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3 Days In Luang Prabang: A Perfect Luang Prabang Itinerary

Luang Prabang is a beautiful city in Laos known for its many (Buddhist) temples. Until 1975 when Vientiane became the seat of the Lao government, Luang Prabang was the capital.

With a history dating back to the 7th century, it's easy to see why Luang Prabang is such a special place and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This 3 days in Luang Prabang itinerary will help you plan your trip and make the most of your visit to this unique city in Laos.

3 days in Luang Prabang (travel itinerary)

10 Things To Do In Luang Prabang Laos

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Things to know before traveling to Luang Prabang

What is the best time to visit Luang Prabang?

The best time to travel to Luang Prabang is between October and March, with January-February being the peak season. During these months, temperatures are generally comfortable and precipitation is low.

We visited Laos at the start of May and while it didn't bother us too much, it was quite hot and humid. We only had an occasional shower, however, note that the wet season is between May and October.

Which currency is used in Luang Prabang?

The official currency in Laos is the Laotian Kip (LAK). At the time of writing €1 is approximately 10.000LAK and $1 around 9.000LAK. Here you can find the current exchange rates

How to get to Luang Prabang?

Many travelers arrive in Luang Prabang via slow boat from Huai Xay (read more information in our Laos itinerary).

If you're coming from the South (Vang Vieng or Vientiane), the easiest way to travel to Luang Prabang is by minivan. You can easily book your transfer online.

How to get around in Luang Prabang?

The city centre is very compact and you can easily walk to many of the Luang Prabang attractions mentioned in this itinerary.

However, if you are tired of walking, you can also rent a bike or hop into one of the many tuk-tuks.

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What to do in Luang Prabang: map

Click here for the interactive map

3 days in Laos: day-by-day itinerary

  • Day 1: visit (several of) the beautiful temples, cross the rickety bamboo bridge over the river, eat a peanut butter ice cream at Joma, climb Phu Si Mountain, and stroll around the local market
  • Day 2: Mountain bike to the Kuang Si waterfalls and sweat and steam in the Red Cross sauna.
  • Day 3: Visit the UXO museum, chill out at Utopia, and watch the sunset over the Mekong River
Sunset over the Mekong river in Luang Prabang Laos

Where to stay in Luang Prabang

Elephant Boutique Hotel☆☆☆9US$21Click hereClick here
Souphattra Hotel☆☆☆☆9.4US$75Click hereClick here
Satri House Secret Retreats☆☆☆☆☆9.3US$120Click hereClick here

Note: Prices for these hotels depend on the time of year and how far in advance you book. Therefore, the prices mentioned above are a rough indication of the price per night to help you compare the different options. Use ‘click here' to see the latest prices on Agoda and Booking and book ahead to get the best deal.

Elephant Boutique Hotel ☆☆☆

Elephant Boutique Hotel is an excellent place to stay in Luang Prabang for travelers on a budget.

The rooms are clean, the beds are comfortable and the staff is very nice. Plus, it's situated in the center of town and only a 5-minute walk to the night market.

Book via Agoda | Book via Booking

Souphattra Hotel ☆☆☆☆

Souphattra Hotel is a perfect place to spend the night. With a modern design, a large swimming pool, and spacious rooms this 4-star hotel in Luang Prabang is an excellent choice.

Breakfast is included in the price and the top-notch service will make sure you'll want to stay forever.

Book via Agoda | Book via Booking

Satri House Secret Retreats ☆☆☆☆☆

If you're looking for an unforgettable stay in Luang Prabang, Satri House Secret Retreats is the place to go.

This 5-star colonial-style Satri House has not one, but two swimming pools, beautifully designed rooms, and many facilities (such as a spa, gym, and lovely gardens).

As the former residence of Prince Souphanouvon, this beautiful place is lavishly decorated and very well maintained.

What's more, the courteous staff goes out of their way to accommodate any request you may have during your stay.

Book via Agoda | Book via Booking

Luang Prabang day 1

Admire the beautiful temples

One of the top things to do in Luang Prabang is to explore the many beautiful temples. Instead of following a strict itinerary, just stroll around the streets of Luang Prabang and you'll find them.

Alternatively, check this map or the Laos Lonely Planet for an extensive list. There are lots of temples that are worth visiting, however, three of the most popular ones are:

  • The Royal Temple: the official name of this temple is Haw Pha Bang. This beautiful temple isn't very old (it was finished in 2006), however, it is very important to the city. Inside you can find the Phra Bang Buddha, the statue that gave the city of Luang Prabang its name.
  • Wat Xieng Thong: an ancient temple that was built in the 1500s and is very well preserved. This ornate temple is intricately decorated, as are many of the surrounding buildings. Definitely one of the finest examples of Buddhist temples in Laos.
  • Wat Wisunalat: this is the oldest temple in Luang Prabang (dating from 1512). The most impressive part of the temple complex is the That Pathum, a large stupa built in the typical Singhalese style.

Please note that while many temples (but not all) are free to visit, a donation is appreciated and mandatory at some.

Important: be sure to dress and behave respectfully in these places of worship and take off your shoes before entering.

Cross the rickety bamboo bridge

things to do in luang prabang

This bridge is rebuilt every year when the rainy season ends, usually in a couple of days! During the dry season, you can use this bridge to cross the Nam Khan River.

Once the rainy season starts again, the bridge is flooded and destroyed by the massive amounts of water in the mighty Mekong River and its tributaries.

Eat a peanut butter ice cream at Joma

Joma has too many delicious things… Yes, it's rather expensive for Southeast Asia, but it's also really really tasty!

