Luang Prabang Highlights
We have been to the UNESCO World Heritage City of Luang Prabang between 19-22 April (2 full days as the rest was spent for traveling from/to other places)
– it was hotter than in Chiang Mai
– people were very friendly
– there was a bamboo bridge only set up for 6 months hence it costs 5, 000 LAK (not whole 50 pence) to cross as the family who is building it needs to put it up for a dry season and take it down for a wet season
– I experienced that the red ants sting badly here…
– there was a lovely French Colonial architecture
– we did book a very good hotel –> My Dream Boutique Resort – a very quiet and serene place for professionals who appreciate peace &quiet. It is also opposite the most famous backpacking bar ‘Utopia’ 🙂 Remember to use Top Cashback when booking your accommodation through a site of your choice to get some extra few pounds of your reservation price 🙂
We decided to fly from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang on 19/04/2017 and stayed in this lovely city until 22/04/2017 (Saturday morning). We bought our flight tickets before we arrived to Asia as there was not many daily flights on that route, so we wanted to ensure we get 2 tickets on the day we were ready to finish our Chiang Mai tour. In our opinion 2 days was enough to see the most important places in Luang Prabang, however one more day to chill out would be nice too. Here is what we have seen/done when there:
Day 1 – Thursday
We started our day from taking bikes from our hotel and riding to the most beautiful temple here :
-Wat Xieng Thong (apparently the most beautiful Wat in the whole Laos, entrance fee : 20,000 LAK -approx. £1.9) then we saw yet another temple:
-Wat Sene, as it was just behind the first temple. Then we have an iced coffee at the La Banneton cafe. People say Laos is expensive, well I don’t think it is true as f.e.an iced coffee cost only 20,000 LAK which is £1.9. We then returned to our lovely resort and swam & rested before setting off to the temple
-Wat Tham Phou Si – it was set on a hill. There were 328 steps leading to its entrance and the entry cost was again 20,000 LAK. It was well worth the climb as sunset there was just magical… After the sunset we went to see the city market with lovely Laotian handcrafted souvenirs, later we finally visited the food market street which tempted us to have a go to taste the local cuisine, yet again a veggie bowl (eat as much as you can fit in that bowl) cost 10,000 LAKs and a piece of grilled meat another 15,000 LAKs, so yet again it was a bargain food… We finished the day in Utopia bar, just to have a look around – the ambient was cool – I must admit that but after all it is the favorite place for all backpackers here in Luang.. Bohemian ambient and stunning river views…total chill-ax…
Day 2 – Friday
The next day we set off to Kuang Si waterfalls – there are many ways to get there.
The cheapest is when you hire a tuk tuk with other people as you pay as little as 50,000 LAK (not whole £5) for a return trip. If there is just the two of you, you may go privately hiring a return tuk tuk for 200,000 LAK (almost £20) -and that’s what we did. The most expensive way would be if you book an organized trip through one of the travel agent from the city or sites such as TripAdvisor or Viator. Ah you can also rent a motorcycle but having read that they don’t sell an insurance we gave up on that option. There is yet another but quite ‘expensive’ way to get there when taking a river cruise on Mekong for that you need to pay around $50/£40.
The waterfalls are 37km away from Luang Prabang which means about 40mins by tuk tuk. They are open from 8am.until 5:30pm and the entrance ticket cost 20,000 LAK ( £1.9). Once in you can see a bear sanctuary where you can admire quite a few rescued from poaching bears. You get to stay in the whole complex for agreed with your tuk tuk driver time, usually it is around two hours which is enough to see everything and to have a quick swim in the waterfalls as well.
On our last day in Luang we saw most sacred Lao traditions, the Buddhist Alms Giving Ceremony, as the monks were walking on the street passing by our resort. It was an interesting experience to see. When participating in this ceremony in either as an offer giver or just a bystander it is advised to keep quiet and show respect. Alms giving takes place every day as the sun rises, it begins on the main street of Luang Prabang before spreading out to all the surrounding streets. It is advised to buy your offerings (usually food) in advance and arrive much earlier to not to disrupt the ceremony once it has started. You then kneel down ready to give your offering to the monks; usually gifts include sticky rice, fresh fruit and traditional sweet snacks, I also saw people giving monks some money. Alms giving allows the Buddhist monks to make merit and also to collect food for their one meal of a day.
We stayed in Luang Prabang between 19-22.04 so technically 4 days but practically that included 2 full days as on the day we arrived and went away we weren’t able to do any sightseeing. Having two full days here you can still see most of not all the temples, city center and go on a trip to one if not two waterfall places. We didn’t want to do any other excursion and having followed our sightseeing plan we think it was enough of time to ‘taste’ the city. I also couldn’t be also happier with the accommodation choice as our resort was perfect: super friendly staff and beautiful surroundings (we were located opposite Utopia, so we had private river access) . We also benefited from. :
– free Airport transfers
– delicious breakfast
– free bicycles
We also had dinners and some snacks/cocktails at the resort as their prices were similar to the prices in other city restaurants. We also loved the fact that the resort where we stayed has been supporting a local community rebuilding the school in some village near to Luang Prabang.
If we ever return to Luang we will stay with them again, that’s for sure.