We spent over a week in Luang Prabang during our trip to Laos, but most of this time was spent catching up with our blog. It’s a great base in Laos for working: Wi-Fi works quite well and is a little bit cheaper than Vientiane.
To make the most of this beautiful city, you should try to dedicate 4 days for it. We've put together a 4 days detailed itinerary to Luang Prabang which will allow you to hit the main sights and attractions. If you're tight with time, you could do it in 3 days but keep in mind that there will be very little time for relaxation…
Advice for LGBTQ travellers to Luang Prabang
Laos is generally a gay friendly country to visit. The Laotians are very welcoming and curious towards all foreigners, particularly in Luang Prabang, which is the most touristic place in the country. The guesthouse we stayed at knew we were a gay couple and had no qualms about us sharing a double bed. Be sure to check out Lao Lao Gardens which is the heart of the LGBTQ community of Luang Prabang, owned by our dear friend Somphorn who sadly passed away from a battle with liver cancer. You can read Somphorn's story in our interview with him about gay life in Laos.
Day 1: visit the Kuang Si Falls
- The Kuang Si Falls were the highlight of our stay in Luang Prabang. This is a series of waterfalls around 23km from the town centre.
- You can swim and dive at the waterfall made even more special by the surrounding jungle and the young monks who join in:
- The Kuang Si Falls are located around 45 minutes tuk tuk ride away and a round trip costs around 200,000 kips (around £17 / $25).
- The cost can be split between a group of people.
- The tuk tuk driver will wait there for you.
- You can also arrange minivans to take you to the Kuang Si Falls via travel agencies (upwards of 60,000 kips (£5 / $7) per person, but you have to wait for a particular time before they depart and departure time from the falls is set, minimising your time there.
- Entrance fee at the Kuang Si Falls is 20,000 kips (around £1.60 / $2.50) and it is open from 9am.
- There are places in the nearby village to eat an inexpensive lunch or take a packed lunch.
- The bear rescue park you pass along the way is really nice to stop and visit and it is included in the entrance fee.
- At the Kuang Si Falls, you can also visit the Butterfly Park, which is around 300m before the entry to the waterfalls. Entry to the park is 30,000 kips (around £2.50 / $3.70).
- For dinner, head out to try some of the excellent street food of Luang Prabang at the night market.
Day 2: harvest rice at the Living Land Farm
- Sticky rice is one of the most distinctive things about Laos. One of the unique facts about Laos is that they are the highest consumers of sticky rice in the world.
- We recommend taking a 1 day tour at the excellent Living Land Farm to learn how rice is harvested in 13 stages and also gain a deeper insight into the Laotian agricultural life.
- The best part of this tour is that you eat the rice produce for lunch, which includes the yummy sweet rice wine!
- The tour at the Living Land Farm costs 344,000 kips (around £28 / $42) per person and they pick you up and return you to your hotel.
- The farm is around 20 minutes drive from the city centre.
- An evening spent at the night market and street food dinner can never be repeated too many times in our opinion!
Day 3: sightseeing in Luang Prabang
- One day should be set aside for general sightseeing in this UNESCO city.
- The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre was our favourite museum in Luang Prabang where you gain an insight into all the different ethnicities of Laos:
- The entrance fee is 25,000 kips (£2 / $3) per person and opening hours are 9am-6pm, Tuesdays to Sundays.
- Although a small museum, it is extremely interesting. The highlight was the documentaries you can watch about various aspects of Laotian village life.
- We spent hours there and think it’s one of the best ways to get a feel for Laos.
- The Haw Kham is the former royal palace and now a museum. Entrance is 30,000 kips (around £2.50 / $4), Wednesdays to Mondays. It gets very busy here, so come as early as you can to avoid the crowds.
- Lunch can be taken at the nearby night market, which during the day has numerous colourful stalls each selling a variety of yummy baguette sandwiches (from around 10,000 kips (£83p / $1) as well as a variety of fruit juice and iced coffee.
- A visit to the UXO Laos Visitor Centre (or its equivalent COPE Centre in Vientiane) is harrowing but important to learn about all the many unexploded bombs in Laos and how the population live with it.
- The entrance is free (donations are welcome) and it is open 8-11:45am and 2-4pm Monday to Fridays.
- The small hike up the Phou Si / Chomsy Hill near the night market is worthwhile for the beautiful views over the city, particularly at sunset. The entrance fee is 20,000 kips (around £1.70 / $2.50) per person.
- For dinner, if you're fed up with street food, check out the excellent (and very gay friendly) Lao Lao Garden and try their delicious buffalo Or Lahm stew.
- We buddied up with the charismatic owner called Somphorn, who told us about gay life in Laos.
Day 4: Cooking course
- We did a cooking course with the Tamarind Cooking School and learnt to make the Laotian staples of sticky rice, laap, jeow pastes and a few other yummy prizes.
- This coursre is incredibly popular and gets booked up really quickly, so we advise booking as soon as you arrive in Luang Prabang to avoid disappointment.
- We paid 285,000 kips (around £24 / $35) per person and the food you prepare you eat for lunch. This also included a tour of the local market.
- The afternoon is best spent relaxing at the swimming pools of La Pistoche at Ban Phong Pheng Village (open 10am to 10pm, entrance: 30,000 kips – £2.50 / $3.70).
- For dinner, another favourite restaurant we recommend is the highly rated Phang Luang who do excellent pizzas. It is located across the river via the Southern bamboo bridge.
- A final walk through the night market for some souvenirs to take home is a nice way to burn off the day’s large food intake!
Happy travels are safe travels
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