It's a good place to start your day, we usually had coffee at Joma in the morning and received a coupon for a 50% discount on snacks and sweets (including ice cream) after 2 pm.

Read about the best things to do in Luang Prabang, Laos. Luang Prabang is known for its many temples, but there are many other fun activities to do in this beautiful and laidback village in Northern Laos. #LuangPrabang #Laos #SEAsia

Climb Phu Si Mountain

View Phu Si Mountain Luang Prabang Laos

For a beautiful view over Luang Prabang and the surrounding area (and for a sweaty workout), you can climb to the top of the 100-meter-high Mount Phousi.

At the top, there is a Buddhist temple called Wat Chom Si. But you climb the ‘mountain’ mostly for the stunning views!

Buddha statues Phu Si Mountain Luang Prabang Laos

Don’t descend the same way you can from (the entrance across the Royal Palace), instead take the path leading down the other side of the mountain where you will come across a lot of Buddha statues.

Mount Phu Si is also a great spot to watch the sunset, but keep in mind that it gets busy during that time of day.

Stroll around the famous Luang Prabang night market

Night Market Luang Prabang

It’s hard to resist buying things at the night market of Luang Prabang!

You can find the usual items such as hippie pants and wallets but also lots of local products, such as beautiful weavings, silks, traditional arts and crafts, embroidered purses, and handmade paper pop-up cards.

It's also a great place for dinner, there are lots of stalls selling great street food. From spicy soup to coconut pancakes and fresh fruit smoothies to meat and fish skewers, there is something for everyone.

The night market is open daily from 5 pm until 10 pm and is free to enter.

Luang Prabang day 2

Mountain bike to the Kuang Si waterfalls

I highly recommend mountain biking to Kuang Si Falls if you're into outdoor activities and have a reasonable level of fitness.

Because I live in the Netherlands, I learned to ride a bike when I was 4 years old and I am used to cycling every day.

However, the Netherlands is completely flat and the mountainous surroundings of Luang Prabang were a bit of a challenge. Particularly since the temperature was around 35 degrees Celsius (end of April)…

A word of advice: start your bike your in the early morning to avoid cycling at the hottest moment of the day.

It’s about 30km to the Kuang Si Falls from Luang Prabang and there are some steep climbs involved.

However, the scenery is gorgeous and in the little villages, children give you high fives as you pass by on your bike so it's definitely worth the effort.

The water of the Kuang Si Falls is a stunning green-blue color (because of the limestone particles) and the multilevel waterfall is an impressive sight!

I recommend hiking all the way to the top for the best views over the mountains.

Kuang Si waterfalls Luang Prabang Laos

? Kuang Si Waterfalls day trip in Luang Prabang: if you don't want to hop on a mountain bike, book this day trip instead.

Visit the Pak Ou Caves and explore Kuang Si Falls, the most beautiful waterfall in Laos. Check availability.

Visit the Red Cross sauna

After your intense day cycling to the Kuang Si waterfalls, probably all you want to do is rest your tired limbs. If so, a visit to the Red Cross sauna is recommended!

Please know that this sauna was the complete opposite of the type of sauna I was used to in Europe.

While in Europe the humidity in a sauna is generally kept very low, this sauna was literally steaming hot. I couldn’t see my hand if I held it 10cm in front of my face!

Man and women have their own saunas, you have to wear bathing clothes and you are expected to use one of the towels provided to cover yourself. You can also get a massage here.

Luang Prabang day 3

Visit the UXO museum

Laos UXO museum Luang Prabang

Unfortunately, the UXO museum was closed when we were there so we went to the COPE museum in Vientiane instead. Nevertheless, I feel this small museum about the effects of UXOs on Laos is definitely worth a visit.

I was shocked when I learned Laos has been bombed more than any other country in the world. During the Vietnam War, American bombers dropped over two million tons of cluster bombs in several areas of the country.

To make things even worse, many of these bombs are still buried in the ground today, causing lots of terrible injuries and deaths each year.

I believe it's very important to learn about the history of the country you are visiting, What's more, you can support education programs about the responsible removal of UXOs by making a donation to the museum.

Visiting the museum is free but of course, you won’t leave without supporting this museum in its mission to free Laos of UXOs.

Chill out at Utopia

At Utopia, you will find good music, a great view, a whole bunch of fellow backpackers, and an excellent menu.

Chilling at Utopia in the late afternoon, especially on your last afternoon in Luang Prabang, is definitely a great idea.

If you have enough time available in Luang Prabang, Utopia also has some nice suggestions for more activities you can do in and around town.

Do and Dont Utopia Laos Luang Prabang

Watch the sunset over the mighty Mekong River

Yes, you can watch the sunset from Phu Si Mountain but it’s usually very busy. Instead, I recommend going for a walk along the Mekong River where you can enjoy the sunset in silence…

Sunset over the Mekong river in Luang Prabang Laos

Luang Prabang travel guide: in conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed this guide to Luang Prabang. You can download the map with things to do in Luang Prabang below. Also read my other posts about Laos:

This post was updated in August 2022.


Saturday 23rd of July 2016

Hey, great list! I'm heading to Laos in a few days and am very ignorant about where to go and what to see. This is very useful, thank you :)


Saturday 23rd of July 2016

Glad I could help :-). Have a great time in Laos!


Thursday 4th of February 2016

This looks fantastic! There are so many places I haven't been to in Asia, it's almost embarrassing. I really should check out the neighboring countries. ;)


Thursday 4th of February 2016

Haha no worries Liz, there are plenty of places in Europe I haven't been either;-) But I can definitely recommend going to Laos!