Visiting Luang Prabang – what should you do?

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Located in north central Laos on the Mekong River, Luang Prabang is a charming town that offers the perfect balance between exploration of its attractions and quiet reflection for absorbing all of the amazing things you are guaranteed to see and do while you are there. Below are some outdoor activities you can do in Luang Prabang, Laos.

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Tat Kuang Si Park and Kuang Si Falls

This is a picturesque spot 30km out of town and makes for a great half day trip. As you ascend through lush forest, you pass a series of pools where crystal clear water cascades over to create a multitude of beautiful waterfalls. Once you reach the last big one at the end of the path, don’t be daunted by the final arduous muddy climb to reach the top of it.

Tat Kuang Si Park

The spectacular view makes the climb worth it and afterwards you can reward yourself by taking a dip in the refreshing water; either by launching yourself off the rope swing or by sitting under the waterfall and feel it beating down over your back.

If you forget to pack a picnic lunch, make sure you pick up a delicious baguette from one of the stalls at the park entrance. Cheap and filling!

Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre

Before you leave the waterfalls at Tat Kuang Si Park, you will pass the ‘Free the Bears’ sanctuary which is a rescue centre. They provide rehabilitation to Asiatic Black Bears that have been illegally taken from the wild as cubs to be sold on the traditional medicine black market. Don’t forget to make a small donation if you stop to take photos and gaze at their cute antics.

The organisation doesn’t receive any fees from the ticket price to enter the park so they rely solely on donations from visitors to maintain care for these animals.

Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre

Watch the sunset from Phousi Hill

Make sure you leave the park by 4pm so you have time to get back into town and catch the stunning sunset over the Mekong River. The best vantage spot is from Phousi Hill which looms over Luang Prabang. While there are many steps to the summit, they are perfectly manageable and there are many relics and including Wat Chom Si and Wat Tham Phou Si that you can explore on your way up to help break the climb up. It can get incredibly crowded up at the top so make sure you give yourself ample time to get a good spot.

Food Street and Night Markets

Luang Prabang night market

As dusk descends, it is time to satisfy any hunger pangs by visiting the extensive Food Street where you will be overwhelmed by the vast array of culinary treats. The real piece de resistance is the vegetarian buffet where you can heap your plate for just 10,000 Kip. If you still have room afterwards, you can select some sweet morsels from the number of stalls that sell beautifully made pastries and cakes; a nod to the town’s French influence.

Afterwards you can walk off your meal by wandering around the night markets. The goods on offer is pretty stock standard stuff by south east Asian standards but the stall owners tend to leave you to your browsing which makes for a more pleasurable shopping experience.

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