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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

Tips for Planning Your Uluru Tour

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Located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the magnificent sandstone of Ayers Rock or Uluru stands tall at 1,142 feet above ground. The natural formation is widely known for being one of the most sacred places to the indigineous peoples in Australia. At the same time, it is also popular for attracting tourists from all over the world to the land down under.

If you want to visit Uluru in order to pay tribute to this wonder of nature, then doing so through the right tour is in your best interest. It’s not only because Uluru is located at least a few hours from civilization, but it also because such a tour allows you to enjoy the picturesque sights that come along the way within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

So what sights are there to see along the way and what other general tours suggestions you should keep in mind while visiting Uluru? To help you answer these and some other important questions, here are 5 top tips to keep in mind while visiting Uluru.

Don’t Climb the Monolith

First things first, while it is legal to climb atop Uluru, it is recommended that you do not attempt such an action in order to show your respect to the indigenous peoples.

It is a pretty easy rule to follow when you pay attention to the emotions of the indigenous tribes who have recommended time and again for people to not climb Uluru.

But that doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy the natural beauty that Uluru has to offer. In fact, you are encouraged to visit the sandstone and take in its natural glory by standing right beside the formation. That’s why 4WD tour is highly recommended. The tour guides would be able to tell you what you can and can not do.

Visit During Sunset

Ask anyone who has visited Uluru about the best time to see the formation, and you will instantly get the answer as “sunset.”

It’s because Uluru is not an ordinary monolith, but one that is formed through arkosic sandstone. This allows the rock to actually change its color according to the position of the sun. As a result, you can expect the formation to sport a different color depending upon what time of day you reach it.

At sunset, Uluru projects an amber glow that is surreal to take in, especially when you are seeing the formation in person for the very first time. That’s why, it is recommended that you time your trip in a way that allows you to experience this magnificent sight.

3. Take Your Time to Plan the Trip

Perhaps the best way to visit Uluru is through the nearby town of Alice Springs, which has various amenities and accommodation options for tourists who are making their way to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

The drive from Alice Springs to Uluru can take around 5 hours, which is why it is recommended that you arrive at least a day before you are planning to tour Uluru.

This way, you can reach the national park while feeling fresh and rested. This also gives you time to plan longer trips to the park in order to enjoy all that it has to offer.

4. Take in the Sight of the Rock Art

Uluru is not just a wonder to look at by itself, but it also holds several little pieces of wonderful art within it.

The caves at the bottom of the formation hold several pieces of rock art that can only be found at Uluru. If you love learning about other cultures through their art, then this will be a must visit.

Just make sure that you take the time to learn about this art through a local tour guide or via the information provided within these exhibits. This ensures that you have an immersive and informative experience which you can remember for a long time.

5. Don’t Forget the Natural Attractions Around the Rock

Enjoying the breathtaking sight of Uluru sounds rewarding enough for a trip to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. But it’s not all that you can do during a tour of Uluru.

From seeing the red kangaroos and other marsupials to spending some time with the camels, and from seeing the one of a kind formations of Kata Tjuta to taking a walk by the Valley of the Winds, there’s so much to see and do around Uluru.

That is why, it is recommended that you take your time at the park and put aside at least two days to enjoy all of the unique activities that the area has to offer. It would give you a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of daily life while also allowing you to make the most out of your long journey to the sandstone.

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Adventure Travel

Best Time to Visit Panama and Costa Rica

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The fact that Costa Rica and Panama are close makes both countries perfect for visiting. During your holiday there, it’s easy to travel back and forth between the two countries and enjoy all the wonders they have to offer. Keep in mind that the timing of your holiday will influence what sorts of sites you can visit and what activities you can make part of your plans. By understanding a little about what to expect, it’s easy to determine the best time of year to visit both countries, based on what you would like to do.

Learning More About the Dry and Rainy Seasons

If you’re the type who prefers the hustle and bustle that comes with holidays during the tourist season, plan on being in Costa Rica and Panama during what’s known as the dry season. Expect plenty of sunshine and warm weather during this part of the year. Many of your activities will be outdoors, although you will find a number of indoor sites that you will want to include in your plans.

The dry seasons in both countries overlap. The dry weather for both typically arrives during the first to the middle part of December. In Costa Rica, the dry season usually lingers until sometime in April. Panama enjoys a slightly shorter dry season, with it usually ending sometime in March.

Keep in mind that since this dry period is the height of the tourist season, the cost of visiting from December to April will be higher than at other times of the year. Even so, if your plans include spending a lot of time exploring the rain forests or soaking in the rays on one or more of the beautiful beaches, the dry season is the only time to consider.

Making the Most of the Dry Seasons

During the dry season in both nations, do expect the weather to be more humid and the day temperatures to be a little higher. There is some variance depending on which regions you plan on visiting. As a general rule, locations nearer the coast will include warmer weather and higher levels of humidity. By contrast, the more mountainous areas will offer slightly cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels.

During this time, do plan on enjoying the lush greenery found in the rain forests. During much of the dry season, the abundance of rain from what’s known as the rainy or green season ensures that the forests are at their best. Consider adding some variety to your holiday by spending time at the beach, soaking in the nightlife along the coast, and doing some shopping at many of the open air districts. This is also the perfect timing to enjoy some of the local cuisine while dining outside.

