• A 5 Day Guide To Luang Prabang

    Laos, not usually on the tip of peoples tongues when they plan to go to Asia. And I definitely wanted to change that, for myself and others! This is my 5 day guide to Luang Prabang. When me and my parents thought about planning our January holiday this year, Laos wasn’t essentially on the top of our list.

    We knew we wanted to travel somewhere new in Asia that we hadn’t visited before but we also wanted to go back to Krabi and Bangkok. Also we wanted to plan a holiday with less flights, as last year we had about about 5 flights and 2 boats to different countries so we definitely wanted to cut this down.

    This wasn’t easy to start with, as you cannot fly directly into Laos from the United Kingdom and you have to go through a major Asian city which for us was Bangkok. Also flying out of Laos, who still have to go through a major Asian city and not directly to Krabi per say. It was also a lot easier getting our e-visas before landing rather than queuing up and paying once you arrive, so I highly recommend that.

    After a long think, we didn’t want to do too much of Thailand again and there wasn’t much else in Asia grabbing our fancy at the time other than Laos. It wasn’t going to be Vientene or Vang Vieng so the next best place was Luang Prabang.

    I didn’t have much to go on in terms of expectations as not many travel bloggers have been to Laos and especially Luang Prabang. So I definitely wasn’t disappointed when I saw it for the first time. It is essentially Thailand, years before tourism became huge and has a much chilled and relaxed vibe to it which I loved. It definitely felt ideal for solo travellers, especially females. It felt safe.

    This post contains affiliate links. Read my Privacy Policy for more information.

    A 5 DAY GUIDE TO LUANG PRABANG // WHAT WE DID & SAW

    We arrived in Luang Prabang in Laos – after a 10 hour flight from London Heathrow into Bangkok Survanabuhmi Airport and then had a 5 hour layover in the Bangkok Airways lounge before our flight to Luang Prabang took off, the flight to Luang Prabang took about 40 minutes from Bangkok. It was a very swift exit from the airport once we had landed.

    We had our evisas already done and printed so we didn’t have to queue and pay (top tip there) and picked up our luggage and picked up for the hotel transit. Our hotel minivan picked us up straight from the little airport and took us directly to the hotel. It probably takes about 30 minutes from the airport to our hotel, but could be longer due to traffic on the main roads.

    Our hotel Maison Dalabua is a gorgeous boutique hotel on 3 UNESCO protected lotus lake down a quiet street in Luang Prabang once you’ve driven through the main part of the city. All of the staff were so helpful and friendly and all spoke really good English so it was super easy to communicate.

    The hotel had a restaurant connected to it and a sister restaurant just down the road which sadly we didn’t get to try. But we got to try the twinned restaurant which I talked about in my places to eat post, linked below.

    READ MORE: 6 Places To Eat In Luang Prabang & 1 To Miss

    DAY ONE

    On our first day, which we arrived and checked into our hotel we didn’t really do much. We settled in and unpacked the clothes we needed and showered to freshen up. We had a little look around our hotel which was all pretty and lit up with lights and fairy lights and checked out the pool. We got ready for dinner and headed out to explore and found a restaurant that was on my list was literally down the road. It was probably about a 5 minute walk down the road and we arrived at 525 Tapas & Bar.

    It was very minimalist outside with stone seats and low tables with lights above, which was the perfect cozy chilled vibe and inside was the bar and dance area for later at night. Luang Prabang is quite a quiet city, with not much happening after 11pm as it’s to be respectful to the neighbours which are purely military.

    525 Tapas and another bar more into the main part of the city are the most happening when it comes to nightlife. We got talking to the general manager there James, who is originally from Newcastle who has completely lost his geordie accent but he was super lovely. He always takes the time out to talk to his guests and gets to know them more. He talked us through his menu and the best dishes to go for before we ordered our dishes.

    I ordered their Ella Rose cocktail which was delicious. For our starters, we ordered their Patatas Bravas, which came served on little spoons so you get all the flavours in one mouthful. Aubergine Bites, handmade rice cakes with blended aubergine on top. 

    For the main, we ordered Quesadillas, which we ordered the larger portion which came with 2 dips and several slices of quesadillas to share and dip in the sauces. My parents ordered Chicken Laap to share and then I ordered the Dark Choc Pots for dessert which each had a mixture of Strawberry, Caramel and Chocolate in the bottom. I loved the twist of traditional Spanish tapas mixed in with the Laotian flavours and ingredients. It was the perfect mix in such a chilled setting.

