Why Luang Prabang is the perfect place for the non-touristy digital nomad
The last part of my trip to Laos was a stay in Luang Prabang, a nice artisan and spiritual town in the north of Laos. It felt like a small town and I decided to stay for about a week. There were many plans and ideas to travel further in the north of Laos, but let’s face it… 2 weeks isn’t enough to see the whole country! So I decided to make Luang Prabang a base for a few days and rest before my travels to Vietnam. And when I come back to Laos, the other parts will be explored!
Work Hard, Play Hard
The first day in Luang Prabang I decided to take things easy. I wanted to do some work and I realised very quickly that this place is perfect for digital nomads who like to stay in one place for a bit longer. Every cafe, hotel and restaurant I went to had a great internet connection. I could even work in cafes with a stunning view over the Mekong river! So I decided to work every morning and finish some deadlines and enjoy the afternoons for some sightseeing.
What to do in Luang Prabang
The Kuang Si Waterfall
Most travellers come to Luang Prabang for the Kuang Si waterfall. And to be honest, it’s an absolute must-see! You can arrange your own transport there and a tuk-tuk will cost you around 200.000 KIP for a round trip. If you’re in a group of people this might be well worth it! I arranged transport from the hostel and paid 35.000 KIP. The downside is that the minivans go at certain hours and you will be dependant on the driver. The entrance to the waterfall is another 20.000 KIP. Bring your swimming gear as you might want to jump in the O SO blue waters!!! Watch how the emerald water streams down the gorgeous cascades and limestone rocks! And follow the forest trail to learn everything about the surrounding nature!
Rescued Moon Bears and Butterflies
At the waterfall, you’ll also see some rescued moon bears! A visit to the rescue park is included in your ticket and you can learn a lot about the bears and the preservation here. At the Kuang Si Falls, you can also visit the Butterfly Park. The entrance to this park is 30.000 KIP.
Watch the sunset over the Mekong River
The stupa on Mount Phousi was built in 1804 by King Anourat and the mountain knows many legends. I heard about visiting the stupa on Mount Phousi and I thought it would be a great place to see the sunset at the top. Well…. I wasn’t the only one with that thought… When I arrived around 16:15 it wasn’t so busy yet and I enjoyed the beautiful view of the city. But after 17:00 (another hour before the sun sets) it got to the point that is was ridiculous… If you like being poked by selfie-sticks, being slammed by backpacks and being shouted at for taking 2” of space, by all means, watch the sunset here! But I left beforehand as it was mayhem to me and decided to walk down the Mekong River instead. Here I was pretty much by myself and I could enjoy a private sunset during a little stroll along the river banks! You can also take a tour by slow boat between 4-6 PM and enjoy the sunset from the water.
The Night Market and Dinner
After a beautiful sunset, you can walk down the Night Market. You’ll find beautiful handicrafts here such as bags, clothes and accessories. But it is also a great place to have some food! In the little alleyways, you can get a buffet for 20.000 KIP for example. And the street food vendors just outside of the market charge as little as 10.000 KIP for a hot meal! Enjoy it with a freshly squeezed juice for another 10.000 KIP and you’re all set! Of course, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants in Luang Prabang and you can find anything here from Lao cuisine to western food and other Asian specialities.
The Alms Giving Ceremony
Are you ready to get up at 5 AM? Walk down to the Xiengthong Wat to see the Alms Giving Ceremony, a long-standing Laos Buddhist tradition, during sunrise. Every morning between 5:30-7 AM, the monks walk down the street and Buddhists will distribute sticky rice. You can buy sticky rice from the vendors on the streets or beforehand on the market. The ceremony is totally free of charge and everyone can join, however, there are some rules that you should adhere too. At first glance, it becomes clear that people forgot this isn’t some tourist attraction. I’ve seen a bunch of people pushing camera’s into monks faces and or using the flash on their mobile phones. It is hugely distracting and rude. You can participate in the offerings but do so respectfully and it goes without saying that you should be appropriately dressed. Enjoy the ceremony in silence and experience this extraordinary experience. After the ceremony, you can walk over to the morning market where you’ll find fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and fish.
Pak Ou Caves
The cave is known as the thousand Buddha cave due to the thousands of golden Buddha statues brought by devotees. Take a slow boat from Luang Prabang to visit this holy place. Or you can drive to a nearby village and take a boat from there.
Rent a scooter or bike
If you like making your own plans and have your own schedule, I would highly recommend renting a bicycle or motorbike. This way you can visit the Kuang Si Waterfalls by yourself but also explore the areas around Luang Prabang.
Luang Prabang has about 30 Wats and Wat Xieng Thong is a must-see. It is one of the holiest temples in Luang Prabang and has beautiful wooden facades.
You can also visit the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre or the Botanical Gardens. Or maybe you’d like to visit the former royal palace, Haw Kham!
How to get to Luang Prabang
I took a bus from Vang Vieng and paid 80.000 KIP for the bus. It took around 5-6 hours to arrive and the views along the way were stunning! We stopped along the pass and had a fantastic view of the mountains! You can also take a bus from Vientiane.
Disclaimer: To be fully transparent, please note that this blog post contains affiliate links and some purchases made through such links might result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you). Not all links are affiliate links as I just want to share knowledge and tips with my readers and this blog is not aimed to make a ton of money! However, every little helps of course to fund future travels.