Outdoor Activities to do in Luang Prabang, Laos

| October 13, 2013 | 23 Comments

Located in north central Laos on the Mekong River, Luang Prabang is a charming town that offers the perfect balance between exploration of its attractions and quiet reflection for absorbing all of the amazing things you are guaranteed to see and do while you are there. Below are my favourite Outdoor Activities to do in Luang Prabang, Laos.

Best outdoor activities to do in Luang Prabang

Why visit Luang Prabang for adventure?

A UNESCO World Heritage Site with a French historic influence, there is beautiful natural scenery to discover, the river to walk along and watch locals go about their days, markets to peruse, temples to visit and more delicious food than you think is capable of consuming in the time you choose to spend there.

Outdoor Activities to do in Luang Prabang, Laos

Tat Kuang Si Park and Kuang Si Falls

This is a picturesque spot 30km out of town and makes for a great half day trip. As you ascend through lush forest, you pass a series of pools where crystal clear water cascades over to create a multitude of beautiful waterfalls. Once you reach the last big one at the end of the path, don’t be daunted by the final arduous muddy climb to reach the top of it.

The spectacular view makes the climb worth it and afterwards you can reward yourself by taking a dip in the refreshing water; either by launching yourself off the rope swing or by sitting under the waterfall and feel it beating down over your back.

Best outdoor activities to do in Luang Prabang

If you forget to pack a picnic lunch, make sure you pick up a delicious baguette from one of the stalls at the park entrance. Cheap and filling!

Travel Tips for getting to Tat Kuang Si Park

A shared rickshaw will cost about US$5 each (30 minutes from the centre of town)

Cost

Entrance to Tat Kuang Si Park is 30,000 Kip.

Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre

Before you leave the waterfalls at Tat Kuang Si Park, you will pass the ‘Free the Bears’ sanctuary which is a rescue centre. They provide rehabilitation to Asiatic Black Bears that have been illegally taken from the wild as cubs to be sold on the traditional medicine black market. Don’t forget to make a small donation if you stop to take photos and gaze at their cute antics.

The organisation doesn’t receive any fees from the ticket price to enter the park so they rely solely on donations from visitors to maintain care for these animals.

Getting to Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre

It is a short walk after you pass through the entrance to Tat Kuang Si Park.

Best outdoor activities to do in Luang Prabang

Cost of doing the adventure activity

Free but donations are welcome.

Watch the sunset from Phousi Hill

Make sure you leave the park by 4pm so you have time to get back into town and catch the stunning sunset over the Mekong River. The best vantage spot is from Phousi Hill which looms over Luang Prabang. While there are many steps to the summit, they are perfectly manageable and there are many relics and including Wat Chom Si and Wat Tham Phou Si that you can explore on your way up to help break the climb up. It can get incredibly crowded up at the top so make sure you give yourself ample time to get a good spot.

Travel Tips for getting to the adventure activity

Simply ask your rickshaw driver to drop you off at the base of Phousi Hill and walk the short 10-15 minute up the summit.

Cost

Free

Food Street and Night Markets

As dusk descends, it is time to satisfy any hunger pangs by visiting the extensive Food Street where you will be overwhelmed by the vast array of culinary treats. The real piece de resistance is the vegetarian buffet where you can heap your plate for just 10,000 Kip. If you still have room afterwards, you can select some sweet morsels from the number of stalls that sell beautifully made pastries and cakes; a nod to the town’s French influence.

Afterwards you can walk off your meal by wandering around the night markets. The goods on offer is pretty stock standard stuff by south east Asian standards but the stall owners tend to leave you to your browsing which makes for a more pleasurable shopping experience.

Best outdoor activities to do in Luang Prabang

Travel Tips for getting to the adventure activity

Just a short five minute walk from the base of Phousi Hill.

Cost of doing the adventure activity

As much as you are convinced to spend at the markets and on delicious culinary treats.

Best time of the year to visit Luang Prabang for adventure?

Year round although Laos is more popular outside of monsoon season.

Finally, the reason I love Prabang for adventure is because…

Luang Prabang is one of those places that you instantly fall in love with. You plan on staying just a couple of days but it quickly worms its way into your heart and you find yourself staying longer than anticipated. There are so many great cafes and restaurants and it is easy to just spend leisurely days walking, eating and chatting to locals.

BIO:

Alaina McGregor, from Jandals & A Backpack, is a nomad Kiwi who likes to share her tips for backpacking on a budget. She counts hefting her backpack around the globe as part of her regular fitness regime and has a passion for volunteering, collecting passport stamps, sampling local beers in every country and visiting some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.

Have you visit Laos before? What are your favourite outdoor activities to do in Luang Prabang?

