Pak Ou Caves
A stop that is a bit out of the way, so most people opt out of visiting when in Luang Prabang, but one I’d highly suggest you go and visit. You can rent a long tail boat for fairly reasonable if you walk down to the pier and they will take you down the Mekong River for about 2 hours to reach the Pak Ou Caves. Come early in the morning to avoid the tourist groups and you’ll have the caves to yourself. The one cave is lit and you can see the over 4,000 buddha statues that have been left there over the years, as well as a great view of the Mekong River from higher up. The other cave is dark,bring a cell phone or flashlight to light your way through the cave and see more of the buddha statues. On your way back, see if your driver will stop off in some of the villages!
Kuang Si Waterfalls
A must-see in Luang Prabang but also a tourist hotspot. Try to get there as early as you can to avoid the tour groups. Swim and enjoy the bright blue water, and then walk up to the very top of the waterfall. The way the area is set up is deceiving and even when you feel like you’ve walked as far up as you can on the trail, you can walk further, and that’s where you’ll see the most beautiful part of the waterfall. Arrive by tuk tuk or take a long tail boat then local transit (flatbed truck) to the waterfall.
Whiskey Village & Other Local Villages
While I was in Luang Prabang we stopped randomly at the Whiskey Village as our driver that took us to Pak Ou Caves asked if we wanted to stop on the way back to the main pier. The village was really cool and authentic. It was filled with markets and vendors, some temples, and you could of course try and buy their famous rice whiskey! It also wasn’t full of tourists, in fact we were probably the only 2 white girls in the whole village, which made it very authentic and neat to visit.
Alms Giving Ceremony
A must-do but only if you are going to do it respectfully. Click here to check out my previous post with proper etiquette rules for these religious events. Wake up at 5:00am and head down to the main street (or ask your hotel the best place to go) and observe a morning tradition for the buddhist monks. Watch the monks file out of their temples before sunrise and collect locals offerings. Observe from the sidelines, be respectful and leave the participating to the locals who look at this as a meaningful religious ceremony (not a tourist attraction).
Phou Si Temple
Another temple in Southeast Asia that you get your workout in before reaching the top. Lots of stairs, but worth the view at the top. This temple is located in the centre of the city, giving you a great view of the entire city and beyond from the top. Walk up one side and make sure to walk down the other side as you’ll hit different things on the way down such as other buddha statues, and a claimed footstep of buddha.