Take a Mekong River Cruise

Mekong River Cruise in Laos

Take a Mekong River Cruise in Laos

Cruising on the Mekong River in Laos is highly acclaimed and this is one of the best things to do in Luang Prabang. You can opt for a full-day, half-day, or night river cruise. The costs for Mekong River cruises in Luang Prabang can vary, typically falling between 20 to 50 USD. It is contingent on the chosen route.

If you take a river cruise from Luang Prabang, the usual stops include Pak Ou Caves - a famous cave filled with numerous Buddha statues displayed in various corners of both large and small caves.

Tips for you:

  • A good time for the Laos Mekong River Cruise is from November to April

  • Do not forget to enjoy the incredible sunset scene.

Visit Kuang Si Falls

Kuang Si Falls is the name of a collection of various large and small waterfalls nestled in the Kuang Si mountains. It is approximately 29km from the heart of Luang Prabang. Surrounded by lush forest, this waterfall complex forms a captivating natural park, becoming a must-visit spot in Luang Prabang, highly favored by travelers.

Kuang Si Falls luang prabang

Luang Prabang tourist attractions

Kuang Si Falls features multiple cascading water tiers with a stunning turquoise color reminiscent of a fairy tale. This green hue is created by algae. When visiting this place, you can hike, capture beautiful pictures, and swim in the pool areas at the top and bottom of the falls.

  • Transportation: To access the falls, you can opt for bus or tuk-tuk tickets. Tuk-tuk is priced at approximately 200,000 kips (9.7 USD) for a group of 6.

  • Ticket: The entrance fee for exploration is 20,000 Kip (1 USD).

Handy tips for your visit:

  • I recommend arriving early in the morning (around 8 am - before 9:30 am) for a quieter experience and a better appreciation of the scenery. Try to avoid holidays or weekends when the number of visitors is higher.

  • The forest path might be slippery, so exercise caution a little bit while walking. Nonetheless, the trail is generally easy, and you can even wear flip-flops.

  • There are dining options near the waterfall where you can take a break.

  • The entrance ticket covers a visit to the bear sanctuary, although bear sightings are not always guaranteed.

Attend the Almsgiving ritual

Almsgiving ritual luang prabang

Locals await Monks to pass by for almsgiving

One of the unique sights you can witness in Laos every morning is the scene of Buddhist monks dressed in saffron robes walking barefoot along the streets with alms bowls. Locals will sit along the road preparing for the almsgiving ritual. This tradition dates back to the 14th century and is known as Sai Bat or Tak Bat in the local language.

Almsgiving is one of the common Buddhist practices observed. The food items offered to the monks by the locals typically include sticky rice, fruits, or other sweet dishes prepared by early-rising residents. This ritual constitutes the daily meal for the monks.

Tips for you:

  • To witness this activity, you need to wake up a bit early at sunrise, around 5:30 AM in summer or 6:30 AM in winter. 

  • The almsgiving ceremony takes place throughout the towns of Luang Prabang, so it is not difficult to come across. Popular routes include passing by Wat Sene Wat along Sakkaline Road or Wat Mai temple on Sisavangvong Road.

  • The key to participating in this solemn ceremony is respect. You should:

  • Avoid disruption or interference with the process. 

  • Maintain silence by not playing music, including phone ringtones, and refrain from talking or speaking in low tones. 

  • If filming or taking photos, remember to turn off the flash.

Wander through the Night Market

Luang Prabang night market

One of the stalls of Luang Prabang night market

Night Market in Luang Prabang is an exciting nighttime destination with a vibrant atmosphere. Here, you are welcomed by friendly locals, and you can stroll along the bustling streets to admire and choose from a diverse range of affordable Laotian goods. There is from a few dollars for 1 item. 

The market also features delicious local street food and Vietnamese, Indian, Korean, Japanese, etc., cuisine, with ample seating areas for relaxation. Occasionally, the stage hosts music and dance performances.

The market opens from 5 PM to 10 PM. Despite being a large market, I enjoy the peaceful walking atmosphere here. The market area includes quality local stalls offering clothing, handicrafts, accessories, etc., all carefully arranged and clean. 