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Comments (23)

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  1. Shaz says:

    I love the bears in hammocks. The waterfalls were awesome but the bears…! Haha, I could have watched them playing and being lazy for hours.
    Shaz recently posted..That Time A Vietnamese Gangster Almost Threw Me Over A BridgeMy Profile

  2. Renuka says:

    Sounds like a great place…with lots of options to do! I loved the food picture!
    Renuka recently posted..10 Pictures Inspiring TravelMy Profile

  3. I miss those streetside food stalls. They’re just the greatest things ever, and I never get tired of sitting in those tiny plastic chairs and dining on something exquisite after just pointing to smiling and smiling. Mmm.
    SnarkyNomad recently posted..25 great travel quotes for inspiring global adventuresMy Profile

  4. Aktar says:

    This is a fantastic article to be remembered during outdoor as the activities are great.
    Aktar recently posted..A Guide to Things to Do In BelfastMy Profile

  5. Izy Berry says:

    Beautiful photos… Luang Prabang was the only place in Laos I really liked. One of the best places in Asia to rent a bike and cruise around.

  6. Jeff says:

    Well put and informative guides. vegetarian buffet! looks yummy.
    Jeff recently posted..Credit Cards with Airline Miles Benefits: Saving Miles for Greater OpportunitiesMy Profile

  7. All I could say is wow. Wow on the serene place, wow on the food, and definitely wow on this adventure! Can’t wait to get to South East Asia early next year!
    Hannah@GettingStamped recently posted..3 Month Recap of our RTW tripMy Profile

  8. Renuka says:

    Wow…great excursion! I loved your pictures and narration – so much to see and do!
    Renuka recently posted..Thar Desert – A Safari To RememberMy Profile

  9. Thanks so much for sharing these outdoor activities that people can enjoy in Laos. It seems like such an exciting and beautiful place!

    Adventure and nature surely make an amazing combination! I would love to bask in the breathtaking scenery of this place while exploring and trying out new things and even new food. I’m sure a lot of other locals and residents in Dubai would appreciate this kind of escapade. I will definitely share this article with my friends here at home.
    Katie – Living in Dubai recently posted..Teaching in Dubai – An Expat’s GuideMy Profile

  10. Considering I’m going to visit Laos soon, all I can say is: thanks for the tips!! :)
    Zara @ Backpack ME recently posted..The most memorable moments from my time in North KoreaMy Profile

  11. I would love to go to Kuang Si Falls and splash myself on that crystal clear water. Oh boy I misses being on the water because of the cold weather here.

  12. Looks to be a fantastic place to visit. Laos generally looks awesome I really need to get out there and see some of these awesome sites! Will indeed checkout Luang Prabang looks a great place to visit
    Alex | Partial Parallax recently posted..Takayama – Escaping The CityMy Profile

  13. Geoff says:

    Great article and photos. I’m off to Laos tomorrow so this popped up just in time :)

  14. The parks, the food, the animals it all looks amazing, that is a vacation I would love to have.

  15. I’ve never visited Laos before, but its on my list for the next cycling adventure around the world! The Kuang Si Falls look like an ideal place to cool down after a days ride!!
    Dave Briggs recently posted..TBEX in Dublin 2013 – My ThoughtsMy Profile

  16. The foods are unique and seem delicious! The bears are so interesting! Thanks for letting us see those beautiful pictures. The activities are really cool and exciting!

  17. Stephen says:

    In Thailand right now trying to decided where to do my visa run. You might have just convinced me to go to Laos.
    Stephen recently posted..Top 5 European Cities for Your First Backpacking TripMy Profile

  18. Gabriel says:

    Picturesque for sure. I love the bear just casually hanging out in the hammock.
    Gabriel recently posted..How Cold Could It Possibly Get in the Tropics?My Profile

  19. I’ve been wanting to visit Laos and Cambodia too because of their very rich and interesting culture. I really appreciate the ideas I got form your article. Will visiting there soon. Thanks

  20. Naomi says:

    Wow! This is so cool. I have never been to Laos but now i will make it my business to visit! I’ve just fallen in love with it. And thanks to you i will travel prepared on all the activities to do…. Good Work..

  21. Wesley says:

    You just convince me to move to Laos.
    Great blog post

  22. Larry says:

    Phou Si is one of the best scenic vantage points I’ve seen on my travels … thanks for the flashback!
    Larry recently posted..Top Things To Know About Visiting Coober Pedy, AustraliaMy Profile

  23. A special mention to Tat Kuang Si Park and Kuang Si Falls, a ”must do” in luang Prabang, great articles about this so lovely city.
    future traveler in laos you will be surprised by the hospitality and kindness of laotian people.

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