Boasting a mellow atmosphere in stunning, scenic surroundings, Luang Prabang in Laos is a far cry from the alcohol-fueled mania, which encapsulates the tourist-oriented town of Vang Vieng 6 hours further south.
Peppered with shimmering temples, outstanding markets and enchanting scenery, this city is the perfect pit-stop in Laos, for a touch of relaxation and TLC.
Here are my pick of the top four things to see/do in this blissful city:
Visit Kuang Si Falls
Located around 30km from the centre of Luang Prabang, Kuang Si Falls is a cascading dream of refreshing turquoise water surrounded by limestone ledges, Tarzan-esque vines and silky green vegetation.
Spend your morning lulling in the lagoon, followed by an indulgent picnic and a wander around the bear rescue centre next door. What more could you want from a day out?
Explore the night market
At around 5pm every evening, Luang Prabang’s authentic night market ‘opens its doors’ to tourists and locals alike. Selling everything from intricate paintings, ceramics and antiques to exquisite textiles, coffee and tea, this market leaves you wishing you’d bought a separate backpack travelling, just for souvenirs.
Located along Sisavangvong Road, close to the Royal Palace Museum, this market is a must visit whilst in Luang Prabang, even if it’s just to soak up the surroundings and have a nosy and wander.
Rent a bike
Everyone’s gotta love a good bike ride… and when you’re encompassed by the magnificent Mekong River, ample amounts of admirable temples and quaint, crumbling architecture, you’re going to need a fast means of transport to ensure you can cover it all…
Cross the bamboo bridge and relax by the Mekong River
Whilst aimlessly roaming alongside the Mekong River on our bikes, my travelling companion (big-up to Kristie *she’s been requesting a mention since I started this blog*) and I stumbled upon, what looked like, a rickety bamboo bridge leading to the other side of the river. Intrigued, we dumped our bikes, paid the 50p (approx) entrance fee and wobbled our way across to the other side.
What we discovered was a ‘beach’ of some sort, where both tourists and locals were relaxing, soaking up the sun and cooling off in the water. We perched on the coarse sand as we watched a group of American’s playing, splashing and laughing in the river with a couple of local children.
Due to the rainy season, the bridge is only in place for 6 months of the year. However, if you’re lucky enough to be visiting when it is in place, make sure you take time to escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre to explore the tranquil parallel on the other side of the bamboo bridge.