Luang Prabang is an alluring, ancient city in the mountainous region of north-central Laos. The city is famous for its extremely well-preserved historic architecture and cultural heritage. Luang Prabang is known for its numerous Buddist temples and monasteries, excellent food scene, natural and historical sites. Discover the Top 10 Things To Do in Luang Prabang, as well as the best restaurants and hotels in town!
About Luang Prabang
- Luang Prabang is situated in the mountainous region of north-central Laos. The city is located on a peninsula formed by the Mekong River and the Nam Khan River. The nearby mountain ranges include the Phou Thao and Phou Nang mountains.
- Luang Prabang is famous for its rich architectural and cultural heritage. The city combines two distinctively different architectural and cultural styles: traditional Lao architecture and the French colonial architecture from the 19th and 20th centuries.
- The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Luang Prabang is known for its numerous Buddist temples and monasteries.
- Laos used to be called a Land of A Million Elephants. A Lao empire known as Lan Xang (translated as “a land of a million elephants” into English) existed for over 3 centuries as one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia (from 1354 to 1707).
10 Best Things To Do in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang is famous for its well-preserved architectural sites that combine traditional Tao structures with French colonial influences. The area around Luang Prabang is also known for several stunning natural sites, including waterfalls and elephant sanctuaries. Luang Prabang is also famous for its many excellent restaurants that combine European and Lao food traditions.
Discover the 10 Best Things To Do in Luang Prabang, Laos, as well as the best restaurants and best hotels!
1. Mount Phou Si
Mount Phou Si is a 100-meter hill in the old town of Luang Prabang. A Buddist temple, Wat Chom Si, is located on top of the hill, offering fantastic panoramic views of the city, the Mekong River, the Nam Khan River, and the surrounding area. It’s a great place to watch the sunset over the Mekong River. Another Buddist temple, Wat Tham Phou Si, is located halfway up the hill.
2. Haw Kham Royal Palace Museum
The Royal Palace was built in 1904 during the French Colonial times for the King of the Kingdom of Luang Prabang. The palace represents a mix of traditional Lao influences and French Beaux-Arts style. Currently, the palace serves as a national museum.
3. Haw Pha Bang, Royal Temple
Haw Pha Bang is a Royal Temple located on the grounds of the Royal Palace complex on Sisavangvong road.
4. Wat Xieng Thong
Wat Xieng Thong is a Buddist temple built in 1559. It’s one of the most famous religious monuments in Laos. The temple is located on the northern tip of Luang Prabang, where the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers join. Wat Xieng Thong represents one of the most complex structures of all the pagodas in Luang Prabang.
5. Vat Sensoukharam Temple
Vat Sensoukharam is one of the most beautiful Buddist temples in Luang Prabang. Vat Sensoukharam means a temple of 100,000 treasures, as the temple was built in 1718 by king Kitsarath using 100,000 stones from the Mekong River.
6. Watch monks collect alms
Each morning, at sunrise, the monks from the monasteries walk through the streets of Luang Prabang collecting alms. Wake up early enough to witness this unique cultural event.
7. Luang Prabang Night Market
The Night Market is located at the end of the main street of Luang Prabang. The market sells a variety of items, including food, bracelets, textiles, clothing, and numerous souvenirs.
8. Local Shops
Luang Prabang has numerous local shops selling unique jewelry, mini statues, ethnic clothing, and various souvenirs.
9. The Mekong River
As you walk through Luang Prabang, enjoy the views of the Mekong River from the riverbanks or relax at little cafes situated along the river.
10. Elephant Village Sanctuary and Resort
Elephant Village Sanctuary and Resort is one of the best places to experience interaction with the elephants in Laos. This village was founded to rescue elephants from the logging industry. Many elephants at the village are old or injured and are properly cared for at the village. This is not a touristy place where you will ride on top of the animals. At this sanctuary, there is an option to ride the elephants but not on a howdah (a seat on the back of the elephant used to carry people). The sanctuary does not use elephant seats (howdah). At the village, you’ll be able to watch the elephants roam in the wild, feed them, and interact with them.
Luang Prabang is known for its wonderful food and many great restaurants. The cuisine combines Lao dishes with French influences. Below are some of the best restaurants in Luang Prabang.
L’Elephant Restaurant is a French restaurant in Luang Prabang, Laos. It’s one of the best and most popular places to eat in town. The restaurant menu combines the traditional French dishes with Southeast Asian influences. On the menu, you will find excellent French food combined with typical Laos dishes, using ingredients such as buffalo meat, fish, coconut milk and spices (coriander, ginger, lemongrass, etc.).
Blue Lagoon Restaurant
Blue Lagoon Restaurant in Luang Prabang fuses Swiss cuisine with Laos influences. The dishes combine European food traditions and Laos flavors. The menu choices are unique and the food is excellent! This welcoming restaurant is beautifully designed with a wonderful outdoor seating area.
If you’re looking for authentic Lao cuisine, visit Tamarind Restaurant in Luang Prabang! This excellent restaurant serves traditional Lao dishes cooked to perfection and beautifully presented. The menu is extensive with lots of choices. This is the restaurant that you will want to visit more than once to try many traditional Lao dishes.
Where to Stay in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang has numerous hotels and guesthouses. Two hotels particularly stand out: Victoria Xiengthong Palace and Kiridara Hotel Luang Prabang.
Victoria Xiengthong Palace is located in the center of Luang Prabang. Kiridara Hotel Luang Prabang is located in a quiet and serene area on a hillside in Luang Prabang in close proximity both to the Luang Prabang center and the Luang Prabang airport.
Victoria Xiengthong Palace
Victoria Xiengthong Palace is strategically located in the center of Luang Prabang within walking distance to all the sights of interest. This historic hotel used to be the last residence of the Laos Royal family.
Kiridara Hotel Luang Prabang
Kiridara Hotel is set in a beautiful, quiet area of Luang Prabang, Laos. This elegant boutique hotel is located on a hillside in Luang Prabang, providing great, panoramic views of the surrounding areas. You will be in close proximity both to the Luang Prabang center and the Luang Prabang airport, yet the hotel is in a quiet and serene area. Kiridara Hotel Luang Prabang is perfect for relaxing and getting away from the crowds.