I was asked for some personal tips by fellow travellers (and adventurers!) about Luang Prabang, and I thought I'd share some of what I know here.
I'm no expert, and I'll likely make mistakes and omit some good places that I haven't tried or been to. I managed to visit and experience these places during my 2-week stay in October 2022, and because I slow travel and I don't have a list to check off and rush through, this list is far from complete. Here goes.
First, an overview.
The old town of Luang Prabang is a small peninsular, connected to the other side of the Nam Khan river in 3 ways that I know of. 1. The Bamboo Bridge which you can walk across to the Dyen Sabai Restaurant 2. The Old French Bridge which only allows bicycles and motorbikes
3. The "new" bridge where cars can cross.
If you're driving a car, take note that Google Maps will suggest a route across the Old French Bridge, which is a no-go for cars and you will have to do a 3-point turn to get out of the street heading towards the Old French Bridge. I made the mistake twice!
For places to stay, I would suggest the Old Town, in a location that ideally faces the Mekong and the direction where the sun sets. It makes it easy to walk to the cafes and restaurants along and facing the Mekong river, and it's within walking distance to Sakkaline Road where most restaurants and bars are, plus the Night Market street.
These are some of the things I did and places I visited, that might be of interest to you too if you're visiting Luang Prabang. :)
Khopfa Mekong Cruise
It's a sunset cruise on a beautiful boat, and the experience to me is a must.
I love this cafe for the view of where the Nam Khan river meets the Mekong.
Best french bakery in town. it's packed in the mornings and the baguettes and croissants are amazing.
Good coffee, and helping the hill tribes. Morning coffee looking at the river is one of the highlights for me.
View Khem Khong
Good mid-range guesthouse with a beautiful dog and 5 cats. The lady owner's name is Am Pai, and the dog's name is Am Pao! :) Apple Guest House
For those on a budget. Clean rooms run by a family in a quiet side street.
The Belle Rive Terrace
Good breakfast, river view with sofas and there are also tables below in the garden.
LPMC Bar & Restaurant
Nice place for a drink, and Nila, the lady boss is friendly, cool, speaks good English, and she rides. LPMC stands for Luang Prabang Motorcycle Club.
The best place apparently to watch the morning alms-giving ceremony from, although I missed it as I always wake up too late.
A popular restaurant & bar, nice drinks, good vibes.
A nice restaurant & bar, good drinks, chilled vibes.
Tangor Bar and Restaurant
Oriental-themed restaurant and bar. I like the Wong Kar Wai vibe.
Every evening the stretch of road in front of Phousi Hill closes and it comes alive as a night market. There is a popular food square at the other end.
One of the best local restaurants I've come across in Luang Prabang. The food is good and very reasonably priced!
Ms Eng Pharmacy
When there is a need, this is the place!
D&T Shopping Mall
Where you can get most of the stuff you need, from shampoo, alcohol, and snacks to toiletries and other stuff.
The most popular bar in Luang Prabang. Locals and backpackers, with a pool table and semi-party vibe.
Old French Bridge
Beautiful 100-year-old bridge packed with motorcycles crossing it. Walk the bridge on the sides - it's quite a thrill!
Dyen Sabai Restaurant
Chilled restaurant across the river accessible via the bamboo bridge - very laid back and chilled.
The Fat Cat
A local dive bar loved by local ex-pats - good western food, good music, away from the tourist spots.
A skateboarding-inspired cafe/bar with an awesome view of the sunset over the Mekong.
The one and only (as far as I know) late-night place that serves drinks and of course pasta. Most bars close at 11-1130pm, Redbul maybe slightly later, and if you want to continue imbibing/hanging out, it's either the bowling alley (yes, midnight bowling until 2am with drinks!) or this place. The last time I visited I left at 4am and it was still going.
Good restaurant, delicious food on Sakkaline Road. Upstairs is quieter if you prefer a more intimate setting.
Kuang Si Waterfalls
One of the best waterfalls in South East Asia. Unmissable.
A climb for fitness and for the sunset views from the top.
I've tagged the locations above in the map below for easier reference.
I will be updating this when I return to Luang Prabang again. In the meantime, please share any other tips I might have missed in the comments too if you can. It'll be helpful for me too! Cheers