Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is the jewel on the Mekong, a protected UNESCO World Heritage site in the warm heart of Indochina. Luang Prabang is our home town and the base for exciting  motorbike adventure tours. A great area for all who love to explore the untouched, the rough, the far away… If you come to Luang Prabang you may want to do a few more activities. We here list some idea for you… 

This is a small list of highlights found in and around Luang Prabang (also spelled Luang Phabang). Luang Prabang offers many activities and sights to visit; these are just a few of them and we surely soon extend this list!! The sights listed here can be visited in different combinations on day trips. These offer individual experiences and are a good way to explore the beautiful area around town. Most sites and activities can be reached by bike or with our adventure or city exploration tours. And check out our videos, which provide visual information about Luang Prabang!

Luang Prabang town, a protected UNESCO World Heritage site since 1995, is truly a jewel of Indochina. Once the capital of kings and an important stop along river trade lines, it’s became a place of interest for visitors from all over the world. The ancient royal city is surrounded by misty mountains that surround this junction of the Mekong and the Nam Khan rivers. The center of town sits on a peninsula at an altitude of 300 meter above sea level. Here we find ancient buildings, monasteries, and temples, and the old royal palace. In the middle of the small city is Mount Phousi, with stunning views of the surrounding temples and hills. Luang Prabang is a provincial city where time still seems to stand still. As part of the UNESCO reconstruction plan, new buildings have been limited and old houses and streets are maintained, helping keep Luang Prabang a magical place.

Kuang Si Waterfall Following the road south, a magnificent waterfall offers a day of discovery and perfect place to hang out in the sun. The waterfall is about 30 km away from town, and is also home to a bear protection project and a rescued tiger in a huge open-air cage. There are small food stalls so you can picnic and linger as long as you like. Tuk-tuks and cars offer services to and from the waterfall, as it is the most famous out of town attraction near Luang Prabang. Biking tours and trekking arrangements can be combined with the waterfall visit, as well as multi-day tours with trekking and home stays.

Elephant Village – Elephant Project Xiem Lom Since Luang Prabang was once the capital of the “Land of a Thousand Elephants” (Lane Xang) a trip to see these mighty beasts seems only fitting. The Elephant Village, a private project with former logging elephants, offers wonderful elephant rides through the countryside, nature walks, and other activity packages having to do with elephants. A visit to Tad Sae Waterfall is always in reach, as it’s just a ten-minute boat ride up the river. Nature trails and other activity options are on offer at the project.

Tad Sae Waterfall Crystal clear waters cascade over multilevel limestone formations, ending in pools surrounded by tropical trees and plants. Tad Sae is an ideal place for swimming and relaxing and a great place to get away from the crowd. The nearby river and the lush green surroundings are another beautiful place outside of town that cannot be reached by road. Instead, you can take a boat from Ban En or book a day trip that can also include trekking and elephant rides. If you want to spend a night away from town, our Lao Spirit Resort is just 15 minutes from the falls.

Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center : So you’re interested in the mix of ethnicities and cultures in Laos? Visit the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center (TAEC Laos), which features information and exhibits on clothing, handicrafts, baskets, and religious artifacts from seven different ethnic groups who make their home in Northern Laos.  The exhibition center also has a museum shop where you can buy community handicrafts and the Patio Cafe where you can browse books on anthropology and culture while sipping an espresso made from coffee beans grown in Laos. Guided tours and seminars are also available. Wat Pa

Phon Phao This forest temple is famous for the teachings of Ajahn Saisamut. When he died in 1992, his funeral was the largest that Laos had seen in decades. The temple’s Santi Chedi (Peace Pagoda) was built in 1988. This large yellow stupa contains three inner levels and an outside terrace with a view of the surrounding plains. The inside walls are painted with Buddhist stories and moral admonitions. You can easily reach this temple on a bike or in a tuk-tuk. It’s on the way to the Luang Prabang Airport.

Ban Panom Weaving Village This village, populated by Thai Lue (a tribe with origins in Southern China ), is well known for hand-woven cotton and silk. Most of the women from the village come into Luang Prabang for the town’s popular evening market, but during the day you can see them weaving silk and cotton on traditional looms. Beautiful scarves another other clothes with both new and ancient patterns can be seen in Ban Panom.

Henry Mouhot’s Gravesite This is the tomb of the French explorer who revealed Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat to the world. Henry Mouhot died of malaria here in 1861, and the French erected a tomb over his grave six years later. The last entry in his journal was ‘Have pity on me, oh my God’. Neglected for decades, his engraved tomb was found by foreign aid staff in 1990. Today it is a nice half day trip along the riverbank of the Nam Khan and mountain bike tours as well as kayakers often pass by for a short stop while exploring Luang Prabang’s natural surroundings. Tiger Trail combines visits to this site with some other adventure package tours around Luang Prabang

Whisky Village Near Luang Prabang Ban Xang Hai means jar-maker village. At one time, that was the industry here. Now the jars are brought in and the small community fills them with the white whisky (Lao Lao) that they make in the village. Archeologists have excavated pots beneath the village that could be 2000 or more years old. If you want to try some of the finest and strongest Lao Lao there is, you should take a trip here. (It’s best to go closer to midday or later if you want to try the local Lao Lao.)

Pak Ou Caves on the Mekong This is an all time favorite. To get to these famous caves, you travel by boat about 25 km upstream from Luang Prabang to a limestone cliff that stands at the mouth of the Nam Ou River. The boat ride is a highlight in itself, traveling along the ancient Mekong and through the forests and cliffs on either side of it. The two caves that make up the Pak Ou Caves are filled with Buddha images of all styles and sizes. Both caves are accesed by stairs. The lower cave is naturally lit well enough to walk around, but bring or rent a torch to explore the deeper, darker upper cave.

Best view from Luang Prabang: Mount Phousi and Wat That Chom Sii This hill and the wat atop it sit at the beginning of the peninsula of old Luang Prabang. You can see the temple’s gold-spired stupa from most of the town. Climbing the 300 steps up to a peak of 150 meters gives you spectacular views of the city and surrounding countryside. Though the climb might be tiring, the view is certainly worth the sweat. Looking out into the countryside you can see mountains everywhere, the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, and the location of the former king’s residence. You can also see the old Royal Palace, now a museum, old houses, and surrounding villages. It’s justifiably a famous sunset spot, but it’s also worth seeing in the early morning when there are fewer people about.