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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?

This is a featured article by a Guest Author. Their details can be found in the post above. If you want to become a Guest Poster please Contact Us here. Please also read our Website Disclaimer if you have any issues or concerns.

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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

Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos

These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.

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Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.

To be honest, I was relieved.

The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.

Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

Puenta La Reina Bridge – Camino de Santiago Arrows

There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.

Church of Obanos

The Church of Obanos

And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.

The French Way - Camino de Santiago

The French Way – Camino de Santiago Photos

Puenta La Reina

Puenta La Reina in the evening

Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.

Puenta la Reina Bridge and Sunrise

Puenta la Reina Bridge at sunrise

Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!

Church of Santa Maria - Los Arcos

Church of Santa Maria in Los Arcos

While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.

The endless French Way

The endless French Way

Irache Wine Fountain - Fuente del Vino

The free flowing Irache Wine Fountain or “Fuente del Vino”

Hay bales along the French Way

Hay bales along the French Way

Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.

Ermita de San Miguel

Ermita de San Miguel

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.

Natural arches - Camino de Santiago

Natural arches on the Camino de Santiago

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Adventure Travel

Hammock vs Tent Camping

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Camping with a hammock is slowly but surely becoming more popular in recent years with new and improved hammock designs being preferred by some campers, compared to the traditional tent.

In this article we will discuss some of the key benefits and drawbacks of sleeping without a tent, and analyze key criteria so that you can choose your preferred shelter choice!

Weatherproof

Most tents work well in the rain; however, you’ll need to bring a tarp if you’re using a hammock. Traditional hammocks are not waterproof, and are generally open at the top, allowing water to find itself inside if you don’t have an adequate tarp. Moreover, a decent under quilt is also a good idea so that you can stay warm and cozy during cold and stormy nights.

Packing up your hammock after a long night of rain isn’t too bad, whereas packing up a soaking wet tent is always annoying. You almost always get wet in the process.

Setup

For first time campers, pop-up tents are the simplest to setup. All you need to do is find flat ground, and bam, your setup is complete! The beauty of pop-up tents is that you don’t need to worry about figuring out where to insert the poles and erect the tent. Although, traditional tents are usually more robust, and have a longer life span.

Essentially, a tent is simple, but a hammock can become a little more complicated for first timers. You’ll need to find 2 trees facing a good direction and tie each end of the hammock to them. If your hammock setup is too tight, you will generally wake up with sore ancles, but if it’s too loose, you run the risk of the hammock touching the floor, and insects crawling in with you.

If your campground doesn’t have many trees, or if the trees are dead (they could break and injure you), hammock stands come to the rescue! Basically, hammock stands allow you to pitch a hammock if there are no trees nearby. They are portable, adjustable, and are easy to setup. The only drawback is that the ground should be relatively flat, whereas if you were to hang a hammock between 2 trees, there won’t be any stands touching the ground, so a rocky floor wouldn’t be a problem.

Comfort

One of the main reasons for choosing a hammock is the comfort that it provides you! It has a basically has in-built seat which is arguably more comfortable than a standard blow up mattress. You need to pick your tree’s wisely though! You don’t want a pinecone falling on your face mid-sleep.

If you have constant back pain and find it hard to sleep inside tents, you should give hammocks a try as they cause you to sleep sideways, similar to a banana shape, which a lot people find much more comfortable.

Price

Hammocks are usually lighter and don’t include a wealth of poles and gear that tents do. Depending on the type of hammock that you purchase, they are usually quite similar to tents. You can however, find very cheap tents <$60, but they most likely won’t last long.

A good tent or hammock can cost between $200-500 without accessories. If you need a hammock stand, that will add to your cost, just like a mattress and other tent necessities will to its cost.

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Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

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Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
  • www.middleearthtravel.com

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

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Meet Cole and Adela

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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