Luang Prabang, Laos Travel Guide: Best Things To Do & See 2023

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Luang Prabang is a city steeped in history and culture. Once the capital of the Kingdom of Laos, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular destination for travelers worldwide. Luang Prabang is known for its many ornate temples, delicious food, and friendly people. With its blend of traditional Laos culture and French colonial influences, Luang Prabang is a truly unique place to visit. Here is Luang Prabang travel guide 2023: Best things to do & see.

You can explore more tours from FTrip: Laos Holiday Packages

Best things to do & see in Luang Prabang

The Alms Giving Ceremony

The Alms Giving Ceremony – Tak Bat: Early in the morning, when the sun rises, the monks will go to Sakkaline Road to alm of food from villagers and tourists. You can find a way to alm by looking for places where there are stools and panniers. This is one of the popular things in the Luang Prabang travel guide; many people line them every morning. Since this is a religious ceremony, be mindful of taking photos. Especially do not bring the camera close to the face of the monks, as it is an act of disrespect.

Wat Xieng Thong

Wat Xieng Thong is an ancient temple in the north of the city. It was built in the 16th century and housed many precious works of art, such as wall paintings and sculptures. 

Luang Prabang Night Market

Night Market is a destination not to be missed when visiting Luang Prabang. This is a great night market with stalls selling handicrafts, clothing, and local specialties. The unique thing about this night market is that you can bargain the price and buy many unique gifts as souvenirs.

Go to famous temples

Luang Prabang is one of the great destinations to visit the famous temples of Laos. These temples all have unique architecture and hold admirable works of art.

Go to famous temples

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Explore the Buddha Caves

25 km away from the city is a set of caves, Tham Ting and Tham Theung, collectively called the Pak Ou Caves, or Buddha Caves. They received this name because of hundreds of miniature figures of the Buddha in various poses – standing, reclining, meditating, teaching, walking – all laid out on shelves within the caves.

Go to famous temples

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Visit the Royal Palace

The Royal Palace of Luang Prabang is a relatively recent construction built in 1904 and was occupied only until 1975 when the monarchy was overthrown. Today, the palace is a national museum and an example of blending traditional Lao architecture and Beaux-Arts style. Visitors can see royal objects on display, including the Pha Bang (a statue of the Buddha signifying the right of kings to rule Lao), the Crown Jewels, in addition to gifts both from fellow socialist as well as capitalist countries. 

Address: 27 Ounheun Rd, Luang Prabang, Laos

Visit the Royal Palace

Read more: Wat Si Saket – The Temple With The Most Ancient Statues In Vientiane – Laos

Climb Mount Phousi

Conquering the 328-step staircase and reaching the top of this mountain will net you the ultimate reward: a magnificent view of the surrounding lands and the majestic Mekong River, bathed in the golden dawn or scarlet sunset. The Phousi mountain is home to not one but two temples: Wat Chom Si at the top with its golden stupa, and Wat Tham Phou Si halfway up the hill.

Climb Mount Phousi

See the sunset along the Mekong River

River cruises are available for tourists wishing to ford the waters of this stunning river, which begins in China, then flows through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia, before finally exiting into Vietnamese seas. These trips offer travelers the opportunity to gaze upon the mountains and rural landscapes, all while surrounded by a lavish, comfortable cruise, and being served delightful food and drinks

Read more: The Temples – Pha That Luang, The National Symbol Of Laos

See the sunset along the Mekong River

Trek to the Kuang Si Falls

This three-tiered waterfall is an excellent travel stop on scorching days. You can get here by group tours or hire your tuk-tuk. Although some are closed as sacred sites, most of its turquoise pools are open for swimming. The water is quite cold, though, so it’s advised to at least bring a towel to dry yourself off if you can’t swim after all. An admission charge of 20,000 kips helps the management keep the walkways and bridges in good condition and the location accessible. 

Trek to the Kuang Si Falls

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General information about Luang Prabang

Located in central Laos, Luang Prabang is considered one of the most beautiful in Southeast Asia, and this reputation is well-earned. Luang Prabang is also recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage

With the unique architecture of ancient temples and pagodas, beautiful small streets, and friendly people, Luang Prabang attracts visitors worldwide. It is the perfect place to explore Laos’ culture and history and enjoy peaceful holidays amidst beautiful natural landscapes.

