Things to do in Luang Prabang for the tight budget
Witness an Almsgiving Ceremony
One of Luang Prabang’s most spectacular ceremonies takes place daily in the early morning. And watching the proceedings is completely free. During this special ceremony, two-hundred Buddhist monks file through the streets of Luang Prabang, gathering food offerings from locals into baskets for their daily meals. It is a humbling scene to behold, and we highly recommend you watch this sacred ceremony. However, it’s extremely important that all travelers keep a respectful distance from the monks, especially if they intend to take photos. All spectators are asked to turn their camera flash off and stay quiet during the ceremony.
Stroll through the Old Quarter
Wander over to Luang Prabang’s Old Quarter and admire the picturesque beauty of its unique structures. You’ll see Buddhist temples, French Colonial villas, and traditional Lao houses, some dating back to a few centuries ago. You don’t need a tour guide to do this; just stroll through on your own or with friends, and admire the unique old-world beauty of this UNESCO heritage town. We don’t advise doing this walk in the afternoon as the heat can get overwhelming. The best times to wander through are in the early morning or evening. Whenever you choose to go, just make sure you don’t miss it.
Indulge in a Pastry or Two at Le Banneton
Luang Prabang’s French influence means that you’ll find some impressively delicious baked goods throughout the town. A favorite among tourists and locals is Le Banneton Cafe. We strongly recommend picking up a pastry, croissant, or trying one of their baguettes. Guests rave about their great coffee, with many insisting the baguettes at Le Banneton are the best you’ll find in all of Asia! One thing is for sure: you’ll find no other bakery with such remarkable baked goods at these unbeatable prices. You don’t need a big budget to enjoy yourself at Le Banneton. Stop by and treat yourself! It’s also a fantastic place for brunch.
Cost: 6,000+ kip ($0.70+)
Visit the Night Market in Luang Prabang
You might have a tight budget, but you’ve still got to eat! At Luang Prabang’s Night Market, you’ll find delicious street food at unbelievably low prices. A small bag of delicious coconut pancakes is just 5,000 kip ($0.60) and if you’re looking to indulge a tad more, a buffet-style meal is a modest 15,000 ($1.70). There’s no shortage of food options, so take your pick! With such stellar cuisine in Lao, you can’t go wrong. Once you’ve filled your belly, take a stroll past the other stalls at the Night Market. The market offers a vast range of Lao handicrafts, souvenirs, and other goods you’ll want to snatch up. Even if light shopping is out of your budget, we encourage wandering through to admire the local arts and crafts. It’s a must-do while you’re in Luang Prabang!
Cost: Free to enter
Try the National Beer of Laos
It just wouldn’t be right if you visited Laos without trying Beerlao, the nation’s award-winning beer! Produced by the Lao Brewery Company in Vientiane, Beerlao is made from local-grown jasmine rice, with malt, hops, and yeast imported from Europe. As you’d expect, Beerlao is easily found everywhere in Luang Prabang and Laos as a whole. Any bar, restaurant, or hotel serving alcohol will most certainly have a stock of Beerlao. Our recommendation? Go down to the Redbul Bar or Lao Lao Beergarden in the evening and enjoy a pint of cold, refreshing Beerlao.
Cost: 10,000+ kip for a 640 ML bottle ($1.15)
Things to do in Luang Prabang for the small budget
Climb Mount Phousi
Considering what the small entrance fee gets you, you’ll want to add this to your itinerary, no matter your budget. Climb the steps of Mount Phousi and you’ll be rewarded with the best views in all of Luang Prabang. The surroundings hills, sacred temples, the rivers, and the town center are some of the many things you’ll capture in this perfect 360° panoramic view. Sunrise and sunset are particularly stunning from this vantage point. If you decide to catch the sunset, we advise arriving 45-minutes before the sun sets to secure a good spot — it can get crowded! And make sure to check out the shrines and temples dotted around Phousi, said to be devoted to a powerful naga deity.
