5 things to do in Luang Prabang for a budget backpacker
5 things to do in Luang Prabang: Luang Prabang is the final destination of the famous slowboat ride from Houayxay. Its beautiful old town center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s full of beautiful cafes and restaurants. This means it can be really pricey for a budget backpacker like me and you. So I want to share how I enjoyed my time in Luang Prabang without spending too much money.
1. Enjoy cold water swimming at Kuang Si Falls
Going to Kuang Si Falls is the most exciting and sexiest item on my things to do in Luang Prabang list. And it’s one of the most popular activities for anyone who visits Luang Prabang. You can see the beautiful emerald-colored water and swim in cold cold water at Kuang Si Falls! It’s going to be really refreshing after swimming.
To check entrance fee, opening hours, how to get to Kuang Si Falls, click here.
2. Visit Luang Prabang night market (Free)
If you started to travel in Thailand and enjoyed Thai food, you may find difficult to find good food here in Luang Prabang except for sandwiches and noodles. At Luang Prabang night market, you can eat at vegetarian food stalls, spring rolls, and different smoked food sticks.
You can also buy warm jackets printed Laos flag, cute dresses, nice scarves and here. But everything in here in Laos especially in here in Luang Prabang seems very expensive at first, so you should bargain hard even it’s food. (I bought a cute dress after bargaining 15-20 minutes and made it to get it on half of the price the seller suggested at first.)
- Location: It’s on Sisavangvong road. (stretched to Royal Palace) It’s pretty easy to find. If you can’t, you can simply ask locals. Then, you’ll find out.
- opening hours: 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm
3.Enjoy the 360 views of Luang Prabang at the Phou Si Hill (20,000 kip)
If you want to see 360 degree views of Luang Prabang, going up to the Phou Si Hill is a perfect thing to do. Phou Si means a sacred hill. On the way to the top, you can see different Buddha statues and there’s also That Chomsi Pagoda at the top of the hill. It’s famous place to watch the sunrise and sunset. It is about 100 meters high and it takes about 15 minutes to go to the top. Climbing up to the top of Phou Si Hill can be the toughest among 5 things to do in Luang Prabang, but it’s worth climbing when you see the view from the top.
To check entrance fee, opening hours, how to get to Phou Si Hill, click here.
4. Visit Laos temples & Tak Bat
A must-see temple: Wat Xieng Thong (20,000 kip)
Even though you’re not a big fan of temples, it’s good to visit at least one famous temple like Wat Xieng Thong.
- Opening hours: 8 am – 5 pm
- Location: click here to see the map.
- Tip: You have to wear appropriate clothes to go into the temple like other temples. If you don’t, you can rent a clothes at the entrance. (Just bring your scarf to cover your shoulder.)
small temples around the city
There are many temples around the whole city like Chiang Mai. Take a map or phone (Google Maps), explore small temples. They are less crowded, and you don’t even have to pay for the entrance fee. Sounds perfect for a budget backpackers like you and me, right? 😉
*If you’ve been reading my other posts, you know I’m not a huge fan of temples with a lot of people. If you are my kind of person, I recommend you visit quite and peaceful small temples instead of flashy big temples with many tourists.
Watch Tak Bat ceremony in Luang Prabang (controversial)
Tak Bat is a sacred ceremony of giving of alms to monks. It starts at 6:00 am from Wat Xieng Muan on Th Sisavangvong (on the main road of Luang Prabang). Watching Tak Bat ceremony is definitely on must-see lists in Luang Prabang. But I’m not sure whether I should recommend you see it or not.
I read controversial articles about Tak Bat that a sacred tradition turned into nothing more than a religious circus show. You’ll find out what I mean when you watch Tak Bat ceremony in front of your eyes. (I guess this is why I couldn’t get up at 6 in the morning to watch a ceremony……)
People who participate in Tak Bat ceremony are supposed to offer monks something important or meaningful to them but street vendors sell food to tourists, tourists use flash to take photos, and interrupt the ceremony. I don’t think tourists mean to ruin the holy ceremony, but they are definitely responsible for it.
I actually recommend that you should see Tak Bat ceremony in other places of Laos. I happened to watch the ceremony on my way to take slow boat in Huay Xai around 7 am. Young monks in orange robes carrying their bowls walked in files. Villagers knelt down on the ground and waited for the monks in front of their houses. They offered monks food like sticky rice, fruits with genuine respect. It was very interesting to watch. But the one who makes a decision is you. You have every right to do what’s best for you. I believe you’ll find a way to enjoy Tak Bat ceremony. : )
5.Watch the sunset of Mekong (Free & my favorite)
Watching the sunset every day the nearby Mekong was my favorite thing in 5 things to do in Luang Prabang on a budget list to me. It was free to watch the sunset. The sunsets were different literally every day. So don’t expect the sunset you’ve seen yesterday would be the same as today’s. My ritual every day was to go to one of Mekong river bars on Khem Khong street (click here to see the location on the map), order one bottle of Beerlao and watch the miracle that sun, sky, and the clouds created.
- The location of Mekong river bars: Click to see the map and follow the direction. Go straight down on Kitsalat Rd to Khem Kong and then there are Mekong river bars on the left and right. So walk around and find the right place for you to enjoy the beautiful sunset.
- Tip: Usually, river bars charge 15,000 kip for a big bottle of Beerlao, but if you search more, you can find a river bar selling a big bottle of Beerlao for 10,000 kip. (= $1.23 = 1.11 euro =44 baht)
Thank you for visiting Explore Your Life Now. I hope 5 things to do in Luang Prabang on a budget helps you enjoy your time in Luang Prabang better. If you have any questions about traveling Southeast Asia, don’t hesitate to visit my facebook and send me messages! I’ll help you as best as I can! 🙂
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