Read more: Siem Reap things to do

Top Luang Prabang tourist attractions

Luang Prabang is famous for its countless attractions that attract tourists from all over the world. Here are some top Luang Prabang tourist attractions:

  • Kuang Si Waterfall: Is a beautiful waterfall about 30 km northwest of Luang Prabang. It has clear and cool water, creating a quiet and relaxing space. Visitors can cool off, dip in the water pool or climb to the top of the waterfall to admire the panoramic view.
  • Phousi Mountain: Located in the center of Luang Prabang, this small mountain is famous for its beautiful sunset view. Visitors can stop at rest stops up the mountain to admire the city from above.
  • Wat Mai: is one of the oldest and most famous temples in Luang Prabang. It was built in the late 18th century and is one of the oldest and largest temples in the city.

Read more: 12 Famous Temples in Luang Prabang

Top Luang Prabang tourist attractions
  • Kuang Si Butterfly Park: Located outside the city, Kuang Si Butterfly Park owns a large landscaped garden. This net-covered garden is full of different varieties of orchids and a multitude of butterflies exist. Kuang Si Butterfly Park opened in 2014 and inside has a small European-style bakery, a natural fish spa. Visitors can reach the park by taxi and buy an entrance ticket of about 40,000 LAK.
  • Laos cooking class: There are several cooking classes in Laos that visitors can take. You will learn to cook simple and popular dishes like Laap (salad and minced meat) or Mok Pa (steamed fish). The chef here will interact as well as have interesting instructions for you. Of course, a cooking class usually starts with going to the market, practicing cooking and enjoying the food they have made. The cost will vary depending on the cooking class you choose, but most will range from 250,000 LAK to 400,000 LAK/per class.
  • Nong Khiaw village: The village of Nong Khiaw is just a few hours from Luang Prabang city. This village is surrounded by towering limestone cliffs. This terrain is a great spot for experienced climbers. Besides, Nong Khiaw village also has trails leading to nearby caves and waterfalls. The trek to the top of Phadeng is the most popular one here. It will take visitors nearly 2 hours to climb to the top and see the clouds and the distant mountains. To get to Nong Khiaw village, you can take a bus which costs around 40,000 LAK – 65,000 LAK. In addition, visitors should spend about 1-2 days enjoying the beautiful scenery here.
  • Cycling tour in Laos: If you want to go somewhere to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, try a day cycling tour. Visitors will have a journey around the countryside to discover local life when visiting small villages such as Ban Nakham, Ban Jannuau. In addition to visiting the scenery, you can shop around this area. Most of these day cycling tours in Laos will cost around 500,000 LAK.
  • Tad Sae Waterfalls: Tad Sae waterfall is not as big as Kuang Si waterfall. This is one of the Waterfalls in Laos extremely beautiful and worth seeing with your own eyes. Tad Sae is 15km from Luang Prabang city and visitors can bring their swimsuits and bathe at this waterfall. Besides, there is an elephant riding activity nearby, but hopefully, you won’t join. Because this is a tourist activity that is abusive and cruel to elephants here. Visitors can go by boat to Tad Sae waterfall for about 10,000 LAK and the entrance fee is about 15,000 LAK/per person.
Top Luang Prabang tourist attractions

Food & drink must-try in Luang Prabang

If you’re visiting Luang Prabang, be sure to try some of the following dishes and beverages in the Luang Prabang travel guide:

  • Khao soi: a coconut curry soup served with hand-cut egg or rice noodles and chicken.
  • Laab: a minced meat salad that is often made with pork or chicken. It is intended to be eaten raw, but you can ask for it to be cooked. 
  • Tam khanun: a salad made from pounded jackfruit with spices, creating a unique flavor profile that is simultaneously salty, sweet, spicy, and sour.
  • Sticky rice: Glutinous white rice is often served with Lao dishes.
  • Beerlao: the national beer of Laos, which is available in both light and dark varieties.

Read more: Vientiane Food: The 8 Best Food You Must Try Before You Leave

Food & drink must-try in Luang Prabang

How to get to Luang Prabang

There are many popular means of transportation, such as planes, buses, trains, or car shuttles from nearby cities to get to Luang Prabang.