    After our meal, we headed back to our hotel to catch up on some much needed sleep after our couple days of travelling.

    DAY TWO

    On our first full day we headed to breakfast in the hotel and planned what we would do throughout the day. We took a walk through the main part of the city and down towards the river to see the Mekong Delta. Down by the river is a lot of hotels and restaurants that are owned by families as it’s the perfect tourist attraction for them to get business.

    There are plenty of boats up and down the river, offering sunset trips and trips across to the other side of the river. As we walked down the river, we came across a lovely restaurant called The Belle Rive which you can book a table to have your meal and watch sunset. We booked our meal for the next day, after stopping for a cold drink to enjoy and take in the view. The restaurant is connected to the hotel on the other side of the road, called The Belle Rive Boutique Hotel.

    After our quick stop, we walked a little further and came across a popular local morning market. It was so interesting seeing locals going about their daily jobs and seeing the fresh produce they have on offer for tourists and locals to buy. A lot of it was fresh fruit, vegetables and spices but there was the odd toy and gifts stalls seeing handmade products.

    5 day guide to luang prabang

    After exploring the market, we headed back to the hotel for dip in the pool and to relax in the early afternoon sun before heading out to dinner. The pool area in the hotel is very chilled with a few lounge bean bags which are super comfy for sleeping and sunbathing on. There is a little pool hut which you can get fresh cold water and cucumber infused water for drinking and picking up clean pool towels.

    A short walk away from the pool is the spa rooms and toilets. It got later in the afternoon and we went back to our rooms to get changed for dinner. We chose to have dinner at Main Street Bar & Grill which was about 10 minutes from our hotel and not far from the main part of the city.

    We had a table on the balcony which overlooked the main road. For dinner I chose their Fresh Spring Rolls and Tofu & Egg Vermicelli noodle broth which was delicious. After dinner, we explored the city at night and walked through the markets and checked out some delicious food stalls, especially one with the most ridiculous and yummy brownies and danishes.

    After we had walked through the markets, we came across Tangor – a restaurant on my bucketlist to try whilst in Luang Prabang. We stopped there for a nice cold drink which I had a Baileys and a lemon tart for dessert. We went to bed quite early, as we had an early morning rise for our Kuang Si trip which we planned ourselves.

    DAY THREE

    We had an early morning wake up to get breakfast and get a minivan to Kuang Si Falls. It’s always best to go early, to avoid the crowds so you have plenty of alone time swimming in the falls and pools. Kuang Si Falls is a very popular tourist attraction in Laos with it’s green waters and stunning waterfalls surrounded by nature. It’s a 3 tiered waterfal surrounded by pools and nature walks for you to enjoy. I will write more about the falls in a future post.

    Entry to the falls costs 20,000K (kip) per person and also gives you access to the wild bear conservation trust Free The Bears which is onsite. It’s a great place for the whole family to learn about the wild bears that are rescued and the horrors they have to go through from poachers and neglect from locals.

    After exploring the falls and taking lots of pictures, we headed to the buffalo farm, which was about half way heading back to the hotel. We learnt how buffalo cheese was made and got to feed and milk the buffalo. There was also rabbits and pigs on the farm which you could feed and interact with. You could also try buffalo milk ice cream which we didn’t do but it was also an option to try and buy some ice cream.

    We then headed back to the hotel to shower and get ready for dinner. We had booked our table at The Belle Rive to watch the sunset and have dinner. There was a mishap with our table but they managed to sort it out and move us to the table we had booked. I ordered fish and chips. There was so much on the menu, I just didn’t know what to order. The sunset was beautiful and there was so many boats and sunset trips going up and down the river throughout the afternoon.

    When we had finished dinner, we walked around the local area and found Nagini @ 3 Nagas for late night drinks. The decor was totally my style, with green and mustard colours, rattan furniture and palm print wallpaper everywhere. I ordered their cocktail, Phou Sao Red Lady which was delicious and gin based and I never drink gin.

    DAY FOUR

    We had a fairly early start, to get ready and picked up for our trip to Chateau Orientale to meet some wild elephants. Our hotel was the first lot to get picked up and then a few other people to join our English speaking group with a guy from Brazil, a guy who was a doctor from Italy and another guy from America who was teaching English to children in Laos. We had an hours drive to the hotel and location where we would meet the elephants. The hotel was lovely and very new but it was quite a way from everything going on in the city.

