Ever heard of the Banana Pancake Trail? This is a trail famous among budget travelers from everywhere who want to visit and explore Southeast Asia. One of its most famous stopovers is Luang Prabang, Laos.
This quiet, unassuming town in the northern part of Laos was once the royal capital of the country and is one of its major cities. Often times, it’s also dubbed as the jewel in Laos’ crown, thanks to its unparalleled beauty.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is best known for its majestic temples and marvelous architecture, dating back to the country’s French colonial times. It also has its fair share of natural wonders, making up an interesting stopover for a Southeast Asian adventure.
Get to know more about Luang Prabang, Laos by trying out these must-do activities during your stay.
1. Explore the City
Let your eyes feast in the one-of-a-kind beauty of Luang Prabang by roaming around the city itself. There are tons of interesting places to go which you can all fit in one day, from peaceful monasteries to the vibrant Morning Market. There’s also the Royal Palace Museum which gives you a good glance into Luang Prabang’s past. Each one of these places has an interesting story to tell people about how Luang Prabang came about.
Suggested Tour: Why not explore the town on wheels? Do your city day tour on a bike to make the experience more enjoyable.
2. Cook the Laotian way
Laotian cuisine is something you can’t just describe in one word. It’s tasty, vibrant, “tickle-your-tastebuds” kind of thing and more, thanks to the different influences that helped shape it into what it is now. Try your hand at whipping up these savory dishes so you can take a piece of Laos with you even when your adventure’s over.
Suggested Tour: This cooking class lets learn to prepare a traditional Lao and Luang Prabang dishes.
3. Experience the Almsgiving Ceremony
Buddhism is a big chunk of Luang Prabang as a town and Laos as a country in general. One of the well-known Buddhist traditions in the city is the Almsgiving Ceremony or Tak Bat where people rise early to help fill up monks’ alms bowls in exchange for their blessing. This is known to be a form of giving respect to the monks and make merit as well which you can also join. Just remember to read up on this tradition first to familiarize yourself with the proper etiquette during the actual ritual.
Suggested Tour: Experience this humbling ritual early in the morning and receive blessings from the monks.
4. Meditate at a local temple
Finding time to relax while following your hectic travel itinerary can be hard, but if you’re in Luang Prabang, this is something you should definitely try. With lots of local temples around you, you should definitely add some meditation time to your trip. This will also help you get to know more about Buddhism by observing and practicing their rituals.
Suggested tour: Join a small group of tourists and meditate with the help of a senior monk.
5. Go to a Lao Baci
The Baci (or sometimes called Basi) ceremony is definitely something that’s unique to Laos. To put it simply, this is a ceremony held by locals for joyful occasions like weddings, housewarming parties, etc. but can also be done when something unfortunate happens to the family. They usually tie white cotton strings to the person whom the prayers were intended for.
Find out more about Laotian local traditions and get yourself blessed in the process as well!
Suggested tour: Participate in a Baci ceremony and be showered by wishes and prayers.
6. Marvel at Luang Prabang’s natural beauty
One of the most famous stopovers during a Luang Prabang visit is the Kuang Si Falls. And why wouldn’t it be? This three-leveled falls looks like something straight out of a painting with its clear, sky blue waters. It’s also a perfect place to cool down if you visit during the summer.
Suggested tour: This full-day visit to Kuang Xi Falls and a local nearby village involves kayaking which is perfect for active travelers.
7. Ride a bike on your way to Pak Ou Caves
Another well-known wonder in Luang Prabang, Pak Ou Caves are not only frequented by visitors because of its stunning location but also because of the numerous Buddha statues lined up inside of them. Here, you can offer your prayers to the heavens and burn incense. There’s also a nearby village where you can get to know about local industries like whiskey production, mulberry paper making, and weaving.
Suggested tour: Spend a day riding a bike along the Mekong River and eventually getting on a boat on your way home while exploring the Pak Ou Caves and its surrounding areas.
Where to Stay in Luang Prabang, Laos
Where to stay in Luang Prabang, Laos if you’re a Backpacker
Price: $4 for a bed in a 6-Bed Dormitory Room; $5 for a bed in a 4-Bed Mixed Dormitory Room
Hours: Check-in from 13:30
Star: 4 star
Location: 112 Thanon Souvanarath Ban Pakham, 10003 Luang Prabang, Laos
Get to know more about Downtown Backpackers Hostel through reviews.
Where to stay in Luang Prabang, Laos for Families or Couples
Price:$35 for a ; $38 for a Superior Twin Room
Hours: Check-in from 12:30
Star: 4.5 star
Location: King Kitsarath Road, Ban Khily,, 01000 Luang Prabang, Laos
Get to know more about Villa Kee Lee Hotel through reviews.
Where to stay in Luang Prabang, Laos if you want Luxury
Price: $176 for a superior double room; $220 for a Deluxe Suite
Hours: Check-in from 14:00
Star: 5 star
Location: 99 Baan Phone Huang, Luang Prabang, Laos
Get to know more about The Belle Rive Boutique Hotel through reviews.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I apply for a tourist visa to Laos with my Philippine passport?
You definitely don’t need to apply for one! If you’re only staying up to 30 days in Laos as a tourist, all you need is a ticket, your passport, and you’re good to go.
2. Is it safe to visit Luang Prabang?
It is! Most people who have been there felt safe and had a very hassle-free vacation. Of course, there are the occasional bad apples among the bunch, but the majority of Laotians are very accommodating and helpful to anyone who’s ever been there.
3. How much should be my budget for Luang Prabang?
That depends on how you travel. If you’re a budget traveler, bringing $30-$40 a day with you will be enough to cover your expenses including your accommodation (which can go as low as $3 a night in a dormitory), your meals (which can fill you up for around $2 per meal), and even your transportation allowance.
4. How do I catch a flight to Luang Prabang, Laos from the Philippines?
There are currently no direct flights from Manila to Luang Prabang. However, you can always hop on connecting flights to Laos via Bangkok, Taipei, Guangzhou, Singapore or Hong Kong to get to Luang Prabang.
Some people also cross the Huay Xia border from Thailand via a slow boat. This route is often taken by those backpackers across Southeast Asia countries.
Flights from Manila to Luang Prabang, Laos last for about 8 hours on average.
5. When is the best time to visit Luang Prabang?
This depends on what type of traveler you are. As Laos is a tropical country, there’s only 2 seasons– the wet and dry. If you want to visit when there aren’t a lot of other travelers roaming the country, you can come during the wet season which is going on from around May to October. There are more visitors from November to April since the weather is better.
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