Luang Prabang is a city in central Laos. Luang Prabang offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers;
- Royal Palace
- Mount Phousi (and view of the city)
- Boat ride on the Mekong River
- Sakkaline Road, the main street
- Wat Xieng Thong
- Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham
- Wat Sen
Hotels are incredibly cheap in Luang Prabang, you’ll find an amazing deal, whatever standard of hotel you are looking for.
Luang Prabang is a very small town, to get a landscape view of the town (above) there is a staircase you can take to Mount Phousi. From the top you can see how lush the area is, the Mekong river flowing through it and the unique buildings and temples. You don’t need to book accommodation in advance as there are lots of hotels and guesthouses throughout town. The main stretch of hotels and restaurants are found along Sakkaline Road but you can find them scattered all over town as tourism is the number one source of income in Luang Prabang. All the temples, museums and points of interest are within walking distance of the main street as well.
The Mekong River is the 12th longest river in the world, it starts in Tibet and runs through Yunnan, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
A must visit in Luang Prabang is the Royal Palace, which was built by the French in 1904 for the former King of Laos, Sisavang Vong. There is a statue of King Sisavang Vong in the grounds. It’s free to walk around the premises and take photos, you’ll find the stunning temple, Haw Pha Bang (above) behind the Royal Palace.
Today the Royal Palace is home to the National Museum. If you don’t want to visit the museum I’d still recommend a walk through the grounds to photograph the stunning buildings and gardens.
Luang Prabang is famous for weaving and paper handicrafts. Xangkhongposa Village (above) is one such place where you can see these being produced by the local people and buy them if you wish. The paper handicrafts are made from Saa Paper which is produced from the bark of Mulberry trees. The paper has a rough, textured finish making the finished products unique to this area. The paper handicrafts they produce range from postcards to lampshades, you’ll not see anything similar anywhere else. Even if you don’t wish to buy anything it’s interesting to see how such items are made and you can always leave a small tip to support this community.
On the Mekong river you’ll see lots of boats (above). You can hire these boats, I didn’t particularly want to go on a boat up the Mekong but out of curiosity I bargained with the sailor (in Thai) to take me on a short ride. For a 10 minute ride that I didn’t really want to go on, I paid ended up paying him around $2.
There is a regular boat service which will take you as far as Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai in Thailand. This service takes takes several days, you can find information about this service in travel agents and guest houses throughout Luang Prabang.
There is an daily overnight VIP bus between Luang Prabang and Vientiane, the capital city of Laos which is on the border with Thailand. The cost of this overnight bus service is $20, this is great value as this is not only the mode of transport to the next destination but also your hotel for the night. There’s plenty of legroom on the bus and I managed to sleep all the way to Vientiane, waking up as we arrived. The overnight journey to Vientiane takes 10 hours, arriving early morning the next day.
Paris, London, and Rome are all great cities, but the small towns are so often overlooked when traveling. It is refreshing to hear about them every once in a while. It is amazing how cheap things seem to be here. An overnight bus ride for $20 is so reasonable. Also with the small towns and bus rides it is a really good way to get a pulse on the real culture. Watching local craftsman at work is as real as it gets.
What a beautiful place Luang Prabang is. You certainly weren’t kidding when you described the environment as lush. Such an amazing amount of natural beautiful greenery. Also love the pots you chose to highlight and your photos. A river trip to Chiang Mai up the Mekong would be something I would love to do some day (if I can ever get the time aside that is). I have visited Thailand before but not Laos, so would be interested to check it out.
I have always wanted to take one of those overnight buses or trains, especially the sleeper buses. If for no other reason, then just to say I’ve done it. I’ll admit Laos hasn’t really been on my radar, but it looks beautiful and fascinating!
While in Thailand, we heard how affordable and lush Laos was. The people seem so genuine. I would love to bring back a saa paper memoir my trip to the area. Perhaps with one the wonderful rivers scenes from your pictures.
I’d love to do a boat trip on the Mekong River. We did a boat tour in Thailand that was really incredible. The paper handicrafts sound very cool, too. There are so many places in Asia we’ve left to explore and Laos is one of them.
Loas looks so beautiful, unspoilt and green – It’s high on my list of places to visit. I loved a recent trip to the Mekong in Vietnam so would eventually like to trace it back through some of the other countries it passes through – I’m a little more enthusiastic about boat trips than you seem to be (especially if its only a couple of dollars)! It’s good to know that the night busses are so comfortable too!
I haven’t been to Laos yet but it is on the list and I hope to visit the Xangkhongposa Village when I do get to go. Your photos are so colourful it is making me want to book a trip here right now so I might just have a quick look at flights just incase I can find a bargain lol. I have also never done an overnight bus I think that would be quite an adventure too.
View of Mekong River is splendid and so refreshing.Good to know that Mekong river is 12th longest river and flows through many countries including Laos. Boat ride for $2 is super cheap and very good experience.
I visited Laos a few years ago, just to fall in love with this wonderful country that reminded me of a gone by Thailand. Especially Luang Prabang, it’s such a charming place, thanks so much for taking me wander one more time in its streets trough this nice article.
