Luang Prabang, Laos has so many incredible things to see and do – whether you’re interested in communing with nature, learning more about local culture, walking through beautiful temples, or shopping for tasty treats and souvenirs. Dozens of temples fill the town and orange-robed monks wander about the tree-lined streets. Colonial buildings, colorful markets, great caves, and cascading waterfalls are all waiting to be explored in Luang Prabang. The ancient city in the north of the country is a delightful mix of exquisite temples and French colonial buildings – and a great place for cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops.
Day 1/ Walking through the beautiful temple, shopping for tasty treats.
Morning: Make Merit & Breakfast in downtown
Each morning at dawn orange robes fills the streets of Luang Prabang as the monks walk single file through the street collecting alms. Monks are only allowed to eat what is provided for them through the almsgiving in the morning or what family provides for them. They only eat twice a day and the alms provide much-needed sustenance while giving Buddhists an opportunity to earn merit, much the same way Catholics might recite several “Hail Mary’s” for their sins. It is a beautiful ritual to observe even if many tourists have taken to collecting merits for themselves as well.
At least one benefit to French colonialism is the wonderful French food available throughout Luang Prabang. After giving alms to the monks it’s time for you to enjoy hot chocolate and pastry. Head to the Silk Road Cafe Luang Prabang.
Lao culture, especially its textiles and cuisine, are linked to the ancient silk trading routes known as the Silk Road. Their menu is inspired by traditional Lao cuisine, as well as flavors and ingredients from countries traversed by caravans and traders carrying silks and spices. Using fresh, organic ingredients, Chef Keo creates dishes that are both healthy and delicious. Let order Lao Breakfast menu: Coffee or tea, juice (fruit shake, tamarind, rosella or orange), a chicken noodle soup. It;s cost 45,000 (~5 US$).
Mid-morning – Walking through beautiful temples & Royal Palace.
After breakfast take some time to stroll the streets of this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage city before it gets too hot. Enjoy the narrow flower-lined alleyways with hidden treasures such as little galleries or small inviting cafes. If you are up for it rent a bike and enjoy the breeze as you pedal past gold wats, colorful colonials and the orange robes of monks.
Built by King Sisavangvong in 1904, the Royal Palace was the home of the royal family until the monarchy was abolished in 1975. It houses a copy of the Pha Bang, a golden Buddha that is Lao Buddhism’s most reverred image and rightfully so as the real Pha Bang is 50 kg of pure gold. It is kept in a bank vault in Vientiane, but the copy is worth a visit. Inside the Royal Palace is the National Museum, which is worth your time to look around at the Lao art.
Lunch & Cooking Class in Luang Prabang.
Walk down to Tamarind Ban Wat Sene Luang Prabang to have your lunch. Spend 2 hours to join a Laos cooking class to learn about the local cuisine. At Tamarind we serve a range of Lao cuisine. From meals aimed at introducing you to the flavors and etiquette, right though to truly authentic dishes exploring some of the more unusual ingredients, textures, and flavors.
Afternoon in Luang Prabang – Monk chat & Sunset Watching.
Visit Wat Xieng Thong, also known as the Temple of the Golden City to see the elaborate golden reliefs and a mosaic of the Buddhist Tree of Life. The pagoda on your right as you enter houses King Sisavangvong’s funeral chariot used to transport the funerary urn after his death and is very impressive. Once you have explored the temple grounds take a seat in the shade and chat with the young novice monks eager to practice their English. If you come prepared with an English book they will be especially grateful. You can pick up books to share with your new friends or to give to village children if you go on a trek at Big Brother Mouse.
Start to make the climb up to Mount Phousi for the sunset and stop at the Buddha’s footprint along the way as well as the rotund golden Buddha hidden in a cave. Once you have made your way up all 329 steps join the crowd as every tourist well knows that the best view of the sunset in Luang Prabang is over the Mekong and best viewed from Wat Chom Phousi.
Dinner at Manda de Laos
Manda de Laos is enveloped by the historic beauty of three lotus ponds, registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995, creating an immersive tropical ambiance. The dining area overlooks a magical display of lotus blossoms and floating lilies, while the changing colors of the sky through to dusk, allows guests to dine in candlelit serenity under the stars.
Signature dishes include “Khoua Sin Kwai” (wok-fried buffalo and flambé with Lao Lao alcohol), “Laap Moo” (a special dish inspired by traditional minced pork recipe of Toune’s mother) and “Ping Pa” (grilled famous Pa Nin fish with lemongrass and Lao herbs, served with homemade tomato maklen).
Manda de Laos’ Signature Cocktails feature Lao ingredients and flavors combined with a unique blend of legacy, modernity, and innovation, such as the “Laos Parinha” (Champa Kao with cucumber and lime rimmed with local ground rice)
Night in Luang Prabang
Spend your two nights at Victoria Xiengthong Palace will be a great experience.
The Victoria Xiengthong Palace is a boutique heritage hotel set in the old town of Luang Prabang. The resort is small, with only 26 rooms located by the Mekong River and Wat Xiengthong temple, and is the former residence of the Lao royal family; in fact, it used to be the Royal Palace and has lovely teak floored rooms in traditional buildings. Rooms have plenty of old charm, as well as modern conveniences like iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, and Wi-Fi. There is no pool or fitness center, but there is a spa and the excellent Kitchen by the Mekong restaurant which serves fine Lao and European cuisine. It’s one of the quietest areas of Luang Prabang, and perfect for those who like walking and enjoying the riverside haunts.
Day 2/ Explore the most highlight sightseeing in Luang Prabang
Morning: Enjoy your breakfast at Victoria Xiengthong Palace, sunbathing or swimming at your hotel.
9:30 AM. Pak Ou Cave. Hire a tuk-tuk and wear your padded shorts for a bumpy 25 km. ride out to the Pack Ou Cave on the Mekong River. The cave is packed with more than 4,000 Buddha images of all shapes, sizes, and colors.
11:00 Trek & Swim at Kuang Si Waterfall.
Lunch at Carpe Diem Restaurant near to Kuangsi Waterfall
Enjoy the delights of our cuisine or simply sip a cocktail while relaxing in the magnificent Kuang Si waterfalls. The layout of our restaurant has been designed in relation to nature using a maximum of noble materials to respect the beauty of the site. Also, putting a particular emphasis on working with small local producers to promote local businesses.
Late Afternoon: Mekong Sunset Cruise & Dinner party canapés from Luang Prabang
The mighty Mekong is one of the world’s great rivers and a Mekong sunset is an unforgettable vista. Experience it in style on this relaxing cruise, the perfect end to a magical day or precursor to a romantic dinner. Sip cool drinks, tea, and coffee, and nibble on gourmet canapés as the mountain and jungle around Luang Prabang drift by and birds chirrup in the twilight forest. Watch the sunset over the mighty Mekong River from a boat Savor delicious canapés and refreshing drinks as you cruise Glide out of Luang Prabang and into the scenic countryside See the city lights begin to shine over historic Luang Prabang.
After dinner on cruise, get back to your hotel for relaxing or you can stroll around the town on your own to explore Luang Prabang nightlife would be a great experience.