From the second I stepped off our tiny propellor plane onto the tarmac of an even tinier airport, I fell in love. I don’t know whether it was the quaintness of only having two terminals or the view of giant rolling green mountains in the distance, but it was love at first sight. Now, as I’m sitting here on my final day in Luang Prabang at an open air café/bar/yoga studio overlooking the river, listening to easy blues music, I can’t help but feel heartbroken to be leaving. Granted, we’ll be in the beautiful country of Laos for another 10 days, but I just don’t want to let go of this perfect, peaceful feeling I have here in this sleepy town.
From waterfalls to elephants to night markets and more, you can’t escape the invigorating feeling of being surrounded by so much nature. Thailand may be the crowd favorite, but everyone loves an underdog, which is why you need to stop what you’re doing this very second and book a ticket to Luang Prabang in Laos. Think I’m kidding? I’ll give you 12 reasons you can’t deny!
1.) SO MUCH NATURE – Mountains, rivers, waterfalls and more. There’s so much nature everywhere you turn. It’s refreshing to be around after spending so much time in cities through South East Asia.
2.) Waterfalls – To go off the first point, the waterfalls are incredible. Kuang Si Waterfall is huge and really impressive, but my favorite was the Tad Sae Waterfall. There’s tons of swimming areas within the waterfall and it feels like a hydrotherapy massage! You can jump off the waterfalls, hang out with locals and take a dip in the cold water!
3.) Night Markets – Markets aren’t really my scene. It’s crowded, hot and overwhelming, but Luang Prabang’s Night Market is an exception. I loved strolling down each side of the market. You can take your time, chat with the vendors and haggle for prices in a civilized manner. It’s so quiet and peaceful, and we went almost every night!
4.) Peace and Quiet – Seems to be a common theme here, but yes it’s true – the peace and quiet is a huge perk to visiting LP. Especially if you’ve traveled from Vietnam or Thailand, it can be surreal to be in a sleepy little town like Luang Prabang. You can actually relax outside at a café without being hassled by street vendors or someone selling you lighters.
5.) The Locals are Super Friendly – The people of Luang Prabang may just be some of the happiest people I’ve ever met. Through Thailand and Vietnam you can tell how tourism has jaded the locals and in LP it hasn’t quite gotten to that point. The locals smiled at us, helped us when needed and offered to take us to some of the best spots in town.
6.) Sunsets on the Mekong – There simply was no better way to end a long day exploring than by enjoying a beer and watching the sun set over the Mekong River. There are heaps of restaurants that are on the edge of the river with great views for sunset.
7.) Beer Lao – With that said, Beer Lao is our go-to drink in Laos, and it’s with good reason. The right taste with the right price makes us very happy! I wish we could ship a few bottles home!
8.) Sunrise and Sunset Yoga – Luang Prabang is very much about relaxing amongst the nature, and their amount of yoga classes offered each day is a great example of this. Set in the jungle overlooking the river, you can practice yoga during sunrise and sunset. Or you can self-practice at any time of the day!
9.) It’s Utopia, literally – Utopia is a great open air café/bar, and it’s also home to the majority of the yoga classes. They have a beach volleyball court, a huge lounge area overlooking the river and even power cords at every table so you can write, work or read without worrying about your tech dying on you. The food is on point. One of the best salads I’ve had in my life! Finally, the staff is super friendly, and they play awesome old school music.
10.) Organic & Fresh Food – To go along with the point above, the food in LP is super fresh, and the organic/health craze has hit the town in full storm. On every corner, you can find fresh fruit juice, salads, organic muesli and yogurt and more.
11.) So fresh and so clean – I was honestly surprised by how clean the town was. I mean, we’re really in the middle of no where, and after seeing how trashed a big city like Hanoi was, I wasn’t expecting much from Luang Prabang’s Waste Management department. To my surprise, the streets were super clean and it never really smelled bad, like other towns in SE Asia does.
12.) The travelers are amazing– Your experience in a new town has a lot to do with who you meet. Laos is not the easiest of countries to do get to nor is it the cheapest, so travelers who are in Luang Prabang really and truly want to be there and most likely have a bit of an adventurous spirit. We met a few awesome people at yoga, in the back of a tuk tuk, at a waterfall and watching the sunset.
So clearly, I have an obsession with Luang Prabang, and it’s with good reason. Maybe you’re planning a trip to Southeast Asia, or maybe you’re just pinning bucket list destinations for later on, but either way, you don’t want to miss Luang Prabang!
Have you been to Luang Prabang? Leave your comments below!