When planning your Laos holiday, Luang Prabang is undeniably a must see destination. After visiting this ancient city during your Indochina tours, you will definitely have a different thought about this country. It has a lot more to offer real travelers other than Vang Vieng, which was a very famous spot in Laos for a long time. In my first blog about Luang Prabang Laos, you have found a general guide to plan your trip. Then here we are in the second blog, I am going to give you a sample Luang Prabang itinerary for 3 days.
How to get Luang Prabang
Once again, Luang Prabang is 300km from Vientiane capital. In order to travel from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, there are no more than 2 choices of transportation you can take: flight and bus. If you want to keep the cost low, using bus is inexpensive. Some types of buses you can find are minivans and sleeper buses, which will take around 9 – 10 hours. Bear in mind that road system in Laos is not what you expect to be smooth and comfortable all of the time. Hence, the 9 hour ride from Vientiane to Luang Prabang will be quite bumpy. If you are taking plane options, there are 2 airlines with only a few flights per day: Laos Airline and Laos Skyway. By using plane, it would be nearly 1 hour only.
Suggested Luang Prabang itinerary
Once you arrive in the city, here is a suggestion on how you can spend 3 days in Luang Prabang for your Laos tours.
Day 1: Temples and Mekong Delta river cruise
City center of Luang Prabang is selected to be the UNESCO World Heritage site and is where you can find 33 delicate temples. Hence, exploring temples is an integral part of Laos’ culture and a foremost thing to do in Laos. Luang Prabang city is small enough for you to take a walk around in a morning, or in an alternative way, you can hire a bicycle for 20,000 – 30,000 kip per day.
Firstly, you can kick off your day to Wat Xieng Thong, the “monastery of the golden city”. This is perhaps one of the most important and famous temple in Laos and was built in the 16th century. There are more than 20 structures including: a sim, shrine, pavilions, residences, flowers garden, ornamental shrubs, and trees. Then, you can cycle to the next stop to see the Royal Palace, the place where King Sisavang Vong and his family used to live. This palace is now converted to become a national museum with an unique architecture mixing between Laos and French style. Besides these 2 attractions, you can consider adding the following temples into your list: Wat Phon Phao, Wat Sop Sickaram, Wat Pa Phai, Wat Mahathat, Wat Aham and That Makmo.
In the afternoon, head yourself to the Mekong river for a short cruise. You can either jump onto a boat with a group or hire a private one and make a ride through the river in around 1 hour. Or you can make further trip to visit Pak Ou caves, or also called the Buddha Cave, a pair of cave at the edge of Mekong river. In order to see the sunset, you can also start this trip a little bit late in the afternoon.
Day 2: Kuang Si Falls, Mount Phou Si viewpoint
After an easy day after arrival in Luang Prabang, you should prepare for a more active day. Today, you should put the alarm to wake up quite early to get ready to visit a little paradise in Luang Prabang: Kuang Si Falls. Being 30 kilometers away from city center, there are numerous way to get here by tuk tuk, by sharing minivan, by motorbikes or bicycles if you prefer adventure. Kuang Si Falls situate in a small village, south – west of Luang Prabang. In order to get to the falls, you only need to walk for a short distance. This fall is famous for its blue, fresh and turquoise pools, cascades and waterfalls. If you visit the fall in summer time, swimming is possible with changing clothes room. However, you are allowed to swim in certain pools only because some areas are quite dangerous.
Upon returning to city center of Luang Prabang, you drive to Mount Phou Si, a hill in the old town. Coming here, you will have chance to see a panorama view from the top and one of the best sunset in Luang Prabang if you are lucky with the weather.
Day 3: Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center, UXO Laos Visitor Center, Laos Massage, Chilling at Riverside bar
If this is your last day in Luang Prabang, there is no need to be rush, let it become a chilling day for small activities only and mostly entertainment. After having breakfast, you head to visit the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center first. This is a small venue belonging to a private non – profit museum devoting to various ethnic groups in Laos. This exhibition has the demonstration of ethnic clothing, religious art facts, working tools that will help you learn about way of life of Laos people. This center is open from Tuesday to Sunday only. After that, we get the transfer to UXO Laos Visitor Center. This is also a huge center that displays the unexploded ordnance. As a matter of fact, Laos was the most heavily bombed country in area during the war. By visiting this center, you will understand a part of its history.
In the afternoon, you should indulge yourself in a Laos massage. Though Laos does not have a well-known massage skill like Thailand or Indonesia, it is still worth to spend 1 or 2 hours for this during your Laos holiday. There are many spas ranging from inexpensive to more refined, if you can pay a little more, you can really have a nice and relaxing time at a good spa. After massaging, find yourself a good – view bar to chill out. You are highly recommended the following places: Saffron Café, Indigo Café, Le Banneton, Joma Bakery, Utopia, etc.
Suggested Luang Prabang tours for your Laos holiday
- The Spirit Of Luang Prabang 5 Days
- Luang Prabang Heritage Exposure 4 Days
- Luang Prabang Marvelous Day Tour
After just 3 days in Luang Prabang, I am sure that you will fall in love with this city. With no hectic pace of life, no busy traffic, this will be one of the memorable spot in your Laos holiday.
Minh Vu – Travel Specialist