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15 Essential things to see and do in Luang Prabang

One of the main reasons why I decided to travel to Laos was to see Luang Prabang. Without a doubt, it is the most beautiful, interesting and essential city to see in Laos. It is located on the banks of the Mekong River and its streets are a mix of the French colonial essence and the Buddhist religion that has filled the city with beautiful temples. To visit the city you will have enough with 2 days, although I recommend adding a few more to visit the surroundings and add the Kuang Si waterfalls to your list of places to see in Laos, one of the most beautiful natural sites in the country, located a few kilometers away. from Luang Prabang. In this post I tell you about the 15 essential things to see and do in Luang Prabang.

imprescindibles que ver y hacer en Luang Prabang


If you want to learn more about the history of the city and take a guided tour of the most essential places, such as its temples, markets... you can do it with a guided tour. This visit includes transportation, guide and entrance fees to the places listed. Here you have more information about the guided tour of Luang Prabang.

1. Visit Wat May Souvannapoumaram temple

Wat May Souvannapoumaran Temple is a beautiful Buddhist temple located in the city center, next to the Royal Palace, and dates back to the 18th century and is the largest and most important temple in Luang Prabang. Both its interior and exterior are decorated in black and red, with gold leaf details. Its name means new temple, and it was founded by King Anurat of the Kingdom of Luang Prabang.

2. Visit the Royal Palace, an essential thing to see and do in Luang Prabang

Another of the essential places to see in Luang Prabang is the Royal Palace, where the Laotian monarchy formerly resided when Luang Prabang was the capital of the country. Currently, in the Palace you will find the National Museum where an extensive exhibition is presented with various objects that belonged to the royal family and the throne room. The entrance costs around 2 euros and it is worth visiting.

imprescindibles que ver y hacer en Luang Prabang

3. Wat Wisunarat

Wat Wisunarat is the oldest Buddhist temple in the city. It dates back to 1513 and was ordered to be built by King Wisunarat who ruled Laos from 1501 to 1520. Currently, it has the city's museum of religious arts where you will see religious objects related to Buddhism and the royal family on display. The temple also houses a collection of stone and gilded Buddha statues dating back to the 15th century.

4. Wat Xieng Mouane, one of the most charming temples to see in Luang Prabang

This temple is known as the golden temple of Luang Prabang. It stands out for its laborious decorative work and its numerous representations of Buddha. It is located next to the prince's house, renovated in 2006 and used as an exhibition and events hall. The temple was ordered to be built by King Chantarath and dates back to 1872.

imprescindibles que ver y hacer en Luang Prabang

5. Luang Prabang Night Market

One of the best things about visiting Asian cities are their night markets and in Luang Prabang you have a great one located

on Sisavangvong Road. Without a doubt, it is one of the best things to do at the end of the day. There are stalls with all kinds of things; street food stalls where you can eat for very little money, stalls selling clothes, hats, jewelry, crafts...

6. Take a cruise on the Mekong River

One of the most recommended activities when evening falls is to take a cruise along the Mekong River to enjoy a fantastic sunset. You have several options and some include traditional Lao dinner, music and show.

7. Climb Mount Phou Si

Mount Phou Si is another essential place to see in Luang Prabang, however, to visit it, you will have to recharge your batteries since to get to the top you must climb a lot of steps. From the top you can enjoy incredible views of the city and the Mekong River, and visit the Wat That Chomsi Buddhist temple with a beautiful stupa dating from 1804.

8. Don't miss the alms ceremony

The first time I saw a video from Laos was specifically in Luang Prabang celebrating the alms ceremony. It caught my attention and it was there that I decided to investigate the possibility of traveling to Laos and a few months later, here I was, witnessing the ceremony for myself.

This ceremony takes place every day first thing in the morning, you must get up early to avoid missing it since it is just at sunrise. At sunrise, Buddhist monks begin a silent procession through the streets of the city where residents and tourists give the monks offerings (usually rice, fruits and vegetables) in exchange for blessings.

imprescindibles que ver y hacer en Luang Prabang

9. Kuang Si Waterfalls, a must see from Luang Prabang

The Kuang Si waterfalls, just 30 km from Luang Prabang, are a must-see in Laos. This natural wonder is made up of a set of turquoise blue waterfalls that stand out above the lush emerald vegetation. The waterfalls are located within a protected natural complex where you can enjoy bathing, walking along its trails and even visiting a bear recovery center. I explain how to visit the Kuang Si Waterfalls here.

Excursions to do from Luang Prabang to Kuang Si waterfalls:

imprescindibles que ver y hacer en Luang Prabang

10. Visit the most rural area of ​​Luang Prabang

You don't have to go far to enter the most rural area of ​​Luang Prabang. The outskirts of the city are full of rice paddies and crop fields and small villages where local tribes live. All of this, surrounded by a mountainous environment, which makes the place a beautiful natural area. To visit the area on the outskirts of Luang Prabang you can go on your own or do some of the activities offered in the area. We decided to book a bicycle tour that toured the banks of the Mekong River, the Nam Khan and Nam passing between fields, rice fields and mountains. Although it is a somewhat long excursion, around 8 hours, it is completely worth it.

imprescindibles que ver y hacer en Luang Prabang

11. Visit Kieng Men Village

The small village of Kieng Men is located just across the Mekong River, opposite Luang Prabang. There are several boats along the river that will take you to the village for very little money and it won't take you even 5 minutes to get there. In the village you can visit some of its temples; Wat Xiang Maen, Wat Tham Sakkalin, among many more.

12. Go to the Pak Ou Caves, one of the best things to see and do in Luang Prabang

The Pak Ou Caves are known as the Caves of the 1,000 Buddhas. Inside there are many Buddha statues, of different sizes and colors, which are offerings from the pilgrims who arrive at the cave. To get to the cave you must book a tour that includes boat transportation on the Mekong River.

13. Workshops to do in Luang Prabang

If you want to live the experience to the fullest, you can do one of the workshops taught by the locals. You have gastronomic workshops of different types that sometimes combine with visits to places in Luang Prabang, bamboo weaving workshop, cooking classes, fishing, craft workshop...

imprescindibles que ver y hacer en Luang Prabang

14. Manifa Elephant Camp & Resort

If you want to live the experience with elephants, look for an alternative that does not “treat the animals badly or keep them illegally.” Sometimes it is difficult to know and we find stands on the road where you can see that they have elephants and they offer to take photos, a walk... they are usually places where they do not take good care of the animals or have them in very bad conditions.

If you want to live this experience from Luang Prabang, not far away is the Manifa Elephant Camp & resort center. It is a recovery and well-being center and takes care of them, keeping them free. The facility even has accommodation and a restaurant, you can go, feed them, watch them bathe in the river...

15. Day market in Luang Prabang

And finally, if you have the chance, you can tour the Luang Prabang day market. It is a market located in the center of the city, where they place some tarps on the ground to sell you fruit, vegetables, fish, meat... all kinds of fresh foods.

imprescindibles que ver y hacer en Luang Prabang


I hope you enjoy your trip to Laos and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue readingmany more related articles on the blog.

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A hug and see you soon!


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