Things to do in Luang Prabang
Wat Xieng Thong
If you only visit one temple, make sure it’s Wat Xieng Thong. This elegant temple is one of the most important monasteries in Lao Buddhism. It also features some of the best preserved traditional temple art, particularly the glass mosaic works.
The morning market is best for sampling local dishes, such as the nem kao (steamed rice roll with meat and herb filling; similar to chee cheong fun) and the rich local coffee that’s served with a weak tea chaser. If you’re looking for the ethnic textiles and crafts Luang Prabang is known for, you’ll find a colourful variety at the night market.
Participate in the morning alms-giving ritual
This Buddhist alms-giving ceremony is a highly revered tradition where locals make offerings (usually food) to the monks. It’s important to be respectful. Always kneel while giving alms, and never intrude or interrupt the proceedings. The daily ritual usually starts at the break of dawn, just before 6am.
Kuang Si Falls
The multi-tiered Kuang Si Falls are known for their unusual turquoise water. The cascading stream collects at several shallow pools which are perfect for swimming. Best explored as a half-day trip; don’t forget to visit the bear sanctuary on your way in.
Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden
A new attraction in Luang Prabang, the botanical garden is a showcase of the country’s rich flora. It also serves as an education centre on local medicinal plants and herbs, and there’s an idyllic café on site. The experience includes a leisurely boat ride along the Mekong river, which shuttles you back and forth from the reception centre in town.