5 Days in Luang Prabang: What to Do & See
When people first heard I was going to Luang Prabang for 5 days their first reaction was: "Isn't that too long?" Due to the limited direct flights our choice was between 3 or 5 days, so we went with the latter because 3 days was just too short. Having now done the trip, I can confidently say that 5 days was the perfect amount of time for us as we got to split our time between 2 parts of the town and have a variety of experiences. Here are a few things I'd recommend doing and seeing for 5 days in Luang Prabang!
All photos of me credit to Lorenzo!
Visit the Wats
A trip to Luang Prabang isn't complete without visiting a few of their local temples, or as they're called in Laos, Wats. My favourite way to visit them is just to walk through the town and pop into the ones I pass by. All the Wats are beautiful and each different in their own way, but some of my favourites were Wat Xieng Thong and Haw Pha Bang at the Royal Palace. Be sure to carry a sarong with you as it is usually best to cover up as a sign of respect.
Climb Mount Phousy
At the heart of the city, Mount Phousy is a great escape from all the hustle and bustle without having to travel far. We actually hadn't planned on doing Mount Phousy when we did, but with time to spare we thought we'd check it out. The hike is easy enough with a straightforward path of stairs and once you reach the top you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the whole town — perfect for sunrise or sunset.
Hike to the top of Kuang Si Falls & take a dip after
Possibly the main reason for our trip to Luang Prabang, the Kuang Si Falls had been on my radar for a few years now, so being able to experience it in person was unbelievable. While most people head straight for the main swimming area, I recommend doing the hike up the mountain first (which I do NOT recommend doing in flip flops). There's a sense of tranquility being deep in the jungle and seeing the falls from the top. The hike will also make your refreshing swim after feel so much more rewarding!
Not a fan of tour groups, Lorenzo and I checked around for a private tuk tuk to take us up and it was the best choice for travel. Sitting on the back of an open tuk tuk you can see, smell, hear and feel everything as you go from the city to the countryside. Just head into one of the many travel shops in town and ask for prices and arrangements for a private tuk tuk instead of getting one off the street.
Head to the night market for street food & souvenirs
As the sun starts to set everyday, vendors slowly permeate the main road in the city transforming it into neat rows of stalls selling your usual night market trinkets. Pick up some textiles, cushion covers or even more unique finds but don't jump at the first thing you see as many stalls sell the same items. And if you're hungry pick up some street-side khanom krok for refuelling.
A fan will be your best friend when travelling in Laos. I picked mine up on the first night at the night market and it came in handy almost every instance imaginable.
Sip on lime juice & people watch from cafes
Compared to most of the places I've travelled to, Luang Prabang is a bit of a sleepy town, especially in the midday heat. Expect there to be down time, but embrace it! There's no better way to take a break than by sitting at a cafe with a glass freshly squeezed lime juice. And if you're up for an extra refreshing (and by refreshing I mean sour) drink, order yours without sugar syrup — these kept me going.
Kick back, relax & soak up the natural beauty
After spending the first 2-3 days exploring the city, it's nice to spend the last 2 just relaxing and taking it slow. Luang Prabang is one of the most beautiful places I've seen especially with the river and its tributaries flowing through the town. If you're lucky enough and your accommodation overlooks the river, enjoy the view! If not take a walk along the riverside — it's an especially beautiful sight at sunset.
And of course no trip to Laos would be complete without eating their flavoursome local food. Read my guide on what and where to eat as a vegan in Luang Prabang.