The Journey to Laos
Luang Prabang is in the north of Laos and the town itself is a UNESCO world heritage site due to its religious and cultural heritage. The town is connected by roads and had its own airport but if you’re feeling more adventurous you can take the slow boat from Thailand. Although this journey takes 2 days it is well worth it. You start off by crossing the land border in order to get your visa. This process is slow and unorganised so don’t expect to be rushing onto the boat anytime soon. After spending, what felt like hours, queuing up in several different lines you will eventually get your passport stamped with your 1-month visa and you will head down to the river to climb aboard your boat. My boat was filled with other backpackers so we spent day 1 drinking and chatting. After a couple of hours, you stop off in the slightly unpleasant town of Pakbeng, and after being offered several different varieties of drugs you will find your accommodation for the night. You board the boat in the morning and cruise down the Mekong river arriving in Luang Prabang around 5pm. Although it is a slow journey and you could probably fly in around 1 hour it’s a much more fun way to meet other backpackers and bond with them, and drinking in the daytime is perfectly OK!
What to do in Luang Prabang
The town itself has a variety of cultural and ancient buildings. About 1 hour outside of the town is Kuang Si waterfall. This beautiful waterfall within the jungle has several layers of waterfalls on top of each other forming small pools that you can swim in. You can find the top layer through a hidden pathway and it is well worth a day trip just to swim around this part of the falls! The trip will cost around 200,000 Kip (under £20) for a tuk-tuk but this can be shared with 4-5 others.
One of Luang Prabang’s highlights is climbing Mount Phou Si. At the top of the hill is a temple overlooking the town itself and there are beautiful panoramic views of the area. This temple can get super crowded in the evenings for the amazing sunset and during the daytime it is super-hot, so pick your time wisely.
There are plenty of other things to do such as wandering around the temples, visiting the royal palace or taking a stroll along the Mekong river, so you will be sure to find something. Or you can sit back and enjoy a beer Laos.