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Outdoor Activities to do in Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang, in Laos, offers the chance to explore its attractions and quiet reflection. These are the Outdoor Activities to do in Luang Prabang, Laos.

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Best outdoor activities to do in Luang Prabang

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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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Shaz

    October 13, 2013 at 4:57 AM

    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.

  2. Renuka

    October 14, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    Sounds like a great place…with lots of options to do! I loved the food picture!

  3. SnarkyNomad

    October 14, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    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.

  4. Aktar

    October 15, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    This is a fantastic article to be remembered during outdoor as the activities are great.

  5. Izy Berry

    October 16, 2013 at 6:15 AM

    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

    October 16, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Well put and informative guides. vegetarian buffet! looks yummy.

  7. Hannah@GettingStamped

    October 16, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    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!

  8. Renuka

    October 19, 2013 at 1:19 AM

    Wow…great excursion! I loved your pictures and narration – so much to see and do!

  9. Katie - Living in Dubai

    October 19, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    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.

  10. Zara @ Backpack ME

    October 21, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Considering I’m going to visit Laos soon, all I can say is: thanks for the tips!! 🙂

  11. Kristy of Family Visa

    October 21, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    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. Alex | Partial Parallax

    October 23, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    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

  13. Geoff

    October 23, 2013 at 5:31 PM

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

  14. Jamie @ Living in Dubai

    October 24, 2013 at 11:44 PM

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

  15. Dave Briggs

    October 25, 2013 at 5:00 AM

    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!!

  16. John Haynes

    October 26, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    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

    October 29, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    In Thailand right now trying to decided where to do my visa run. You might have just convinced me to go to Laos.

  18. Gabriel

    November 12, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    Picturesque for sure. I love the bear just casually hanging out in the hammock.

  19. Carlene Lowe

    November 25, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    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

    November 27, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    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

    January 14, 2014 at 10:59 AM

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

  22. Larry

    April 3, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    Phou Si is one of the best scenic vantage points I’ve seen on my travels … thanks for the flashback!

  23. Olivier Bergeron

    July 30, 2014 at 12:07 AM

    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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Adventure Travel

Summer Events to check out in Surfers Paradise

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The weather is already heating up on the Gold Coast and everyone is getting ready for some hot days on the beach. Christmas is just around the corner and with it all the big summer events and festivals that happen at this time of year. Surfers Paradise is at the centre of it all and makes a great base for exploring the Gold Coast and attending the events on the Gold Coast’s summer schedule. There is plenty of places to stay in Surfers Paradise, so book yourself a room and check out some of these fantastic summer events.

Australian PGA Championship

Pacific Pines Resort is one of the premier golf courses in Australia. The country’s biggest golf tournament will make its way here from the 30th of November until the 3rd of December, where the best golfers from Australia and overseas will compete for the title. This is a must attend event for golfers, and there will be plenty of food and entertainment on offer across the four days.

Beachfront Markets

The foreshore in Surfers Paradise comes alive every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday night, with over 100 market stalls filling up the esplanade. The iconic Beachfront Markets will continue throughout the summer and provides the perfect opportunity to get out and about on those warm summer nights, browse the stalls for some unique buys, and then head out on the town for dinner.

Christmas in Surfers Paradise

Experience Christmas in true Aussie style by attending the popular Christmas in Surfers Paradise event that fills up Cavill Mall from the 13th – 24th of December. The entire mall is transformed into a festive wonderland, Surfers style. Even Santa himself will be wearing boardies and travelling in a surf boat sleigh. The kids will love getting to visit Santa in the mall, and the whole event ends with the popular Carols on the Beach on the 23rd of December. Where else in the world can you experience Christmas Carols on the beach on a hot summer’s night?

New Year’s Carnival

Surfers Paradise is one of the best places to celebrate the New Year in the country. The New Year’s Carnival happens on the foreshore of Surfers Paradise across five days from the 27th of December until the 1st of January. It will be one big celebration with lots of rides and fun filled activities, music and more. On New Year’s Eve, you can enjoy massive fireworks displays over the water, with three different displays lighting up the skies above the Gold Coast. There will even be an earlier fireworks display for the little ones. This is definitely the place to be to bring in the New Year.

Magic Millions Carnival

One of the first big events to check out in 2018 will be the extravagant Magic Millions Carnival. On from the 7th until the 13th of January, the Magic Millions Carnival is the premier event of the summer horse racing season. This is a $10 Million horse race and it is sure to be a huge event, with all the glitz and glamour and socialising that goes with it. On the 9th of January, head to the Surfers Paradise Foreshore for the Barrier Draw, where you can watch the horses on the sand and enjoy food and beverages from the stalls. The big race day will be held on the 13th of January.

Burleigh Pro

Surfing is huge on the Gold Coast and one of the best surf spots is at Burleigh Heads. The Burleigh Pro has grown to become one of the biggest surfing competitions in Australia and will see some of the world’s top surfers compete for the title. Local surfers and visitors should definitely attend this one. The Burleigh Pro will be held from the 25th – 28th of January.

Sand Safari

One of the more unique and interesting events to check out this summer will be the 2018 Sand Safari. This arts festival focuses on Australia’s talented sand sculptors, who will compete in the Australian Sand Sculpting Championships. These sand artists carve out incredible, often life sized sculptures entirely of sand, and you will often be truly awed by what they are able to create. The main sculpture competition takes place on the beach along the Surfers Paradise foreshore, however this is a big event from the 2nd to the 25th of February, and you will be able to find special sand sculpture exhibits all over Surfers Paradise.

