This charming and atmospheric city in northern Laos on the banks of the Mekong is the country’s first UNESCO listed site and has plenty to offer. Along the main street are some pricey restaurants, you’ll find the cheaper places down by the river, which have a much better view anyway. There are also lots of options for accommodation, pricey compared to northern Thailand, but we settled for a place called Nammavong Guesthouse, simple accommodation with air conditioning and en-suite bathrooms.
Set your alarms early one morning to watch the monks collecting alms of rice from villagers. Unfortunately the sheer number of tourists paying to get involved and even stepping up to take selfies with the monks detract from the authenticity. Try to keep your distance and show some respect with the way you’re dressed. Grab some breakfast at the Morning Glory Cafe afterwards to get your day started.
Climb the few hundred steps up Phou Si, or Chomsy Hill, for a spectacular panoramic view of Luang Prabang and the surrounding jungle, the meandering Mekong river and the golden rooftops and spires of other temples. It’s a great place to watch the sunset.
Once the sun goes down you can spend hours bartering at the amazing night market, lit up along the main road in front of the Haw Kham National Museum. You can head to one of the bars for a beer and a sheesha, Utopia was my favourite, or you can get a taxi to the bowling alley for a game or two.
Kuang Si Falls
My favourite part of Luang Prabang were the beautiful Kuang Si Falls. Share a taxi out the the park, make sure to haggle for a good price, don’t always accept the first offer you get, you can always get better.
As you enter the park you are greeted with a horrifying sight of a few very sad bears in cages, but further on you reach the first of the turquoise tiered pools. Climb higher past more pools and waterfalls and finally up to the massive 60 meter (200 foot) waterfall at the top of the hill. On your way back to the taxi take a dip in one of the pools, but watch out for leeches!
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