Visit the Mandalao Elephant Conservation

Mandalao Elephant Conservation

Visit and care for Laos elephants

Mandalao conservation area is located 30 km from Kuang Si Falls, approximately a 1-hour drive. You can consider spending half a day at Kuang Si Falls and the other half visiting Mandalao.

  • Opening time daily: 8:30 AM - 9 PM

  • Fee for 1 pax/day: 150 USD

Visit Mandalao, you will receive guidance and insights into the lives and customs of elephants in Laos. Afterward, you will cross the river to meet and feed the elephants their nutritious favorite foods. The feeling of walking through the forest harmoniously with mature and baby elephants here is truly incredible.

Hike through the Et-Phou Loey National Park

Et-Phou Loey National Park hiking

Venture the jungle of Lao's largest national park

If you have more time in Luang Prabang and want to delve deeper into the forests of this land, you can plan a trip to Et-Phou Louey. This is the largest national park in Laos, approximately 5 to 7 hours away by car or boat from Luang Prabang City. 

The highlight of hiking here is conquering the summit of Phou Louey - the Forever Mountain. On the mountaintop, baskets are hanging from the trees for you to sit and rest. Additionally, you can stop at homestays near the jungle for an overnight stay. The hiking cost for 2 days and 1 night at Et-Phou Louey National Park starts from 100 USD.

Relax at Spa

spa in luang prabang

Allow your body to rest

Traveling in Laos requires a lot of walking. Thus, give your body a chance to rest by trying a massage course, which you can find at street-side parlors or within Laotian hotels. 

The available massage options encompass traditional techniques, foot massages, oil massages, and hot stone massages, with costs ranging from 20 to 50 USD depending on the service and duration.

Some massage places in Luang Prabang:

  • Angsana Spa 

  • Sofitel Luang Prabang

  • Sanakeo Boutique Hotel & Spa

  • Burasari Spa

  • L' Hibiscus Massage & Spa

Sample Kai Pen

Things To Do In Luang Prabang

Do not miss the taste of locals

Kai Pen is a delicious and convenient snack. This dish is made from freshwater green algae, garlic, vegetables, and sesame seeds. Kai Pen can be eaten raw or well-cooked by stir-frying or deep-fried.

The food is rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and low in calories. It is also very popular in Luang Prabang. You can find Kai Pen sold in many market areas. A small bag typically costs between 5,000 to 10,000 Lao kip (US$0.60 to US$1.20).

Visit Ock Pop Tok Crafts Center

Things To Do In Luang Prabang

Discover the authenticity of Laotians

One interesting point to discover in the list of things to do in Luang Prabang is to learn about the local culture. At Ock Pop Tok Crafts Center you can learn bamboo weaving, natural dyeing, fabric weaving, and hand embroidery. It has an open space by the Mekong River which is a tranquil setting for traditional workshops.

The prices for the experiential activities here usually range from 30 to 50 USD for a half-day program. The instructors are enthusiastic and patient. You can also purchase cute souvenirs here to support the local community and enjoy coffee or tea alongside the river.

Ride a bike in the countryside

Things To Do In Luang Prabang

Find peace and leisure in the countryside

In a city like Luang Prabang, accessing nature, mountains, fields, and gentle rivers is effortless. The sensation of cycling here is leisurely and relaxing. You can also stop and visit the Hmong and Khmu villages along the way. The cycling route includes many dirt roads and can be challenging during the rainy season, so you should choose the dry season (November to April in Laos) for cycling.

A biking program with a tour guide can cost between 10 to 35 USD. The rental price for bikes here is 1 to 4 USD per hour.

Things To Do In Luang Prabang

Have a great time trying the best things to do in Luang Prabang

Discover additional insights in our Laos travel guide!

There are numerous things to do in Luang Prabang. When visiting Luang Prabang tourist attractions, make sure you are well-prepared to explore Laos' top iconic cities. Check out my other travel blogs on the website and contact New Asia Tours if you need suggestions for optimal and hassle-free Laos and Vietnam tours!