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Guide to Luang Prabang Outdoors

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Luang Prabang is a walking city so essentially, you can be outdoors as much as you want! But should you wish to explore further afield, there are plenty of options just a few minutes out of town or a couple of hours by car or boat. Wherever you go, there is no shortage of natural beauty and jaw-dropping vistas.

Good for
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nature Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

9 Places

3 City Tips

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Map

9 Places

Mount Phousi

Mountains

Kuang Si Falls

Waterfalls

The Living Land Company

Farms

Chomphet

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Bamboo Bridge

Bridges, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Tad Sae Waterfall

Waterfalls

The Playground

Playgrounds

Kuang Si Falls Butterfly Park

Nature & Wildlife Areas

Pak Ou Caves

Caverns & Caves, Sacred & Religious Sites

rachna438's City Tips

  • Lao culture is demure and conservative when it comes to dress. Don't wear clothes that are too revealing!
  • In late April and early May, the air quality can be poor from slash and burn agriculture. Otherwise it's perfect outdoor weather all year round.
  • Make sure to wear a hat and sunscreen and stay hydrated!
  • Mount Phousi
    Mountains
    See more photos
    rachna438 Says:

    Mount Phousi is right in the middle of central Old Town. Stairs lead all the way up the hill, winding through lush tropical palms, ferns, and flowering bushes. The 120-year old Wat Chom Si sits at the top and represents a spiritual beacon for the town. The lookout point at the top gives expansive views of Luang Prabang, the Mekong, and Nam Khan and the surrounding countryside. There are two ways to ascend: the first access is on Sakkharin Road, opposite the Grand Palace; the second set of stairs can be accessed from the road along Nam Khan. This is a great place to hang out, contemplate your travels, and catch the sunset.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Take some kip along for the entrance fee.
    • Jog up the hill for exercise. At 300 plus steps, it's a vigorous workout!
    • The base of the hill on the Sakkharin Road entrance is a good perch to watch the night market being set up at 5pm.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #13 of 69 things to do in Luang Prabang
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great View 11/12/2018
    • Don't go at sunset 11/12/2018
    • Mount Phousi
    Address:
    Sackarin road, Luangprabang
    Luang Prabang 0600
    Laos
    Phone:
    +856 71 212 470
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 17:00
  • Kuang Si Falls
    Waterfalls
    See more photos
    rachna438 Says:

    This is definitely one of the must-sees in Luang Prabang, and a wonderful way to experience the natural beauty of northern Laos. Kuang Si is 30km (19 miles) south of Luang Prabang and it takes about 30-40 minutes to get there depending on if you go via tuk tuk, van, motorcycle, or bicycle. You will pass small villages and rice paddies before arriving at Ban Tha Pan, the village at the base of the falls. The drive is beautiful in itself! As for Kuang Si, it is a series of cascading waterfalls that plunge down 60 plus meters (120 feet) and at the bottom are pools and swimming holes in various shades of turquoise and aquamarine. It's great for swimming and there are plenty of trails and hikes near the base and to the top. The trails are marked, and it's a moderate walk uphill, but whether you remain at the base or hike to the top, the views will not disappoint!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Vendors sell snacks and drinks, and there are local lunch places in the village.
    • Lao culture is demure so retrain from wearing overly-revealing swimwear
    • Some pools are sacred, so swim only where it is permitted.
    • Most locals visit over the weekend, when the mood is festive and jovial.
    • It is possible to spend two to three hours or all day here!
    • The fruit shake stands by the post office in Luang Prabang are a good place to catch a shared ride.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 69 things to do in Luang Prabang
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • just do it 11/12/2018
    • Cascading Fresh Water Falls 11/12/2018
    • Kuang Si Falls
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 17:30
  • The Living Land Company
    Farms
    See more photos
    rachna438 Says:

