There are few places in Southeast Asia that are as compact yet atmospheric as Luang Prabang. Small ancient temples and the former royal palace are possible to see on foot in just a day. But it would be a disservice to never venture out of the main stretch. Complete the LP experience by leaving the comfort of Sisavongvang Road’s colonial buildings for a fuller picture of Lao culture and history.
Even if you’re not keen on taking lessons in weaving or dyeing, Ock Pop Tok is a wonderful place to discover how Lao silk is made or to try your hand at weaving. When you’re done, sample some local food at its riverside cafe.
Step into the dark years of Lao history at UXO Lao Visitor Centre and learn how unexploded ordnance crippled the development of this landlocked country during the Vietnam War.
The silk weaving village of Ban Phanom has a cooperative with prices much lower than the night market. Support the villagers and save on souvenirs at the same time.
The gilded Wat Pa Phon Pao, located on a hilltop, offers views of the city amidst a leafy green setting for meditation.
It should be mandatory to visit the multi-level Kuang Si Falls, the best-known natural attraction in Luang Prabang.
On a Mekong River cruise, a stop at Ban Xang Hai (whisky village) is synonymous with meandering through dusty streets lined with humble souvenir stalls, mostly selling shawls, scarves and sinh (tube skirts), with the occasional table of strange whisky bottles infused with scorpions, snakes and sun bear paws.
The Pak Ou Caves are the highlight of the Mekong River cruise. These two caves house thousands of Buddha images collected over the centuries.
Picturesque but largely underutilised, Luang Prabang Golf Course should be of interest to those looking for to tee off away from the conventional golf destinations.
Green Jungle Flight isn’t on the usual tourist route, but it’s an undiscovered gem that should bring adventure seekers downstream from Luang Prabang for its zipline course on the green canopy trail.