Luang Prabang is a beautiful city with many things to see.
The nice thing about it is that you can find a wide range of culinary experiences from street food, to high end restaurants. There are beautiful temples everywhere. This city also has a small downtown area with lots of shops, restaurants, massage parlours, and hotels.
Every night, there is a night market in the downtown core. I think it starts at 5:00pm and lasts for about 4-5 hours. They have everything! Mostly souvenirs and clothing and stuff but it’s a really nice experience. Always remember to bargain to save money – they will usually double the price on everything.
As for nightlife, we visited 2 beautiful bars. One was very upscale and the drinks were quite expensive (North American prices) : Bar 525. It was very nice to have a change of scenery and to have delicious cocktails though. Well worth it for a nice night out with friends. The next night we went to a secluded bar called “Utopia”. I must admit the walk to get there is a little odd and sort of sketchy but once you’re there it’s worth it. It’s a beautiful outdoor bar with seating areas scattered around trees and plants and cobble stone. It’s so pretty! It’s mostly light with candles and small landscape lights – very cosy place to have some drinks.
About a 45 minute to 1 hour drive away you will find the some of the most beautiful waterfalls you’ll ever see: Kuang Si. Ice blue water and unique rock formation, these are not to be missed. You must visit these falls if you are in Luang Prabang – the drive is worth it plus it’s beautiful scenery on the way. I would recommend spending an entire day here. At first, we thought just a couple of hours would be just enough so we had our tuktuk driver meet us 2 hours later but it was not enough time at all. My friend and I ended up trekking up the waterfall to the very top; just that takes about 30 minutes. You want to spend minimum 4 hours here. There’s a lot to see nearby as well.
While you are at the falls, there is an area while trekking up that has a wooden barrier / barricade that says “keep out/do not pass” (something like that). I highly recommend breaking the rules and passing it. There’s always going to be a place for you to sneak around because people don’t pay attention to the sign. If you walk down the trail for about 2 minutes, you will find yourself in an incredible “bath” of water in the middle of the falls. It’s secluded and it’s a beautiful sight. The falls up there are also so incredible, you can actually go up and let the water fall down on your back. I learnt this from a fellow Canadian, Christian Leblanc (LostLeblanc). I definitely recommend you to follow him on YouTube for tips on Asia.
One more thing, there is a temple at the top of a mountain called Mont Phousi. It’s one hell of a trek (about 300 steps to be specific) but it’s worth it. It’s a beautiful temple and you get an incredible panoramic view of Luang Prabang. Bring tons of water because once you get to the top you will want to chug about a litre of water (especially if it’s a really hot day).
If you have any questions about Luang Prabang feel free to ask! 🙂