Luang Prabang International Airport has located about 4km from the city center. You can use the hotel’s taxi or shuttle service to get around. If coming from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, you can choose to fly to Luang Prabang airport through airlines such as Vietnam Airlines, Lao Airlines, or AirAsia. Going by bus is also quite popular and economical; from Vientiane or Chiang Mai, you can buy bus tickets at bus stations or travel agencies.

How to get to Luang Prabang

You can start by visiting Wat Xieng Thong, an ancient temple from the 16th century. After that, you can visit Wat Mai, another temple with a distinctive and centrally located architecture City. If you have time, you should also visit Wat Visoun and Wat Sene to experience more of the beauty of traditional Lao culture.

Luang Prabang travel guide: Cost

There are 2 popular options for accommodation in Luang Prabang:

  • Hostels: A few excellent hostels may be found in Luang Prabang (and a lot of them are not, so be aware when you book. A dormitory bed costs about 75,000 LAK (4.34 USD) per night. Starting at 115,000 LAK (6.65 USD) are private rooms. Free Wi-Fi is offered, and many hostels offer free breakfast as well. However, not all hostels have kitchens.
  • Budget hotel prices are often between LAK 400,000 LAK (2.32 USD) and 900.000 LAK (52 USD) per night unless you’re staying outside of the city. A two or three-star hotel will cost you more than LAK 1,000,000 (58 USD) each night. As a result, you should use hostels rather than online booking services.

Foods: Similar to its neighbors Vietnam and Cambodia, Laos is the nation that consumes the most sticky rice globally. Additionally, one of the most well-liked foods in Laos is pho.

Green papaya salad and Laap, sometimes known as larb, are other well-known staples (a minced-meat salad that is the national dish, usually featuring fermented fish). Chicken, hog, and duck are some of the most well-liked grilled meats.

Beer in Luang Prabang is very cheap, about 14000 LAK (0.81USD). For coffee drinks like cappuccino or latte, it’s about 30000 LAK (1.73 USD).

If you want to eat spicy papaya salad, grilled meat or grilled chicken, visit the night market in Luang Prabang. The food at the night market is usually much cheaper (under 22000 LAK – 1.27 USD) and the cuisine is more diverse

Best time to visit Luang Prabang

The best time to visit Luang Prabang is in the dry season, which runs from October to April. This is when the weather is at its best, with clear skies and warm temperatures. It’s also the busiest time of year, so you’ll need to book your accommodation and activities in advance. If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, consider visiting in the wet season (May to September). The weather is still pleasant at this time of year, but there are fewer tourists and you may be able to get better deals on accommodation and activities.

Read more: Best Time To Visit Laos

Luang Prabang Travel Guide: How to save money

The cost of going to Luang Prabang will be very cheap if you know how to cut costs. However, eating street food, staying in a hostel, not drinking a lot of alcohol will be a challenge for you. Here are a few ways to save your money while traveling in Luang Prabang travel guide:

  • Traveling out of season: The peak tourist season is likely to last from October to March. If visitors come to Luang Prabang from April to September, the cost will be lower, especially for accommodation. Although this is the rainy season, the rainfall is quite small and not continuous.
  • Bicycle rental: Although public transport in Luang Prabang is not too expensive. However, visitors can still rent a bicycle to ride for a few days, cycling around the city at the speed they want. You can rent bicycles in Luang Prabang for around 15,000 LAK per day.
  • Local food: Find out what the locals usually eat. This is one way to save money because Western restaurants tend to be more expensive than those that cook traditional food.
  • Limit alcohol intake: Limiting alcohol consumption is one of the best ways to cut costs. It will be difficult for you to control the amount of alcohol you drink and the price will increase with that amount.
  • Admire natural scenery: Visitors can completely walk, admire the natural landscapes in Luang Prabang, watch the sunset on the river,… All for free, both having an enjoyable experience and saving budget for you.
  • Bring your water bottle: Tap water in Luang Prabang city is quite safe to drink. Visitors can both save costs and protect the environment by reducing the use of plastic bottles. If possible, use a water bottle with a built-in filter to ensure that the drinking water is always clean and safe.

