Luang Prabang International Airport is one of few international airports in Laos. There are no direct flights from Singapore but visitors wanting to explore Luang Prabang can take connecting flights from Bangkok, China, Vietnam and Cambodia. The airport is equipped with general facilities such as cash machines, ATMs, currency exchange and information desks for visitors seeking to enquire about attractions in Laos and make hotel reservations. There is also a restaurant available for visitors to have a relaxing meal.
The most convenient way to reach the city centre from the airport is by taking a taxi. It is cheap to get a taxi just outside the arrival hall. It is also advisable to take a tuk-tuk to the different attractions because they are cheap and convenient. Alternatively, you can rent a motorbike but beware of the rocky terrains and meandering roads. It is extremely convenient to cycle around this world heritage town.
Luang Prabang, designated as the first UNESCO site in Laos, is a town full of character. The town has well-preserved temples, some of the most spectacular waterfalls and amazing cultural practices. This is perhaps one of the most charming cities in Southeast Asia.
Start your morning by observing the iconic alms ceremony at 6am. You will see rows of monks draped in orange robes chanting and collecting offerings from kneeling locals and tourists. The whole ritual is picturesque and offers a unique photo opportunity for visitors but do keep a respectful distance from the monks. After the ceremony, head to the street food market located east of the Tourist Information building for some fried tofu with ham baguette. Pair it with a super strong Lao coffee to make up for the early start!
Alternatively, head to Phou Si, the main hill in the town, which offers a spectacular panoramic view of the town and the Mekong River. Be sure to visit this hill for the spectacular sunrise which makes the climb rewarding. You can rent bicycles from any of the tourist agencies located near the food market for as little as $2 a day or just explore this UNESCO heritage town on foot. Stroll down to the Vat Xieng Toung, the most beautiful and oldest monastery in town. Continue your journey by walking to the golden Vipassana temple and park nearby. If you’re into meditation and yoga, be sure to join in the Vipassana meditation sessions organised by the monks.
Hop onto a tuk-tuk and make your way to the Kuang Si Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Asia. Be intrigued by the four-tiered waterfall which offers an amazing backdrop to your pictures. This is a great place to relax and meet new people. There are multiple pools to jump into and cool off in the heat. This is a must-see if you’re planning to visit Luang Prabang. Head to the Elephant Village Sanctuary and resort where you can volunteer to wash the elephants in the Namkhan River or take a one-day course to learn the commands to control an elephant.
Canoe your way to the Pak Ou Caves where you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of rugged mountains and can visit caves free from hordes of camera-toting tourists. Volunteer for the ‘Fair Trek’ Project by going on treks to neighbouring villages to understand more about the locals and their culture.
End your day with a walk along the Mekong river or dinner at one of the restaurants along the river bank while watching the sun sink into the horizon. Head to the main street to enjoy cheap all-you-can-eat-on-one-plate buffets and enjoy the rest of the night with a pint of BeerLao.
Did you know?
Luang Prabang is known as the largest cultural and historical centre of the country. In 1995 Luang Prabang was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as the most beautiful city in Laos and the centre of one of the most picturesque areas of the country.
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