With two days in Luang Prabang, you can acquire a comprehensive overview of the city, catch a Mekong sunset, meet some monks, and enjoy a cooking class. You can also discover the local countryside with a river cruise to the Pak Ou Caves and a visit to one of the nearby waterfalls, or even a stint on an authentic farm. Here’s how.
Day 1: Discover the City
Morning: Start the day bright and early, as the locals do, by rising to see the monks collecting alms around the city and joining in the ritual for yourself. Soak up the atmosphere at a wet (produce) market, bustling long before dawn, then follow in the footsteps of Laos’ last king at the Royal Palace Museum.
Afternoon: Culture vultures will want to spend the afternoon discovering the city’s signature temples, such as Vat Visounarath and Wat Xieng Thong. Others can get a handle on Laos’ unique cuisine, with influences from Thailand, China, and even France, at a cooking class.
Evening: The colors as the sinking sun reflects in the Mekong will stay with you for a lifetime. Experience your first Luang Prabang sunset from a sunset cruise, from atop Mt. Phousi in the heart of the city, or from a simple riverside restaurant, cold Beer Lao in hand.
Day 2: Into the Wild
Morning: Continue your Mekong explorations with a classic Luang Prabang adventure: a river cruise to the Buddha-filled Pak Ou Caves. Many boats make stops at traditional villages, including Whisky Village (Ban Xang Hai) or the weaving village of Ban Xang Khong.
Afternoon: A number of scenic waterfalls tumble through the forests outside Luang Prabang. Spend your afternoon at Kuang Si Falls, a 3-tiered affair that’s also home to a bear rescue center saving bears from the cruel traditional-medicine trade. Alternatively, experience the hard work of farming rice at an authentic organic farm.
Night: Luang Prabang’s colorful night market is one of the best spots in all of Southeast Asia to shop for handicrafts. Stock up on mulberry-paper notebooks, bright silks, and embroidered bags. Wrap up your visit to the city with a fine dining feast at one of Luang Prabang’s elegant restaurants, by candlelight in a tropical garden.