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Luang Prabang travel guide: How to save money

Luang Prabang travel guide: How to get around

Luang Prabang’s lack of a public transport system means you have to take care of your transportation. The city center can be navigated on foot. If you need to travel further, here are your options:

  • Bike rentals: This is an accessible option for people with the physical ability or the driving license to operate a bike. Motorbikes and bicycles for rent can be found lined up on the streets almost around the corner everywhere.
  • Tuk-Tuk: Exercise your haggling skills. The drivers for these special cars will hike up the price for tourists; they are both unique and the best way to travel, as “traditional” taxis are almost inexistent here. The best option is to hire a tuk-tuk for the entire day, with prices starting at 100,000 kips. 
Luang Prabang travel guide: How to get around

Luang Prabang travel guide: Where to stay

When it comes to accommodation, there are a few different options to choose from. You can stay in a hotel, a guesthouse, or a hostel. Hostels are usually the cheapest option, but they also tend to be the most basic. Guesthouses are a step up from hostels, offering more amenities and usually a more comfortable stay. Hotels are the most expensive option, but they also offer the most amenities and the best level of comfort. When deciding where to stay in Luang Prabang, it is important to consider your budget and what you are looking for in terms of comfort and amenities.

Luang Prabang travel guide: Where to stay

Suggested Budgets for Backpacking Luang Prabang

  • With a budget of around 300,000 LAK/day for backpackers. Meals can buy street food, sometimes buy drinks, stay in the dormitory. In addition, you can also rent bicycles to move around and visit affordable places like the Royal Palace. If costs are incurred, only add about LAK 20,000 to LAK 30,000 to the budget per day.
  • For a mid-range budget of around 700,000 LAK/day. You can go to a restaurant, have a drink, stay at a hotel, or book an Airbnb. Besides, you can rent a motorbike to move, join a cooking class, or admire the Kaung Si waterfall.
  • Finally, for luxury budgets of around 2,000,000 or more/per day. Guests can comfortably dine in luxury restaurants, drink whatever they want, stay in high-class hotels. You can rent a taxi, or motorbike and participate in activities, or visit any place.

Note that this is only an average daily cost. Depending on how you spend and your travel style, the cost can be more or less per day. The factors mentioned above are just some general suggestions on how to budget for you and LAK pricing.

Average Daily CostFood/DrinkTransportationAccommodationAttractions
Backpacker Budget~ 300.000 LAK/day~ 80.000 LAK~ 50.000 LAK~ 100.000 LAK~ 70.000 LAK
Mid-range Budget~ 700,000 LAK/day~ 250.000 LAK~ 70.000 LAK~ 175.000 LAK~ 200.000 LAK
Luxury Budget~ 2,000,000 LAK
or more/day
~ 650.000 LAK~ 300.000 LAK~ 600.000 LAK~ 350.000 LAK

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What to pack for Luang Prabang

To make your trip to Luang Prabang easier, here are suggestions for what to prepare in your packing on 3 days:

Packing for Men


  • 1 pair of jeans or kaki
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 3 T-shirts 
  • 6 pairs of socks 
  • 1 pair of sneakers
  • 1 toothbrush
  • 1 tube of toothpaste
  • 1 razor
  • 1 package of dental floss
  • 1 small bottle of shampoo
  • 1 small bottle of shower gel
  • 1 towel

Small Medical Kit (It is really important)

  • Band-Aids
  • Antibacterial cream
  • Tylenol
  • Hand sanitizer 
  • Allergy medicine

Others things:

  • Zip-lock bags (keeps things from leaking or exploding)
  • Plastic bags (great for laundry)
  • Universal charger/adaptor (this applies to everyone)
  • LifeStraw (A water bottle with a purifier)

Packing for Woman


  • 1 swimsuit
  • 1 sarong
  • 2 pairs of stretchy jeans (they wash and dry easily)
  • 2pair of leggings (if the weather’s cold)
  • 2-3 long-sleeve tops
  • 2-3 T-shirts
  • 1 light cardigan


  • 1 dry shampoo spray & talc powder 
  • Hairbrush
  • The makeup you use (But you should you small kit)
  • Feminine hygiene products 

In addition, the medical kit is an indispensable item

Shopping in Luang Prabang

The city is a great place to shop, with many markets, stores, and malls to explore. If you’re looking for souvenirs, you can find everything from traditional Laos textiles to handmade jewelry at the Luang Prabang Night Market. Antique lovers and history aficionados can visit Pathana Boupha Antique House, where you may walk away with a souvenir of your time in Luang Prabang and interesting anecdotes and new information courtesy of the friendly and knowledgeable owner. Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts Centre offers demonstrations, workshops, and opportunities to purchase local fabrics such as silk and batik. For more everyday items, there are plenty of supermarkets and department stores. 