The royal palace in Luang Prabang is charming! How nice to visit then pop over to the weaving and paper handicrafts market. By street or boat, it looks like you have a wonderful time.
I have wanted to go to Luang Prabang for a while. We are doing 9 months in Asia and hope to it it in when we go. I love your tips and would definitely come back to the article when I am planning me time there.
My favourite of everything you’ve mentioned is the handicrafts and weaving! I’d perhaps spends so much more time there watching the weaving than seeing other places!!!
The area is indeed green and with the river flowing through it, it looks so so gorgeous!!!
Luang Prabang and Laos look like incredible places. Taking buses is a cheap way to go anywhere, even more so for a roadtrip in Laos. I like the river boat idea too, that could make overland travel interesting.
Not been to Laos yet, but after visiting Vietnam and Cambodia last year we really want to. We also met some other travellers who have been to Luang Prabang, it looks wonderful, thanks for all the tips really helpful, will pin this for future reference
It is good that a tourist does not need to book a hotel/hostel before going to Luang Prabang. I would like to check out first the accommodation sometimes before booking it. I would like to watch how the women use the traditional way of making paper handicrafts. The bus looks pleasant and big.
You always amaze me how you’re able to move from one part of a country via bus! I need to try that kind of travel soon. As for your post, the photos are gorgeous as always. It would be a dream to cruise the Mekong River!
Very useful to know as I’m hoping to visit Laos, including Luang Prabang and Vientiane later in the year. Bus info especially helps give me an idea of what to expect. Pinned for future reference.
What a small hidden gem. It seems like the kind of city that you could enjoy and relax in for days. The view you provided really does show how lush the scenery is. The palace and temple are definite must see after seeing the photos you provided. All the temples in Southeast Asia are incredible. Thank you for sharing this.
I agree that taking overnight bus is a good idea because you can just sleep there and don’t pay for the accommodation. I did boat trip in Mekong River, but the part in Vietnam. Laos look beautiful, and I hope to visit there soon 🙂
Such a beautiful place! I am more and more intrigued to visit countries like Laos, Thailand or Mayanmar after reading all these wonderful blogs. All the colours and beauty that they have in Asia. I have only so far visited Japan. Your trip looks amazing.
I love your bus journeys. I try and avoid them as much as possible , so have a very high appreciation for you. The Mekong delta looks beautiful and so fertile!
Wow, Luang Prabang seems like a really convenient town to explore. I love how everything is so central to one another. $20 for the overnight bus is a great value!
Fantastic post on Luang Prabang!! This is the information I was looking for with beautiful photos.
Thanks for opening my eyes to the other side of the world—again !
Didn’t realise the Mekong was so long from Tibet to Vietnam. Thanks for another informative post, have pinned for future reference.
Beautiful place. Your photos of Luang Prabang, Laos are amazing. Not some place on my radar, but its great to learn things about the world around us. That overnight bus is certainly a great value, where else can you find something like that. Happy Travels!
Some of the best gems in the world are small and obscure towns. You just never know what you’ll find in any of these places. Luang Prabang looks like a really nice place. Love the lush landscape and the Laos temples look really beautiful.
Great detail about Luang Prabang and photos! I am planning to visit Laos next year and I can’t wait to see the lush countryside. It’s interesting to read about the Mekong river running through Laos and that I can take a boat to Chiang Mai on it.
This is perfect! I am backpacking through Asia this summer, and plan to spend a few months in SE Asia. I’ll be bookmarking this post for travel through Laos 🙂
Really interesting place! climbing that staircase and walking the grounds of the Royal Palace look like absolute musts; thanks so much for your tips 🙂
What an incredibly beautiful place! When we travel, we love to get out of the cities and into the smaller towns to explore more of the local culture. The architecture there is amazing!
I did a boat ride on the Ganges and I would love to repeat the feat on the Mekong river! Nice post about Luang Prabang. You have captured the essence of the place beautifully in the post.
The Kuang Si Falls at Luang Prabang are amazing and you can swim in them!
I am now ready to try a visit to Laos. Sorry I missed it when I was in the Mekong River area. I would love to visit the Kuang Si Falls. I pinned this for later use 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
Luang Prabang has been ratcheting up my must go to list for a while. The lush greenery and, laid back people and slower pace make it so attractive for me. It won’t be long now I hope.
I’d love to visit here some day. Going down the Mekong River would be high on my list!
Love that you decided to explore Laos. We have not read many blogs about Laos. Lesser known places are the best in our opinion. The landscape view is stunning! So lush and green. Thanks for the introduction.
Laos is somewhere on my tick list! I really want to visit! Sounds amazing 🙂 Hopefully I get to go soon! Thanks for the great blog
I never made it to Laos but it’s high on my list for when I’m next in the area. I love how colorful the overnight bus is! It reminds me of the Chicken Buses over here in Guatemala. Thanks so much for the information, I’m sure it’s going to come in really useful when I’m planning my trip.