Thursday, September 5, 2013

Top 13 Things To Do In Luang Prabang, Laos

For those of you traveling without a specific schedule, this place may steal your heart for an extra 
day or two if not more! That's the beauty of don't have to leave, you don't have to stay. You do what you want. We liked that and it's exactly what we did here in Luang Prabang. 
The people: amazing. The food: phenomanal. The stay: one of our favorites. 
The experience: unforgettable.

And of course, we have proof of it all!
Here's a few things to do while in Luang Prabang.

*rent a moto
drive through the city, to the waterfalls, the cave, the small towns outside
the main city, or just drive in the pouring rain!

There wasn't enough room on one moto for two people and two packs so Ty dropped me
off at our place along the river and he drove our stuff back just like this. Silly guy!

*go to Tad Se Waterfall
ask your guesthouse for a map and directions

When you arrive to the dirt road off the paved road, you'll come to an
entrance where you pay to park the moto. Then walk 1/4 mile on the dirt road to 
the river and have one of the boats take you down the muddy Khan River to Tad Se waterfall.

We drove in one of the worst downpours of our entire trip. You can see I'm soaked
and it certainly made for a slippery ride on a moto down the dirt roads!

Laos fisherman in the middle of the river, so neat to see!

Tad Se Waterfall

*pineapple street
On your way there or back from the waterfalls, stop at pineapple road.
We don't know the name of the actual road, but it has hut after hut of families 
selling pineapples! Ask and they will cut the pineapple right then and there for you to enjoy!

*walk or bike the streets of Luang Prabang
you won't miss a thing by walking! So take a lovely stroll around the river 
path to check out the people, the stray dogs, the beauty,
the way of life, and even the food!

where the Mekong and Khan River meet

rice crackers tasty with a good soup!

*take a tuk tuk to Kouang Si Waterfall
this was one of the most beautiful waterfalls we've seen, especially since we got
to swim in a warm swimming hole, go off a rope swing, and have fish nibble
at our feet. On a nice day, you could spend all day here so pack a lunch and a towel!

Grab a beerlao on your way out for the ride back...a nice refresher for those who can drink them!

*Big Brother Mouse
this non profit helps students, both young and old, learn English. You can read
to them or just have conversations with them so they can practice. Great idea
if you want to get to know some locals, how they are living in order to
be in school (some sleep overnight after they close up the restaurant just to have a job
and a place to stay). Plus they get to learn English and about our culture!

*catch locals sleeping...anywhere & everywhere!

*night market
take an evening stroll through the market, try on silly hats, buy various 
handmade items, and cherish moments when locals let you hold their children

*walk through the morning food market
it starts super early in the morning so get there early to see what it's all about!

crabs on a rope

frogs on a stick...some alive, some dead

*morning alms
get to the main road in the town by 5:30AM to watch the alms giving. You can participate
as well, but be sure you participate in the correct manner (ask your guesthouse). This
is where the locals line the streets and give food or supplies to the monks since they cannot
buy things themselves and instead, it must be given to them. This is where they get
some of their food for the day.

*Hike up Mount Phousi
all along the way, you'll find a variety of gold Buddhas, lush greens, quiet spaces, and
one gorgeous view at the top. Well worth the climb up many stairs to get there.

I spy...Ty!
The Sleeping Buddha


*Become friends with locals

we befriend a couple who had two children. They worked all day long making
fresh fruit smoothies and basic sandwiches on the main street in Luang Prabang.
While they were busy, we entertained the kiddos. Made us feel at home...
they were our Laos version of our niece and nephew!

We met a nice young guy (second over to the right from Ty & shown below) who invited us
to his church. We spent time at church with the people and then we were invited to the
pastor's home to speak with the pastor and enjoy some good Lao fruit!

*Laos Food
test out as many restaurants as you can. Tamarind was our favorite, which had traditional Laos
food. You can even enjoy ALL gluten free desserts. From fried coconut flour cookies, coconut custard in a pumpkin slice topped with tamarind sauce, or sweetened purple sticky rice! We
each enjoyed 2 non alcoholic beverages, 2 appetizers, 2 meals, and a combination dessert
platter all for just under 30 US dollars. It was the one time we splurged...and that's all it cost!

Laos sausage is quite good, one of my favorite things as well. It can be served with a smoked
eggplant puree and sticky rice that come in the bamboo container above.

Traditional way to eat Laos food...roll up a ball of rice & eat it with the veggies or meat stuff with it.

Another traditional menu item: larb. Full of flavor from the herbs and spices.

And of course, another Laos beer. Ty had to test them all out!

OR cross the river by boat to scope out the restaurant with similar Laos foods. Eat
at the market or if you're needing some Western food, hit up Beehive bar. Great BBQ 
options as well as some fun types of gluten filled pizzas that Ty enjoyed. Depending on the
season you travel in, you can enjoy a hip hop dance show or a traditional Laos fashion show!

One by one, we continue to share our SE Asia journey with you all. For those traveling there
in the future, we hope that this gives you plenty of ideas to explore Luang Prabang. It
was one of our favorite places and you will sure know why when you arrive in this country
that has barely been touched!

♥The Stanleys