Cost: 20,000 kip ($2.30)
Educate Yourself at the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre
Adjacent to Mount Phousi, the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre has continued to be one of the best places in town to learn about Laos and its many diverse ethnic groups. The museum features both temporary and permanent exhibits, with immersive and interactive experiences for all guests. Those who pass through its doors are impressed by how much information it offers, with some even preferring it to the famous Royal Palace Museum. If your budget allows for it, check out the museum’s shop where you’ll find fair-trade handicrafts made by over 600 ethnic artisans from 12 different provinces over Laos. 50% of all sales go directly to these artisans, so by making a purchase, you’re supporting a great cause. Aside from its fascinating exhibits, TAEC also has an ethnobotanical garden, an activity center, and a patio cafe.
Cost: 25,000 kip ($2.90)
Do Yoga by the Nam Khan River
Whether you’re an experienced or budding yogi, we’re willing to bet you’ve never done yoga on a deck by a tranquil river. Luang Prabang Yoga, a cooperative of independent yoga teachers from near and far, offers new students the chance to take a yoga class in some of Luang Prabang’s most beautiful locations. Its most popular class takes place on the deck of Utopia Bar, a popular hippie-bohemian hangout known for its casual, relaxing atmosphere. A yoga class at this magical spot is easily one of the best ways to start your day while you’re in town. And after class, we recommend sticking around Utopia Bar for a refreshing smoothie.
Cost: 40,000 kip ($4.60) for 60-minute classes & 60,000 kip ($6.90) for 90-minute classes
Things to do in Luang Prabang for the medium budget
Learn a New Skill at a Class or Workshop
Travel is a time to expand your horizons and in Luang Prabang, there is no shortage of ways to do this. A vast range of classes and workshops are offered here, from woodcarving to metalsmithing, to basketweaving. With such skilled local artisans, these workshops are as much fun as they are inspiring and educational. If none of the above suits your fancy, then consider classes on Lao cooking, wine-brewing, or silk-weaving. These classes and workshops will vary in price. You’ll find them online, on sites such as TripAdvisor and Laos Adventures, or through your accommodation. Bring a group and make the most of these learning opportunities!
Cost: 180,000++ kip ($20++)
See the Famous Kuang Si Attractions
When you’re in Luang Prabang, you must see the attractions in Kuang Si. The Kuang Si Falls, Bear Sanctuary, and Butterfly Park are in close proximity to each other, a 30-40 minute drive from central Luang Prabang. Here, you’ll see Luang Prabang’s famous turquoise-hued pools and waterfall, a rescue center for bears saved from poachers, and a butterfly park containing hundreds of beautiful Laotian butterflies. Admission fees are very low, but travel to Kuang Si is likely to be your biggest expense. Choose your method of transport wisely. For the lowest costs, we advise going by shared tuk-tuk or minivan.
Cost: Approx. 150,000 kip ($18) = 50,000 kip ($6) for admission* + 100,000 kip ($12) for a round trip per person.
The 50,000 kip sum is a combination of two admission tickets (Kuang Si & Bear Sanctuary + Butterfly Park).
Relax at the Pha Tad Ke Botanical Gardens
Learn about medicinal plants, plant conservation, and how they weave into Lao culture at the Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden. One ticket includes a 15-minute scenic boat journey on the Mekong that will take you up to gardens, where you’ll see orchids, palm trees, bamboo, and other beautiful flora. Admission to the gardens also grants you access to numerous free activities such as herbal tea tasting and talks on orchids, sustainable agriculture, and conservation. While you’re there, have a delicious Lao meal at their cafe, overlooking a peaceful pond. Though admission is higher than most attractions, it’s worth it for the fantastic day waiting for you at Pha Tad Ke.
Cost: 200,000 kip ($25)
More information about things to do in Luang Prabang, Laos
Did you enjoy this article about the best things to do in Luang Prabang? Are you looking for interesting and unique things to see and do here? Then check out these other articles we’ve rounded up to help you plan your trip here!
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- 10 Awesome Things to do in Luang Prabang, Laos from The Common Wanderer
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- 15 Must-Visit Attractions in Luang Prabang, Laos by Regina Beach from The Culture Trip