Summer of Surf

The Summer of Surf is a massive event which will see the country’s best Ironmen and Ironwomen compete in a gruelling six discipline event across six rounds, including the highlighted IronMan and IronWoman competitions. These athletes are the epitome of endurance, and the competition will hit Surfers Paradise for round five of the competition on the 3rd and 4th of February.

The Village Markets

Burleigh Heads is one of the most picturesque and laid back places on the Gold Coast and well worth heading to for a few hours. A good time to visit is during the twice monthly Village Markets which have become an integral part of the Burleigh atmosphere. This popular and laid back market has a beachy, artsy feel to it, and you will find all kinds of unique buys here from the many stalls on offer. Street food stalls are also a big thing here so you can sample some delicious delicacies while browsing the stalls. Finish the day by relaxing on the beach, or sit down for a drink at the Burleigh Surf Club.

Whether you’re looking for a destination for a family holiday or just wanting a quick getaway to unwind this summer, Surfers Paradise is a great choice. With so much happening from cultural night markets to world class sporting events, you are sure to find something of interest in this iconic Gold Coast location.

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Adventure Travel

Top 5 Adventure Activities for a Vacation to Las Vegas

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Mention a vacation to Las Vegas and one of the first things people think about is the hotels and gambling.  And while these are major attractions to the city, they aren’t the only things you can do in and around Las Vegas.  Here are five ideas for fans of adventure holidays.

Helicopter trips

One of the best ways to see Las Vegas from the air is from one of the helicopter trips on offer around the area.  These offer a unique view of the city and its startling hotels.  It is also a great way to see more of the surrounding area – the Grand Canyon, the red sandstones at the Valley of Fire State Park and even the Hoover Dam.  Helicopter trips are great fun and often come with extras such as rafting tours along the floor of the Grand Canyon or exploring the area on an ATV.

Hiking

Las Vegas may be a largely desert area and pretty flat, but it is surrounded by mountains and that makes for great hiking opportunities.  Mount Charleston is just to the west of the city and has some great locations to hike including Mary Jane Falls for beginners or Mummy Mountain for more experienced hikers.  Look out for Raintree, the 3,000 year old Bristlecone Pine that is believed to be the oldest living thing in the state.  If you want to upgrade the experience, look out for the rock climbing schools around the city that offer climbing for all levels.

Kayaking

As well as kayaking as part of a helicopter tour, you can go for a more comprehensive kayaking experience in a number of spots around the city.  The Colorado River is one where you can visit spots like Emerald Cove that really lives up to its name.  Lake Mead is another ideal kayaking spot and somewhere you can also try stand up paddle boarding.  There are lots of little islands to explore around the lake, but the winds can be testing so don’t forget your safety gear.

Biking

Hire a bike when on vacation in Las Vegas and you get the chance to see some of the best of the area.  The Red Rock Canyon Loop is a 20-mile loop that includes the famous Joshua trees as well as the red rocks that give the area its name.  A lot of the loop is quite flat.  There are also some good routes around Lake Mead including more challenging ones that use the landscape carved out by lava when there was volcanic activity.

Snowboarding

Being in the desert, Las Vegas isn’t a place you would associate with snowboarding.  But for a few months of the year, the Lee Canyon near Mount Charleston becomes a snowboarding heaven.  It offers something for beginners and also some challenging areas for more experienced snowboarders including some good trails above the lift drop off point.  There is even a lodge that offers hot chocolate and other drinks to warm up between runs.

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Adventure Travel

Top 5 Unusual Luxury Cruise Destinations

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If you love the outdoors and wildlife or are an adventure holiday fan, a cruise may not seem like the ideal holiday for you.  But there are a few cruise destinations around the world that offer both luxury and something different.  Here are five ideas to inspire you to book yourself a luxury cruise for your next vacation.

Australia and New Zealand

Tours around Australia and New Zealand offer the chance to see some amazing scenery, wildlife and also visit some of the top spots around these two Southern Hemisphere countries.  Visit cities such as Sydney and Melbourne in Australia and Dunedin and Auckland in New Zealand as well locations such as the famous Bondi Beach and the island of Tasmania.  For northern areas, April to September is a good time to travel while March to August is best for the more southern locations.  Head to New Zealand in December to March for the driest months.

Japan

The ancient cities of Japan are just part of the attraction of taking a cruise around this country.  Top spots to visit include the capital Tokyo, with its brilliant blend of historic buildings and cutting-edge technology that sums up much of Japan.  Other locations to look to visit include Kagoshima on the southern edge of Kyushu with its palms trees and beautiful sea views.  Hakodate is another popular spot where you can visit the Mount Hakodate Observatory looking out over the sea.

Galapagos

For wildlife fans, the fascinating islands of the Galapagos are one of the dream cruises available.  Here you can see species of animal not found anywhere else in the world including giant tortoises, penguins and hilarious looking blue-footed boobies (a type of bird).  Each island has its own species so there is plenty to see.  December to May are the best times to visit when the seas are calmest and the animals most active.

Central and South America

While many people have experienced a Caribbean cruise, there is also plenty to see and do on the mainland of Central American and down into South America.  You can even find large cruise ships that can travel a distance up the Amazon River, being that it is so wide and deep.  Look for expeditions that allow you to visit Mayan ruins in Mexico or go kayaking in sea caves.  And there is the rich wildlife of the area to enjoy – monkeys, parrots and big cats to name just a few.  You can even find a cruise that takes you through the famous Panama Canal and across to the Pacific coast.

Antarctica

Antarctica might not be somewhere you associated with a cruise, but it is becoming a popular destination for people who want to go somewhere different.  There are places like the Falkland Islands and South Georgia as well as parts of Antarctica itself.  The wildlife is a big draw for people with elephant seals, fur seals and an amazing amount of bird life – who can resist penguins?  It is also a good chance to see historic locations associated with polar exploration.

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Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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