We spent November 25 – November 28 in Laos. It was an easy, one hour flight from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang. The town of Luang Prabang is really small, which made it easy to explore. It is full of great restaurants, many of which offer beautiful views of the Mekong River. The town has a French influence from the French colonial period and it was funny to see the local street vendors selling French baked goods. Most vendors sold crepes, smoothies, and Laotian food.
- Kuang Si Waterfalls: This is probably the most popular spot in Luang Prabang. The beautiful waterfalls are overrun with tourists, but we were able to escape by hiking to the top of the falls and enjoying the view.
- Boat down the Mekong River to Pak Ou Caves: On our second morning we took the public boats along the Mekong River to the Pak Ou Caves about two hours upstream. The caves are located at the intersection of the Mekong River and the Nam Ou River. The lower cave is called Tham Ting and the upper cave is called Tham Theung. Both caves together have over 4,000 Buddha icons that are mostly made from wood that date back hundreds of years!
- Night Market: Every night of the week beginning at 5:30pm, people from the town set up stands at the night market. There are Laotian woven scarfs, jewelry, and much more. We bought beautiful pillow case covers to put on our bed or couch when we get back to the USA!
- Mount Phousi: This is a quick hike that has beautiful views at the top.
- Alms Giving Ceremony: On our last day before our early flight, we woke up at 5:00am to watch the special ceremony for the local monks. We bought sticky rice from a local woman and sat with her and she motioned to teach us what to do as the monks pass by. As each monk pass, we kneeled down and gave him a ball of sticky rice. The idea of the alms giving is for the Buddhist monks to make merit and also to collect food for their one meal a day. The ceremony was special and we were glad to have participated in it.
- Manda de Laos: This is one of the best restaurants in Luang Prabang! We came here for Melanie’s birthday dinner and had a great Laotian meal including buffalo steak, duck, soup, fried spring rolls, and of course, banana and ice cream for dessert.
- Novelty Cafe: This is a cute coffee shop with strong WiFi.
- Tamarind Restaurant: This is a Laotian restaurant that also offers a cooking class.