Luang Prabang Tours & Holidays
Join us on a holiday to Luang Prabang
A former royal capital with roots dating back thousands of years, Luang Prabang is a lush green jewel in Laos' crown.
Nestled in a valley between the Mekong and Khan rivers, the city is surrounded by forest and has been UNESCO protected since 1994. It has seen much investment in recent years, evidenced by a burgeoning food scene and the renovation of many of the elegant villas that hark back to its French colonial past. However, despite its rich history and growing population, Luan Prabang has managed to retain a laid back, village atmosphere, providing something of a slower-paced respite compared with the bustling cities of the country's neighbours in Southeast Asia.
Home to dozens of Buddhist temples, including the royal Wat Mai and 16th-century Wat Xieng Thong, the city often plays host to throngs of saffron-robed monks. At the former Royal Palace, visitors can discover the history of this enigmatic city, as well as that of Laos, at the National Museum, while sacred Phou Si hill provides incredible views over the city. There are opportunities for river cruises, hiking, and cycling, or enjoying a more sedate afternoon watching the scenes of everyday life from an al fresco cafe.
See the highlights of this charming ancient city, as well as other spectacular Asian destinations with our expertly tailored Luang Prabang tour packages.
Things to do in Luang Prabang
With its rich history, stunning nature and fascinating culture, Luang Prabang offers something for everyone. Whether you are planning a holiday in Luang Prabang or just stopping by for the day, you'll find a great array of things to do. Here are three of the top experiences you can enjoy in the city.
Watch the morning alms ceremony
Wake up bright and early and head out to witness the Sai Bat, in which hundreds of saffron-robed monks collect food and other items from the local people. This silent practice takes place between the hours of 5am and 6am every day and makes for a spectacular viewing experience.
Visit the former Royal Palace
Built in 1904, the Royal Palace was the former home of Sisavang Vong. The palace was transformed into the National Museum in the mid-90s, with several rooms in the former residence having been preserved and an array of other artefacts on display. For an in-depth look at the collection, an audio guide is available.
Enjoy a cruise on the Mekong
Boat tours from Luang Prabang provide the chance to glimpse everyday life along the banks of the Mekong River. Journey past tiny villages and lush greenery, and enjoy a stop at the Pak Ou Caves, which are lined with ornate Buddha statues. For an even more scenic cruise, opt for a departure at sunset.
Things to see in Luang Prabang
From elegant architecture to natural scenery, Luang Prabang is home to plenty of photo-worthy spots and attractions. If you are ready to explore the most stunning and enigmatic sights in the city, here are just a few of the most scenic destinations to add to your itinerary.
Food and drink in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang has a rich food culture that encompasses French influences due to its colonial past, as well as traditional Lao cuisine. There is a wide variety of eateries here, making it possible to enjoy both fine dining and flavourful street food in Luang Prabang holidays.
Lao cuisine shares similarities with the country's neighbours, although it is less spicy than Thai food. A meal here usually includes some type of grilled dish, soup, sticky rice and leafy green vegetables. The country's national dish is larb, a salad served with stir-fried pork, chicken, beef or fish. Another staple dish is som tam, or papaya salad. Said to have originated in Luang Prabang, you'll find this salad made with fish sauce, dried shrimp and, of course papaya, on menus throughout the city. Or Lam is also a popular dish in northern Lao. While it is traditionally made with buffalo meat, some Luang Prabang eateries offer chicken as an alternative.
Street food is ubiquitous throughout the city, offering the chance to try local delicacies at almost every corner. One of the most popular and atmospheric places to sample these offerings on Luang Prabang tours is the night market, which runs through the centre of the city until around 10pm each night. Among the wide variety of dishes on offer are the famed Luang Prabang sausages, usually served with sticky rice and peppers, and khao soi - noodles with pork in a clear broth. For something sweet, try grilled bananas, coconut rice pancake, or one of the many varieties of tropical fruit shake on offer.
When it comes to specific restaurants to try in Luang Prabang, you can sample French-inspired cuisine at eateries such as Gaspard, Café de Laos and Popolo, or savour traditional flavours at the city's best Lao food venues, which include Manda de Laos, Yuni Yupoun, Bio Bamboo, and Bamboo Garden Restaurant.