Top 10 Must-Do’s while in Luang Prabang, Laos
I didn’t know what to expect from Laos, but perhaps that was the beauty of it. Here are 10 must-do’s while in Luang Prabang, Laos.
10. Explore the temples down Sisavangvong Road
I had read a blog that said not to miss Wat Xieng Thong. Usually I believe these must-do’s lists (because it’s someone’s opinion of the best-of-the-best, like this list you’re reading lol!), and as usual, I went. I couldn’t have been more disappointed. Maybe it was the 20,000 kip entrance fee? Maybe because I was comparing it to the almighty Grand Palace in Thailand? Either way, it wasn’t worth my time or money to go to a temple that wasn’t impressive. Instead, just take a walk down Sisavangvong Road starting from Wat Mai and heading north and you’ll run into tons of temples for the frees (feel free to donate if you’d like).
9. Watch the alms giving for the monks at 5:30am
It’s been a bit controversial for tourists to go to the alms giving for the monks simply because some people just don’t know how to respect a preserved culture. I love to experience true traditions from cultures around the world so I couldn’t miss the opportunity to watch this special ceremony that takes place every morning at 5:30am (sometimes 6:30am depending on the season). It was super short and simple. The monks walk down the streets from temple to temple while local and tourists alike give scoops of sticky rice with their bare hands for their food for the day. TIP: If you’re going to take pictures, do it from a distance. Snap shots from across the street, don’t be in the way of the monks, and please turn your flash off.
8. Two words: LAOS MANGOS!
I never tasted a mango so sweet, juicy, and delicious as the Laos Mangos. Try it for yourself. There is the morning market on the small side street just north of Sisavangvong Road from 6am-11am. Or you can sip a delicious Lao Mango Shake from any of the hundreds of shake stands around town.
7. Eat at the $1 street buffets
Would you believe me if I said everything in the picture below was $1.81USD all-you-can-eat??? Yeah. RIGHT?! Unbelievable, but believe it. For $1, well worth it. Also, there were bowls of fresh fruit that is included in the all-you-can-eat price. Shooooot, I’d pay $1 for AYCE fresh Laos mangos! TIP: All the food that they didn’t sell is used again the next day. and the day after. and the day after. It’s a third world country, remember? Of course they aren’t going to waste it. So before you grab, try smell. Some dishes are better left for the next day tourists.
6. Taste the locals favorite: Lao Lao
When in Laos you must try all things local. It’s a rice whisky mixture made of rice, yeast, and insects! You may love it or hate it, but you’ve got to give it a go.
5. Stroll down the night market!
From souvenirs to street food to samples of lao lao, you’ll find everything and anything you need at the night market down Sisavangvong Road. I loved being walking distance to the night market. It was always so lively. I spent every night there!
4. Try the mouth-watering coconut pancakes
They are squishy little ping pong sized balls that you can pop into your mouth one after another after another. They super simple yet so tasty! You can find them at a little stand at the beginning part of the night market. For $0.60, you get five little balls that are fresh off the pan for you to savory and enjoy. I had them every night!
3. Take a nap at Utopia Bar
Imagine a place with cute padded mats all lined up facing a gorgeous view of the mountains and river. During the day, it’s a place to read, write, or just relax and nap. During the night, it’s the “it” spot for backpackers to meet up and socialize. But don’t forget, nights don’t last long in Laos. All business close by 11:30pm to give everyone enough time to be at their accommodation by the 12am curfew law.
2. Admire the view from the top of Mount Phousi
Located smack dab in the middle of Luang Prabang lies Mount Phousi. Don’t be intimidated by it being called a mountain. For $2 entry fee, it’s a simple 15 minute stroll up a set of easy stairs to the top for the best view in town! If you don’t mind experiencing this with dozen of others, go during sunset. I went during the middle of the day which was hot af but I was one of two people up there so it was nice.
1. Kuang Si Waterfall
Ahhhh the number one reason I came to Luang Prabang: Kuang Si Waterfall!!!! This place was amazing!!!! $4 shuttle van fee (or $20 private tuk-tuk) and a $2 entry fee gets you into Kuang Si; a is a series of waterfalls with multi-tier falls, swimming pools, rope swings, bamboo bridges, and the bluest waters of all time. It seemed straight out of a fairytale. Kuang Si definitely earned the #1 spot on my must-do list.