10 things to see and do in Luang Prabang, the great jewel of Laos


what to see and do in luang prabang

On the banks of the majestic Mekong, in the heart of Laos, lies a unique place. We talk about Luang prabang, the great jewel of the country and without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in all of Southeast Asia. Its streets and avenues intermingle buildings from the French colonial era with beautiful and colorful Buddhist temples. Those same streets, where uniformed monks in their orange robes march every morning, at sunset become lively markets, now full of backpackers. Do you want to know what this corner of Asia hides? Here we tell you 10 things to see and do in Luang Prabang without fail.

Before we start, let us give you a tip: if you have the opportunity, arrive by boat. We did it like this, from the silent and sleepy town of Muang Ngoi Neua and we can’t imagine a better way to start discovering this city. When, after navigating the last km through the mythical Mekong, we set foot in the “port” (if it can be called that) we knew that Luang Prabang was a special city.

Now yes, we start the virtual visit:

1. One of the best things to see and do in Luang Prabang is to charge yourself with energy (and water) to climb the steps to the top of the Phou Si Mountain, a mountain of about 100 meters that is located right in the center of the city. Once upstairs two things await you: the Wat That Chomsi temple and beautiful views of the calm Mekong River.

Phou Si Mountain Luang Prabang

2. Another must-see experience is attending the alms ceremony, which takes place every day first thing in the morning. And when we say first thing in the morning we mean very first hour: neither more nor less than sunrise. And why should you wake up with the chickens? Because it is the moment when Buddhist monks begin a silent procession that dyes the streets saffron. It is a Buddhist tradition, the Tak bak, in which the inhabitants give the monks offerings (usually rice and fruit) in exchange for blessings. If you want you can participate in the ritual with this tour.

Buddhist monks alms ceremony

3. We already anticipate that Luang Prabang hides among its tree-lined streets a few Buddhist temples (more than 50). You will not be able to visit all of them, but at least these cannot be missed: the Wat Xieng Thong, probably the most beautiful of all with a spectacular golden facade; the Wat May Souvannapoumaram; the Wat Wisunarat; and the Wat Xieng Mouane that we personally love. But as we say, there are loads so take a whole day to go to temples. Be careful, some charge entry (€ 0.50-2).