We simply can’t say enough about Luang Prabang. This hidden gem, landlocked in a region bursting with jungles, valleys, and waterfalls, is truly the most enchanted and underrated place in Asia. Our two-day trip here instantly turned into a month-long stay.
The people are nothing short of amazing, the scenery… unimaginable, and we instantly felt like we were at home, even though it was a maiden voyage. The magic of this town is with us everyday. Whether it be from the lifelong Laosian friends we made, or the lasting memories we have of walking through town hand in hand. We hope that you will venture to this (nearly) untouched land.
Luang Prabang: Getting There
Oh lorrrrrrrrd. Do we have some advice for you. Whatever you do, under no circumstances, should you take the bus from Vientiane (the capital of Laos) to Luang Prabang. A trip that we initially thought would take 6 hours, took almost 13 hours! On a smelly, packed bus.
Needless to say, most of the trip is uphill (on streets that are nowhere near “up to code”). You’re consistently squeezing around cliff edges with other raggedy tour buses. After 6 bathroom breaks, a dinner break, and never-ending stops for passenger drop off and pick up, we finally ended up in Luang Prabang. At one of our bathroom stops, the bus driver walked out of the bus and escorted himself to the bathroom with an mhhhm… fully loaded machine gun. So yeah this trip is for sure sketchy at best.
The dirt cheap price of the bus ride is ever-so enticing, that’s how we got sucked in. For the most part, there are a lot more flights going into the capital city, which made it a more affordable choice. But now, thanks in part to Air Asia, you can find more direct flights from hubs such as Bangkok. Our advice, pay the extra money to land in Luang Prabang safely!
Where To Stay
We would highly recommend any traveler, whether you’re a couple, solo, or family, to stay at the Coldriver Guesthouse. A short walk to the center of town, this place has everything you could want and so much more.
For about $25 a night (depending on if you visit during high or low season) you get a clean, comfortable room, private bathroom, and complimentary breakfast. But don’t expect a granola bar and water bottle for breakfast. They hook you up! Tea or coffee, fresh fruit and yogurt, crepes, eggs or noodles, and fresh bread with jams and jelly. Yes, all of this is included with your room rate! Best part is, you get to eat breakfast out on their gorgeous terrace, bustling with butterflies and other calm travelers.
The two French expats who run Coldriver (Ruddy & Marion) are special in their own right, always ready to give recommendations and advice on this special town.
For booking information click here!
The Ballin’ Choice
Since we were staying in Luang Prabang for a month, we decided to treat ourselves to a stay in a luxurious spot. For about $120 USD, we got a full suite with a calming patio and garden, with views stretching as far as the eye could see.
We don’t really need to get into how many drinks we ordered at the pool, just know that we both fell asleep underneath the clear sky and woke up to get an hour-long Swedish massage. Ah this day was special. Even if you can only go for one night, it is so worth it to check-in to this beauty, use the amenities, and really get a taste of luxury in Laos.
For booking information click here!
Where To Eat?
Indigo– If we weren’t off on an adventure, or working, we were most likely at Indigo trying something new from their menu. To be honest, we pretty much ate here at least once everyday of our trip. We could go on for hours about their food, or their service, or their culture, but that’s for another post. With vegan & vegetarian options, bamboo hamburgers, and traditional Lao fair, we were oh so happy when we stumbled across this place. Oh and how could we forget, their wonderful pastries!
Wanna know more about Indigo Farms? Check out our full guide here!
Ock Pop Tok– Over looking the Mekong River, this restaurant is quirky, vibrant, and delicious. The atmosphere is relaxing, yet the constant movement of the river makes it feel very lively. Serving up everything from pasta dishes and smoothies, to traditional Lao dishes, this place has to be on your list.
Street Food- We won’t name any names, but some of us are a little more inclined to eat street food than others. No judgment, depending on where you fall on that. Just know that if you are going to try street food anywhere in Asia, Laos just might be your spot. We had spicy noodle soup (more than once) at a mismatched picnic table in Luang Prabang, and it was everything!
What to Do?
Kuang Si Waterfall– We rented a moped and traveled to Kuang Si Waterfall for an unforgettable time. Hike up the cliff, bring a lunch, and stay all day. Swim in the foamy clear pools, lounge in the cool shade, and think about how LUCKY you are to experience something so special. For the full scoop on our Kuang Si trip check this out.
Nahm Dong Park– On a lazy Sunday afternoon we explored this park (that was brand new at the time) and had the best time out in nature, just the two of us. Every couple of meters you will notice Lao families enjoying picnics together, playing in the water and soaking in the sun. With waterfalls, bridges, trails, and tons of plants and flora, it’s a nature-lovers paradise. If you’re interested in checking out this awesome park, read our full tour guide HERE for more info!
Utopia– “Groovy by day, Zen by night” is their slogan, and yeah we totally agree with that. During the day you will see travelers napping, reading and snacking. All while sitting underneath a bristle canopy which hovers over the banks of the Nham Khan River. At night, this place is buzzing with the “party” crowd, ready to drink and chill in the candlelit garden. Utopia also hosts yoga classes out on their deck. The yoga was absolutely amazing, with the sun setting over the river during our sun salutations. We highly recommend stopping by for drinks, yoga, or drinks after yoga.
There’s something spiritual about being in Luang Prabang. You can feel it whether you take a quiet bike ride around town or trek through ravenous waterfalls. There is so much to discover here, get your tickets and go!
“You will see in the world, what you carry in your heart.”