    So, you want to be a rice farmer? The Living Land Company's rice experience is a perfect way to try your hand at planting, harvesting, and milling rice. The guides do an incredible job showing you the various techniques, but be prepared to get muddy and break a sweat! The Living Land Company is an organic farm and a fully-operational community enterprise. Many local restaurants get their greens and vegetables from here. The tour, the rice experience, and the lunch are all excellent! And, you will see expansive views of rice paddies and the countryside!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The farm will coordinate transportation from town when you sign up for a tour.
    • Located about 10km (6 miles) south of town — a nice bike ride if you feel up for it.
    • There is a hike to an old monastery, ask the tour guide to point the way.
    • A simple cottage is available for guests to stay overnight. Basic, comfortable, and well-positioned to offer the best views of the farm.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 69 things to do in Luang Prabang
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Really good fun 09/12/2018
    • A day with an inspiring community 09/12/2018
    • The Living Land Company
    Address:
    Khuangsi Water Fall Road
    Ban Pongvang
    Luang Prabang 0600
    Laos
    Phone:
    +85620 55199 208
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 00:00
    Other:
  • Chomphet
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    rachna438 Says:

    If you are feeling adventurous, then this is for you! A true outdoors experience that is one of my favorites. From Luang Pragang, Chomphet District is directly across the Mekong River and you can take the ferry from That Heua Long, the main boat landing, across the river to Ban Xieng Mane, a traditional Lao village that is a quick boat ride, but seems worlds apart from Luang Prabang. Begin the hike at the trail, which starts on the north side of the village and follows the Mekong shoreline. The dirt trail will take you to the old Wat Chompet, Wat Long Khoune, and Wat Tam Sacckalin. At Wat Tam Sacckalin, you can pay a small fee to get entrance to a cave. At this point, you have the option to go 'off the track' and make a loop back into town, or have your boat driver meet you at one of the landings and ferry you back. About 3km to 10km, depending on how far you wish to go.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • If you decide to do a loop, take a Hobo Map, available in most places in town. Trails and the loop are clearly marked on the map.
    • The actual trail is frequented by monks and locals, but there is no regular maintenance. It can get muddy during rainy season.
    • Don't forget your hat, sunscreen, bug spray, and some water!
    • The village has some local noodle shops for lunch, but take along snacks!
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #22 of 69 things to do in Luang Prabang
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Across the Mekong by local boat 03/09/2018
    • Walk the Chomhet trail. 02/04/2018
    • Chomphet
    Address:
    Just Across the Mekong River From Luang Prabang
    Luang Prabang 0600
    Laos
  • Bamboo Bridge
    Bridges, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    rachna438 Says:

    The Bamboo Bridge is both a destination and a gateway. Two bridges are built every dry season to allow pedestrians to cross the Nam Khan. The Bamboo Bridge generally refers to the one in the middle of the peninsula, close to the entrance of Mt. Phousi. Walk across and marvel at the clever engineering. Across the way, there is a beach, where you can potter around and collect shells, or play football with locals in the evenings. A swim is also possible, although the water is cool! Alternatively, you can cross the bridge and turn right, and walk north to the Old Bridge to cross back into town, or turn left and walk all the way to Ban Xang Khong, the paper village, where you can see 'sa paper' (traditional Lao paper) being made, and plenty of weaving. All in all, a great way to spend some time outdoors!

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • There is a nominal entrance fee to cross the bridge.
    • The walk back to town via the Old Bridge takes about 20 minutes. The walk to Xang Khong is longer, about 40 minutes each way at a leisurely pace.
    • Plenty of stops along the way, with local wats, snacks,q and noodle shops.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #21 of 69 things to do in Luang Prabang
    • feel safe 11/12/2018
    • Several Bamboo Bridges on the Nam Ou river 09/12/2018
    • Bamboo Bridge
    Address:
    Over Nam Khan River, off Kingkitsarath Rd
    Luang Prabang 0600
    Laos
    Phone:
    +856 30 52 72 023
  • Tad Sae Waterfall
    Waterfalls
    See more photos
    rachna438 Says:

    Tad Sae is most spectacular between July and October, when the monsoon rains replenish the waters at the top and base of the falls. However, Tad Sae has a quiet charm, and is a worthwhile outdoor excursion. Located about 12 miles south of town on the road to Vientiane, it is frequented by young Laos and local families tend to go on Sundays, when it can get crowded but no less attractive and fun. There is a small elephant riding camp and a zip line, as well as vendors selling food and snacks. The zip line is modest and short, not geared towards a thrill seeking audience. You can hike to the top of the falls, which is very scenic in the fall with rushing water, but in the dry season it is a quiet walk. No matter, the Tad Sae hike is good exercise and gives you a glimpse of local life. Local outfitters can arrange kayaking trips from here that head towards Luang Prabang. Tad Sae gets mixed reviews, but I think if you keep your expectations in check, accept that travel is all about experience and exploration, and enjoy being outside, it's worth going!

