Luang Prabang

A charming, idyllic town in Northern Laos, Luang Prabang is often considered the jewel of South East Asia. The iconic images of monks in orange robes, night markets filled with handmade goods, and steaming delicious noodles can all be derived from this lovely little place.

Luang Prabang is perfect to explore by bike. There are some hills here and there, but most of the attractions and sights are within a close distance of one another so it’s not too much work to get from one place to the next.

Our first stop was the Royal Palace, which cost $3.75 to explore. The grounds are fairly large and fun to explore – there’s a pond full of large ravenous fish that you can feed, as well as a royal car exhibition.

The next two places we visited were Wat Xieng Thong and Wat Wisunarat. Both wats were stunning, but Wat Xieng Thong was unique in the sparkly and colourful mosaics that covered the buildings. There were many friendly monks who were interested in chatting with us as best as they could. At one point, we even helped some young monks collect a couple hard-to-reach mangoes.


Throughout our time in Asia, we visited every single city’s night market. After a bit of time, these night markets got boring and predictable, with most markets having the same type of products. My faith was restored upon meandering amongst the lanes and allies of Luang Prabang’s market. The handicrafts were so unique, and the market was just the right size to explore. The best part of the market was stopping by an elderly lady’s stall who was selling various liquers and wines, and was quite willing to give us as many samples as we wanted!

Our second day in Luang Prabang was spent at the Kuang Si Waterfall, a one hour ride from our hotel through twists, turns, and awe-inspiring sights. We were lucky to be travelling in a group of 6 at this point, since the tuk-tuk cost a $20 flat rate to get to the falls and back.

What surprised me most was that there was more than one waterfall – there were many! The main waterfall at the very end of the path doesn’t lead into a river, but into many smaller levels of waterfalls. The smaller levels create four or five lagoons that you can swim in, relaxing in the clear turquoise waters. The water was very cold, and there are tiny fishes that love biting at your dead skin, but the surroundings were too beautiful for me to mind too much.

There’s an option to climb to the top of the falls, but there isn’t much to see from there. I was expecting a jaw-dropping view of the waterfall from the top, but there was only a small lagoon and some peek-a-boo views of the surrounding landscape.

Highs: Atmoshpere, night market, bicycling through the town

Lows: More tourists which means slightly marked-up prices for transportation and admission