EACH MORNING, Buddhist monks rise with the sun, parading through Luang Prabang in a humble procession. Follow their lead: strolling through town is an adventure for the senses. Shrines glisten in the morning light, while street food vendors barbecue fish and serve up fresh papaya salads. The French influence remains tangible, too; Le Cafe Ban Vat Sene is a lovely little spot to stop for coffee and pastries.
Hike up to the Kuang Si Waterfalls and watch water cascade through the mountains. Make sure to visit the bear rescue centre and the butterfly park. Magnificent creatures loll in the shade at the former, while the latter comes alive with all the colours of the rainbow. After a long hike, there’s no better reward than a refreshing dip in the falls’ crystal clear waters.
There’s plenty to explore beyond the main sites, too. Why not take a ferry to the Old Town? Its streets are lined with elegantly restored, French-style mansions—the whole district exudes colonial charm. You can browse local markets selling fine fabrics and handicrafts, or hop on a barge and sail down the Mekong.
You’ll pass lush vegetation sprawling out from the riverbanks; with a cold beer in hand, life feels simple. Get even closer to nature with a trip to the Elephant Village. Hold on tight—this ethical sanctuary recently abandoned saddles. Ride through rolling rivers and emerald forests, before stopping to bathe and feed the majestic giants. They’re playful creatures, so expect to get wet!
Come nightfall, you can climb the 300 steps to Mount Phousi, or make your way to 525 or Icon Klub for great cocktails in stylish surrounds. But there’s no better way to spend an evening than back at Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao. Our 500 candles dinner is an intimate culinary adventure set in the privacy of our gardens: as stars twinkle overhead and local musicians play, you’ll feel that you’ve truly found heaven.
Luang Prabang Lao PDR, 84330
Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao is within easy reach. You’ll find us...
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