Surrounding the ancient city is a wealth of astonishing places to explore; glittering waterfalls, lush jungle and ancient towns are all just a short trip away. Souphattra and Luang Prabang are the perfect base to explore the real Laos, an ancient land filled with mystery, elegance and untouched natural beauty.
Set in the northern mountains of Nam Khan, Luang Prabang is an astonishing confluence of history, religion and natural beauty. The town is a mix of 32 ancient Buddhist temples and French colonial architecture that creates a unique and striking aesthetic.
From Mount Phousi on the main street, a walking tour will take you to Vat Chom Si, a Budhdist temple that is a must-see. The Royal Palace is on the other side of the mountain, and is surrounded by small, charming temples, as well as an incredible view of the mighty Mekong river.
Alms Offering (Tak Bat)
Every morning, as for centuries, monks leave their temples and walk through the town accepting alms from locals, creating a close bond between the townspeople and the monastic community, which numbers over a thousand.
Once the royal palace, this building is now dedicated to safeguarding a collection of artifacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture, dating from the days of the early kings right through to the last sovereign, King Sisavangvong.
Here, you can observe valuable artefacts and traditional clothing and implements from each of the 20 ethnic minority groups which inhabit the Luang Prabang area which will give you further insight into the ethnic mix and culture of Laos.
Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Program (UXO Lao) clears land for agriculture and community purposes (e.g. schools, hospitals, temples and water supply) as well as other activities, making it safe for further development.
328 steps lead to the summit, which provides a panoramic view of the city, as well as an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa. You can also enjoy a beautiful sunset view of the city and the Mekong River from this remarkable spot.
The most famous and beautiful temple in the old town dates back to the 16th century. Richly decorated with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, it is a perfect example of classical Laotian architecture.
This temple is renowned for its golden bas- relief. During Pimai (the Lao New Year celebrations in April), the Kingdoms Palladium (known as Prabang and normally housed in the Royal Palace Museum – is put on public display on this site.
Entirely rebuilt after its destruction in 1887 by southern China. In the courtyard of Wat Visoun stands the Watermelon Stupa, which is shaped like the fruit it takes its name from. Lunch is available at the on-site restaurant, and art events often occur in the evening.
Constructed in 1718 by King Kitsarath with 100,000 stones from the Mekong river, the temple is one of the most beautiful temples in Luang Prabang. It’s made unique by its restored painting of a deep ochre colour, flamboyant and glittering with gold.
Situated opposite L’Elephant restaurant, the pagoda is richly decorated with stencils. In a style inspired by that of Vientiane (see the architectural section), the temple has one of the most dazzlingly beautiful coloured roofs, in the Thai style.
Two linked caves with hundreds of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. Along the way, there is a small village called Ban Xanghai, where the local rice wine is distilled.
A winding road takes you through small villages and rice paddies into the lush area of Kuang Si. Explore the cool rainforest and the multi-tiered waterfall tumbling 100 metres over white limestone.
Free the Bears Fund established the rescue centre at Tad Kuang Si to care for bears rescued from illegal poachers and traders. The rescue centre is now home to around 23 bears, ranging from newly orphaned cubs to full grown adults.
Situated 300m before the entry of Kuang Si Waterfall, the park is a project that was initiated in January 2014. The mission is to create a research centre studying Laos butterflies, host plants and address environmental issues that currently face Laos.
A stunning waterfall, breathtaking valley views and plenty of places to picnic – Nam Dong Nature Park is the perfect place to spend a day. This family-friendly park is close to Luang Prabang, yet offers visitors the feeling that they are in the middle of the jungle.
This is the first botanical garden in Laos and is easily accessible by boat on the Mekong from just inside the main part of town. There’s a wide variety of easily accessible gardens, as well as a wonderful café for lunch or afternoon tea and gift shop.
A short drive north takes you to the upper khan river, where the Tad Sae waterfalls flow out of the forest and into the Nam Ou river, past a herd of local elephants. Take a boat trip to see this scenic location and walk above the limestone pools.
While it’s geographically close to downtown Luang Prabang, the dusty roads that lead to Wat Chom Phet, Sakkarin Cave and Wat Long Khun feel like another world. Enjoy walking past the local houses on the quiet side of the Mekong.
Laos was known as the Land of a Million Elephants (Lane Xang) but the noble animals are now a profoundly endangered species. Some 1000 remain, of which an estimated 500 work in the forest industry harvesting timber.
The Living Land Project was formed in 2005 by a group of local families. You can experience the life of a rice farmer and try your hand at some of the activities, or just view it all from the comfort of our traditional Lao rice house terrace.
Drive south out of town to discover some incredible sights – stunning panoramas of the mountainous countryside, banana plantations and traditional Hmong villages such as Ban Long Lao. This village retains its thatched roofs, and is a stunning time capsule well worth a visit.
This integrated concept featuring the Nam Khan Permaculture Eco Farm includes a range of tropical fruits, vegetables, roots and more. Visitors can enjoy the waterfall, pool and spa area, outdoor exercise area and many more hidden treasures.
Absorb the magic at dusk in Luang Prabang on a private cruise as the sun sets behind forested mountains. Enjoy a refreshing Aperitif with canapés served by your personal waiter as you float down the Mekong, and witness end-of-day rituals as villagers return home on small boats.
There are many sites to visit around this beautiful town. Many, including the Sunset and Kwang Si waterfalls and the Pak Ou caves can be explored by boat, making for a perfect day trip.
A workshop where you will discover Lao Culture through bamboo products, activities & Lao foods using bamboo shoots as the main ingredients.
The Tamarind cooking school is a hands-on experience, and Gourmet Magazine’s number one choice of Lao Cooking School. You’ll cook Lao food and learn about the habits, customs and unique ingredients at the heart of Lao cuisine.