    We got introduced to the schedule and what we will be doing, also learning about how badly targetted and affected elephants are in South East Asia from poachers and people treating them badly. Then we were given these lovely waterproof boots to wear to keep our feet dry from wading in water and for walking on the uneven ground.

    The guides took us down to the river to hop into a boat with our gear in waterproof bags. The boat took us to the other side of the river, where we would walk to find the elephants we would be feeding and bathing. The set up was a little strange, as they didn’t know how many elephants they would have for us to look after for the day, one randomly turned up that morning who was pregnant. It wasn’t really a sanctuary, as they are loaned the elephants by a proper sanctuary to look after when they are pregnant.

    We had quite a walk into the jungle area to find the elephants and guide them back to the water with the mahout guides who communicate with the elephants using various vocal signals. There is no riding or whipping when it comes to moving the elephants to a new location.

    Once we reached the river again, we jumped back into the boat to reach a little island in the middle of the river to feed, bathe and take pictures of the elephants. The mahouts guided them through the river using their vocal signals and some elephants were much more stubborn than others. You couldn’t touch the elephants much as they are wild, but you could feed them bananas by hand and chuck buckets of water over them to wash them.

    We took lots of pictures and footage of the elephants and fed them lots of bananas which they loved. After feeding them, we headed back to the hotel restaurant for some cooked lunch which was pretty yummy. We were all so hungry, so we definitely had plenty of food for lunch.

    We decided to have dinner at Tangor, which was on my bucket list and it was so yummy. The three of us ordered several small starters to start with as we were so hungry from our day trip. We ordered chicken satay, falafel balls with taziki sauce and breaded prawn sticks with sweet & sour dip.

    For my main I ordered their veggie burger which was delicious and definitely hit the spot. After dinner, we sat at the front of the restaurant and had a night cap which I ordered a Baileys on the rocks.

    DAY FIVE

    It was our final morning in Luang Prabang, and we had a much needed lie in from our early morning. We had our final breakfast at the hotel before heading out to explore the last of the city and visit the Bamboo Bridge. Before we headed to the Bamboo Bridge, we wanted to climb up to Mount Phousi Hill which is a popular attraction in Luang Prabang and has great views over the city.

    To climb the stairs it costs 2,000KIP which is about 18P. It was quite a brutal hike in places, especially when the steps were very small and hard to walk on if you have big feet like me. At times it was quite steep and we had to walk sideways. But we made it to the top and it was an amazing view of Luang Prabang and you could see the mountains in the background which was awesome. There is a massive bell at the top and a small temple for the monks to pray and meditate and also do various religious activities. There is a few seating areas and benches for you to sit on and take in the views all around the mount for 360 degrees.

    When we visited the Bamboo Bridge, it costs 7,000KIP to cross which helps pay for repairs and also the family who run and built the bridge. The bridge takes you over the Mekong river to a restaurant which has great views of the view in which you can have food or cocktails (or both) and various local businesses on the otherside including a yoga studio and a textile shops.

    For our final meal, we wanted to eat at Manda de Laos which is connected to our hotel and I had heard so many bloggers rave about it when they visited it. But sadly, we were very disappointed with our experience there. You can read more about why the restaurant disappointed us in my 6 Places To Eat In Luang Prabang post.

    After dinner, we went for some final drinks at 525 Tapas as we enjoyed it there so much. James came out to see us again to say bye and have some more chats. He told us that he wouldn’t recommend Manda de Laos and the elephant place we went to. But recommended a really good one called MandaLao Elephant Conservation.


    PLEASE SHARE AND GIVE THIS POST SOME LOVE !!

    Would you visit Luang Prabang? Let me know in the comments below.

    Happy travels,

    If you enjoyed this post, I’d love you to SHARE it for me!

    CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE to my monthly newsletter for exclusive travel tips and a behind the scenes insight into my travels. And also a freebie upon signing up!

    Use THIS LINK for £34 GBP off your first booking with airbnb. Check out the AirBnBs I’ve stayed at on my AIRBNB FINDS page.

    Make sure you check out my TRAVEL RESOURCES for the best deals, booking websites and promo codes to save you money, and my SHOP to browse all of my favourite cameras, tech and travel accessories.