Some tips for a safe stay in Luang Prabang

  • Luang Prabang is considered a pretty safe place to visit and backpack. However, the problem that you need to pay attention to is pickpocketing, especially in the night market areas. You must keep valuables within sight at all times. Especially visitors absolutely must always keep their passport or passport copy carefully, otherwise, they may be fined.
  • Visitors should not give money to street vendors. This is not how you help them because these kids don’t go to school and have to earn money on the street. If you give money to one child, there will be many other children surrounding you immediately. The best way is to politely decline and continue your tour.
  • If you are a solo female traveler and feel quite safe when coming to Luang Prabang. Even so, you still must take safety and precautions wherever you are. For example, don’t take your eyes off your drink, don’t walk alone at night, especially in a drunken state, etc. To learn some more tips and advice, you can follow the blog or watch the video of solo female travelers just like you.
  • Call 191 if you have an emergency and need to contact the police in Luang Prabang.
  • Always trust your instincts and intuition. Personal papers and documents including IDs and passports can be copied in case of necessity.
  • The most important note is that before you travel, buy the best travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you comprehensively in cases such as injury, illness, theft, etc. Visitors can learn more from reputable sources about utilities as well as policies suitable for travel own travel purposes.
  • When you come across scenes of someone in trouble in Luang Prabang. Most of them will be involved in certain criminal activities. Laos is very strict about penalties so hopefully, you will have nothing to do with them.
  • Be careful of people who intend to give you injections or give you medicine. These actions will involve fraud and the police will arrest you unless you can offer a bribe. To learn more about these scams, read more articles on common travel scams to avoid.

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FAQs about Luang Prabang travel guide

How many days does it take to experience Luang Prabang?

Plan to stay in this northern Laos location for at least five days to fully enjoy Luang Prabang and its surroundings.

Where do I go after Luang Prabang?

You can go plain of Jars, Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Thakhek Loop (via Vientiane), Champasak (via Pakse), Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hanoi (Vietnam),… after Luang Prabang

How long to spend in Luang Prabang?

3 days in Luang Prabang is the minimum time you should spend there, but you could easily spend more time if you wanted. But we’ll review this Luang Prabang itinerary as if you’re only here for three days, with some optional extras.

How much is the slow boat to Luang Prabang?

The cost of your boat (when complete, six people per boat) to Pakbeng is 190,000 kip and 320,000 kip to Luang Prabang.

Luang Prabang travel guide provided you with a lot of interesting information about the royal capital of Laos. With its laid-back atmosphere and friendly locals, Luang Prabang is the perfect place to escape city life. Its many restaurants, cafes, and bars will ensure you’ll never go hungry or thirsty. So whether you’re looking to explore the city’s history and culture or want to relax and enjoy the good life, be sure to add Luang Prabang to your travel list.

Read more: Hanoi Travel Guide | Vietnam Travel Guide

Reviewed by

Diep Van

Phone: +84901166884


Diep Van

Founder & Photography Guide

Specialties: Culture, landscape, portrait, hiking, active and adventurous tour

Besides my unlimited passion for traveling, a professional tour guide for over a decade, I have been taking photographs since sitting at Hanoi of the University of Culture in the early 2000s. Photography started as a hobby but it was seriously taken due to my work relations and my significant passion for the beauty of our world, especially in Southeast Asian parts such as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

Within a few years of taking photographs, my works began to be recognized by many reliable international publications such as AFAR Travel, The Times, and The Daily Telegraph newspaper. In addition, I continuously add to my growing profile by winning numerous major awards: 3rd Position of The Independent Photographer 2018, 1st Position of Amateur Photographer of the year 2018, Grand Prize Winner of the AFAR Travel Photography 2019, and a Gold Award of San Francisco Bay International Photography 2020.

I photograph a wide variety of subjects, from travel to landscapes to street scenes. I enjoy documenting the East’s rich cultural heritage and its land soaked in glorious sunrise or sunset light in remote and secluded spots. And, I am very happy to share my knowledge and experience with you. You can visit Luminousvietnamtour to explore tour!

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