A UNESCO world heritage city, Luang Prabang (LP), is located in Northern Laos.
“It was listed in 1995 for unique and “remarkably” well preserved architectural, religious and cultural heritage, a blend of the rural and urban developments over several centuries, including the French colonial influences during the 19th and 20th centuries.” – Wikipedia
Luang Prabang, which means “Royal Buddha Image” is well-known for its many Buddhist temples and monasteries. I arrived in Luang Prabang on the 26 December 2016 in the evening from Singapore via Ventiane on Silkair. The weather was a bit chilly. The best time to visit Luang Prabang is between December to March. This period will be cool and dry.
If you have two days to spend in Luang Prabang, this was how my itinerary looks like.
Day 0: Arrival, Check-in hotel at Maison Dalabua (Mansion Lotus), visit night market
Day 1: Boat ride to Pak Ou Caves, visit Hmong village, visit Kuang Si waterfalls. End the evening with dinner and a visit to the night market again.
Day 2: Visit the King’s palace (Royal Palace Museum), visit Wat Xieng Thong temple, climb 328 steps to the summit of Mt Phousi to get a bird’s eye view of Luang Prabang.
Depart Luang Prabang
Our hotel, a charming boutique hotel – Maison Dalabua, is located about 1km from the city centre and where the popular night market is located. Life in Luang Prabang is laid-back and simple. A decent boutique hotel in this city cost north of USD200. The more luxury ones, like Sofitel cost about USD 600 per night when I was there, depending on season. December to March is usually peak season because it is cool and dry.
The hotel rates are not cheap although there are plenty of backpackers lodge where I think you can book it for about USD30. The price of a decent boutique hotel in Luang Prabang can get you a five-star hotel in other parts of Asia like Malaysia or Indonesia but not in LP.
Our Hotel: Mason Dalabua (Mansion Lotus)
Read the review here.
Laos cuisine is unique on their own but because Thai and Vietnamese food are more widespread internationally, and for a lack of a better description, Laos cuisine could be described as a fusion between Thai and Vietnamese. I had dinner at the restaurant inside Maison Dalabua. The service and quality of food was impeccable I must say.
We had Laos pho noodles too. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the restaurant I had this noodle from. :'(
Iced coffee – condensed milk + coffee
I also had lunch at Coconut garden in Laos. There were many good reviews about them online so I had to try it out. I must say, the food was really GOOD – especially the buffalo skewers – buffalo meat – YES!
There are only about six international airlines operating out of Luang Prabang International Airport (LPQ). I have written a review on LPQ and you can read it here. From the airport to the city centre.
During my time in LP, I engaged a private local tour guide to bring me around. As it is a small city, I do not have to travel far to reach the main places of interests. However, if you are keen to explore the city on your own, I see many foreigners cycling or riding a motorcycle in and around the city.
My final destination for this trip was Hanoi, Vietnam. LP was just a side strip and two days were definitely insufficient to experience the warmth of LP and its people. There were so many things to see, visit and immerse.
Final tip: A visit to the Kuang Si waterfall is a must and a dip in the beautiful turquoise waters is also mandatory.