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Shared tuk tuks or hiring your own is easily arranged anywhere in town. You can get there by bicycle or motorcycle too.
    • If you are interested in elephant riding, there are better experiences on offer. Skip this one.
    • There are trails to the top on both sides. The one on the left is graduated, the one on the right is steeper.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #15 of 69 things to do in Luang Prabang
    • If you are visiting ShangriLao Elephant camp, have them bring you! 23/11/2018
    • Kuang Si is better 20/11/2018
    • Tad Sae Waterfall
    Phone:
    +856 20 58 550 000
  • The Playground
    Playgrounds
    See more photos
    rachna438 Says:

    Sometimes a great outdoor experience with kids is just that — being outdoors. There are no real playgrounds in Luang Prabang, so when the folks at ABC School created one in the back yard, everyone with kids was excited! If you have young children, they will appreciate this outdoor playground, which has fun, creative play structures for ages 1-10 years. Parents can enjoy a break and chill on one of the shady benches.

    Good for
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There is a fee for children but adults are free!
    • Lunch and snacks are sold on-site.
    • Located in a residential neighborhood, but easy to find.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #57 of 69 things to do in Luang Prabang
    • Nice playground 04/02/2014
    • amamzing discovery 05/02/2013
    • The Playground
    Address:
    Ban Vieng Mai
    At ABC International Pre-School
    Luang Prabang 397173
    Laos
    Phone:
    +856 20 56 920 137
    Hours:
    Sun - Mon
    00:00 - 20:00
    Tue - Fri
    15:00 - 20:00
    Sat - Sun
    22:00 - 00:00
  • Kuang Si Falls Butterfly Park
    Nature & Wildlife Areas
    See more photos
    rachna438 Says:

    Lepidoptera lovers aren't the only ones who will appreciate this butterfly sanctuary. Started by a Dutch couple, the Butterfly Park is an idyllic place for butterflies and anyone who appreciates them. You will learn about the species found in Lao, as well as the conservation efforts to protect butterflies. It's an engaging way to spend a few hours.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • A good stop on the way to or coming back from the waterfalls.
    • An on-site cafe has simple snacks and good coffee.
    • A natural "fish spa" is worth checking out, but not if you are overly ticklish!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 69 things to do in Luang Prabang
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Unusual place to visit 11/12/2018
    • Short visit in the butterfly park 05/12/2018
    • Kuang Si Falls Butterfly Park
    Phone:
    +856 20 98 237 466
    Price range:
    US$40,000 - US$40,000
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 16:30
    Other:
  • Pak Ou Caves
    Caverns & Caves, Sacred & Religious Sites
    See more photos
    rachna438 Says:

    For a fantastic day trip on the river, head to Pak Ou Caves. Located about two to three hours up river (really depends on your boat driver), the caves slowly reveal themselves among the spectacular karst cliffs. Thousands of Buddhas are enshrined here, and walking through the complex is fascinating. The boat ride itself is serene and scenic. The slow pace allows you to check out the natural surroundings and see daily life unfold along the river banks.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • You can hire your own boat from That Heua Lang, the main boat landing behind the Royal Palace, or any of the landings along the Mekong.
    • There are riverside restaurants opposite the caves.
    • You can ask your boat driver to stop at the pottery and whiskey village on the way back to Luang Prabang.
    • Pak Ou village is worth walking around for a more local flavor.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 2 things to do in Ban Pak-Ou
    • Thousands of Buddha 09/12/2018
    • Great half day trip with Luangprabangcruise! 05/12/2018
    • Pak Ou Caves
    Phone:
    +856 20 56 110 220
    Other:
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