Things To Do and Excursions
At sunset head to Phu Si, a 100m hill located in the centre of Luang Prabang, topped with a glistening gilded stupa -That Chomsi - that appears to float and glisten when viewed near dusk. Head up to the top and be greeted with unbeatable views of the old town and the Mekong rivers, and then wander to the nearby Wat Pa Huak, one of the few temples in Laos that hasn’t been renovated and still obtains its natural beauty.
Wat Xieng Thong:
Wat Xieng Thong is a well-known Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang, with a beautiful ‘tree of life’ mosaic on one of the walls, and grand sweeping roofs. It’s a key spot to immerse yourself in Laos’ history, religion and architecture, thanks to its grand structure and interesting past. The temple that was once host to coronations and significant annual festivities, Wat Xieng Thong is now surrounded by shrines, pavilions and stupas, and home to rare Buddhist deities.
A town full of Buddhist culture, history, architecture and beauty, Luang Prabang is a favourite town to head to in Laos. There are 33 beautiful temples to explore, or if you’re more of an adrenaline junkie you’ll enjoy exploring Pak Ou Cave or taking a bike ride to the breath-taking Kuang Si Waterfall. If you’re hoping to immerse yourself in Laos’ culture, cycle to the Hmong hill-tribe’s village and learn about their lifestyle, or learn about the conservation efforts at Elephant Village Sanctuary.
Vieng Xai Caves:
During the war years of 1964 and 1975 many Lao people; including the Pathet Lao Leadership, lived in underground caves to shelter from bomb raids. During these years, markets, hospitals, schools and even a theatre were built and lived in, and seven caves are still open today for tourists to explore. Wander through the different caves with an audio guide, which will give you expansive information about the lives lived underground, including interviews with those who survived there.
The Plain of Jars:
For a bit of mystery and some stunning views, make your way to the Plain of Jars. The Plain of Jars refers to three sites, each holding a collection of jars carved out of solid stone, dotted around the area. The mystery is that no one knows where these jars came from, but it’s a great place for gorgeous scenery and photo opportunities nonetheless. The fields around the jars offer a glimpse into the rural life of Laos, with caves, bomb craters, cattle and rice fields surrounding the mysterious pieces of stone.
Vang Vieng Tubing:
Once notorious for tourism and wild parties, tubing down the Nam Song River is now a calm, relaxing affair. There are no longer lots of bars adorning the riverside, and so tubing has resumed as a relaxing way to travel through the town. Rent a tube near the Vang Vieng Organic Farm and relax as you slowly drift along the river. It’s recommended that you visit during wet season, and it will take two hours to get back to land.