There are special events to celebrate during the dry season. President’s Day in Costa Rica occurs during this period. Along with locals, you can enjoy a number of celebrations, open-air festivals, and just about any type of entertainment that one can imagine.

Since the dry season does attract more tourists, it pays to book your lodgings in advance. Along with President’s Day, there’s also spring break and the Easter Season to consider. While you could look at different hotels and other properties near beaches, there are also hostels that make perfect places to sleep. After all, how much time do you plan on spending indoors when there’s so much to do?

Things to Do During the Rainy Seasons

In spite of the name, it isn’t always raining during the rainy or green season. Most days, there will be brief periods of sunshine that do allow you to spend some time at the beach and other outdoor venues. Do expect the evenings to be cooler. At times, the temperature may make wearing long sleeves or possibly a sweater a good idea.

Even if you’re out and about while it’s raining, there are plenty of things to see. Towns and cities in both nations offer indoor concerts, a number of restaurants catering to all sorts of tastes, and clubs and other settings for entertainment. You will find museums that will tell you more about the history of indigenous peoples and the complexity of their cultures.

What are some of the activities you can enjoy during this time of year? Both Costa Rica and Panama offer options to go horseback riding. Generally, this will happen during the morning when the sun is most likely to be out. Walking tours are also a great way to learn more about the culture and possibly find some interesting places that you will want to return to a little later. Don’t overlook the opportunity to get in some fishing when there’s a sunny morning coming your way. There are changes to engage in freshwater fishing as well as charter boats that will take you to some of the better places to enjoy salt-water fishing.

Coffee and rum tours are also something to consider during the rainy season. These tours allow you the opportunity to see different facilities and how they produce their products. As a bonus, you get to enjoy some taste-testing at many of the places that you visit along the tour. Some of the sites will also have bistros or restaurants included, allowing you to enjoy a nice meal or snack with your coffee or rum.

In terms of museums to visit, San Jose offers some of the most interesting museums in Costa Rica. Many of them are located in or adjacent to what’s known as the Central Market. It’s a great way to enjoy time indoors during the rainy afternoons and early evenings.

In Panama, check out the Panama Canal Museum in Casco Viejo. You can make use of headphones that offer the guided tour in multiple languages. If you happen to be proficient in Spanish, feel free to check out each exhibit on your own. You can also check out the Biodiversity Museum, which features exhibits on the over 1,000 species of animals and plants that are found in the country. Make the most of the discounts offered on Sundays. Retirees also get to enjoy discounts when visiting these museums.

Which season is the best time to visit Costa Rica and Panama? It’s really up to you. For those who prefer a slower pace and don’t mind rain during the afternoons and evenings, the raining season is ideal. Those who thrive on activity, sunshine, and plenty of tourist activities will enjoy going during the dry season. Whatever your choice, plan on coming back a second time. It’s rare for anyone to see everything they want to see during a single holiday.

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Adventure Travel

Most Underrated Travel Destinations

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Everyone knows about Paris and Rome and London but there are so many other beautiful travel destinations that are amazingly underrated. The fact that so many beautiful countries go unexplored by travelers is a tragedy. Not only because so many people are missing out on rich cultures and picturesque views, but also because a lot of these destinations tend to be a lot cheaper to travel to than popular cities. 

A majority of Americans, when asked about traveling abroad, will likely shake their head and say they can’t afford such trips. Many people deal with multiple monthly bills, such as mortgage or rent, student loans, and title loans, which are all stress inducing. 

But what a lot of people don’t know is that there are gorgeous, underrated foreign cities one can visit for a fraction of the price of touristy European cities. Forbes recently published a collection of the ten most underrated destinations you should consider visiting. 

Here are a few of them:

Yerevan, Armenia

Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is known for its magnificent sights of Mount Ararat, historical monasteries, and its many striking temple ruins. Armenian cuisine is other worldly with classic dishes like rabbit stew, sautéed eggplant rolls, and lamb tartare. 

Telč, Czechia

Telč is a colorful town with Italian influences in Czechia. It boasts of Baroque-Renaissance architecture and has a castle of its own with exciting tunnels and passageways that you can explore underneath the town.

Santiago, Chile

Santiago is the capital of Chile and features gorgeous architecture from the neoclassical era. There are towering cathedrals and, of course, plenty of quality Chilean wine. Plus, the city of Santiago is a great place to kick off your exploration of Chile’s wine country. 

Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Rotterdam is often ignored due to the popular neighboring city of Amsterdam, but it is a bastion of underground music and street art. The architecture is strikingly modern since the city was heavily bombed during World War II and thus had to be rebuilt from the ground up. The city is filled to the brim with amazing cuisine and museums.

Lagos, Nigeria

If you are looking for a big city destination, Lagos is a metropolis that has plenty to see and do so that you’ll never be bored. And whenever you need a break from the urban marketplaces, private beaches are just a short drive away.

Con Dao, Vietnam

Con Dao is a Southeast Asian island that makes an excellent beach destination with two resorts and tons of fascinating history. Once host to a brutal French prison, the island is also home to the tomb of the Vietnamese martyr Vo Thi Sau. 

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

This is one of the oldest cities in Uruguay dating back to the 17th century. The city has a vibrantly decorated historic quarter and a three-century-old convent. It’s also only a short trip away from the bigger city of Montevideo.

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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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