stayed in is the LPQ hostel, a modern hostel just outside the centre. Luckily Luang Prabang is not too big and this hostel is not too far from the centre. The cheapest option is a bed in an dormitory (8 people) for only 40.000LAK (about $4,8) which is a normal price for a bed in Laos! This also includes breakfast. You can book a tuk-tuk to the Kuang Si Waterfall at the reception and buy your bustickets. The busstation is located far outside the centre so when buying your busticket at the hostel (or any other hostel or hotel) make sure you will get a free pick-up to the busstation.