Luang Prabang is one of the most charming and best preserved cities in Asia. To ensure this quaint and very picturesque town was conserved, Luang Prabang became a UNESCO World Heritage city in 1995, to guarantee preservation of the classic French colonial architecture along with the traditional Lao buildings and culture.
You may well wonder why? Well, apart from its exotic charm and appeal and its magnificent location on a peninsula between the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers, there is also so much to see and do in Luang Prabang and its surrounds all year round.
After living and guiding in Laos for a combined total of more than 50 years, we have a wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge on the city and region, to identify what we believe are the top or 10 Best Things to do in Luang Prabang.
Unlike many so-called travel writers and bloggers, who flit in and out on a sponsored trip with a guide book, with no in-depth experience or cultural immersion whatsoever.
These 10 Best Things to do in Luang Prabang attractions are listed in no particular order, some are free, while for others there may be a small entrance fee.
Please note this is a personal list from the Mekong Kayak’s team of the 10 Best Things to do in Luang Prabang, which will change depending on the seasons and events and is by no means exhaustive.
Mekong Kayaks does not accept any payment or goods in-kind for listing these attractions. It is purely our team’s personal opinion.
1. Rise early and see the Tak Bat, the early morning monk procession as they walk barefoot around the city seeking alms
2. Climb Mount Phousi for fabulous views out over the city and Mekong and Nam Kham rivers especially at sunset
3. Café Croissant d’Or for the best fresh croissants and coffee in Luang Prabang for breakfast
5. Somjith Guest House centrally located, inexpensive and clean
6. Cold beer with freshly roasted cashews, chilling by the river at sunset, watching the fishermen returning home
7. Phosi Fresh Market in Luang Prabang where the locals shop for fresh fruit vegetables, fish, meat, and household goods
8. Waterfall & butterfly park
10. Henri Mahot’s tomb
Pak Ou Caves
Luang Prabang stands today where the ancient capital of the Lan Xang kingdom stood from the 13th to 16th centuries, which was founded by Fa Ngoum.
It was known as the “land of a million elephants and the white parasol” or Lan Xang Hôm Khao. Lan Xang to signify military might, and Hôm Khao the white parasol or umbrella, a symbol of Buddhist royalty.
The highest knighthood order of the Kingdom of Laos is the Order of the Million Elephants and the White Parasol, which has not been awarded since the monarchy was abolished in 1975 when Communist Pathet Lao movement came to power.