3 Days in Luang Prabang Itinerary

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A river with a boat on it next to greenery-covered hills under a blue sky
You can see everything Luang Prabang has to offer in only three days

Luang Prabang (meaning Royal Buddha Image) is a city in north-central Laos with a population under 10 million. It is about a four-hour drive from Vang Vieng - another beautiful town in Laos full of adventurous activities and limestone cliffs. Nam Khan River runs through the area and contributes the most water to the Mekong River.

Luang Prabang is considered to be the country's spiritual capital as it is an ancient city that is very religious. It comprises 58 villages, of which 33 fall under the Town Of Luang Prabang on the UNESCO World Heritage Site List.

While Luang Prabang is very popular among tourists these days, it remains relaxed and not too overcrowded. The chase to various temples and other religious buildings, waterfalls, museums, restaurants, bars, and traditional food markets. It has a mixture of modern and traditional elements, which makes the destination more attractive to tourists.

You can easily spend weeks in Luang Prabang. However, if you are short on time, this itinerary will let you know the best things to do while you are here. During the day, you will visit beautiful temples, taste authentic traditional food and see real natural beauty.

You can reach Luang Prabang by slow boat from northern Thailand (Chiang Ai) or by catching a coach bus from the capital Vientiane (for budget-conscious travellers).

Are you on your way to Luang Prabang last-minute?

Book your Luang Prabang accommodations and experiences early! Below are some top recommendations to get you started.

🏨 Top accommodations in Luang Prabang

☂️ Top tours and experiences in Luang Prabang

3 Day Luang Prabang Itinerary

Luang Prabang 3-Day Itinerary Video

Check out our highlights video of the stops covered in this Luang Prabang itinerary.

Luang Prabang 3-Day Itinerary Map

A map of Luang Prabang. Use the map to explore all the days and stops.

Luang Prabang 3-Day Itinerary Map

Show Interactive Map

The Traditional and Spiritual Side of Luang Prabang

A small temple next to a statue surrounded by lush green trees
Wat Xieng Thong is one of the impressive temples to visit on your first day

Luang Prabang has more than 30 traditional religious buildings within its small city center. Religious buildings (temples) are important to Luang Prabang's history and have a significant impact on the local people's lives. For example, you can usually hear chanting every morning and see monks walking from one temple to another.

It is possible to dedicate a few days to visiting all the temples. However, this itinerary's first day covers only the most unique and beautiful temples in Luang Prabang. Of course, if you have some spare time after exploring the recommended temples, feel free to look at other ones.

Also, consider that not all the temples allow visitors to go inside them, and some of them close earlier than others, so you will only be able to admire them from outside if you arrive after closing hours.

Stone structures with festival garlands hanging on them and a temple in the back
Luang Prabang's oldest temple, That Pathum, dates to 1503

That Pathum (That Mak Mo)

That Pathum (formal name), also known as That Mak Mo, is the oldest temple (stupa) in Luang Prabang. It was built in 1503 and nicknamed the 'Watermelon' Stupa due to its oval roof. Its actual name means The Stupa of the Great Lotus.

It is located in the Wat Visounnarath temple, so people also tend to call it the Stupa Wat Visounnarath. The entrance is free of charge. Do dress appropriately when visiting religious sites, such as temples and stupas, in Laos.

🏨 Places to stay near ワットマークモー

A temple with a red roof, golden columns, intricate carvings, and white steps
Wat Mai is a Buddhist temple from the 18th century

Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham

The day's second stop is Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham, simply called Wat Mai or Wat May. This temple is the most richly-decorated Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang. It was built in the 18th century and, to this day, remains one of the most visited and prominent temples in the city.

🏨 Accommodations near Wat May Souvannapoumaram

A golden temple with intricate carvings and dragon sculptures on the stair railings
Built in 1729, the Dragon Temple is full of intricate details that make it unique

Wat Nong Sikhounmuang

Wat Nong Sikhounmuang is well-known for its 5-headed dragon sculptures on its front steps. However, the temple's design is also full of the smallest details, making it even more unique. It was built in 1729 and is one of the biggest and most beautiful temples in Luang Prabang.

🏨 Stay near Wat Nong Sikhounmuang

One main temple with two smaller ones in the courtyard and trees in the back
Thousands of tourists visit Wat Xieng Thong annually

Wat Xieng Thong

Wat Xieng Thong is also known as the Golden City Temple and is considered the most beautiful temple in Luang Prabang. It was built in the 16th century and has served as the city's main temple.

Today, Wat Xieng Thong holds annual festivals and welcomes thousands of tourists yearly. You will need to purchase entrance tickets and cover your shoulders once again. Do carry a scarf with you, or you might need to pay for a shoulder cover.

🏨 Places to stay close to Wat Xiengthong

The Natural Beauty of Luang Prabang and the Night Market

A small waterfall flowing into a pool surrounded by trees
On your second day in Luang Prabang, you can visit the beautiful Kuang Si Falls

On your second day, you will head out of the city to visit the most beautiful and relaxing places, such as Kuang Si Falls and Pak Ou Caves. You will also have a chance to get up close and personal with Asiatic bears at the Bear Sanctuary (Rescue Centre) and try traditional street food at Luang Prabang's famous Night Market.

Kuang Si Falls and Pak Ou Caves are close to Luang Prabang City and can be reached by local buses, minivans, or rented motorbikes or cars. However, it is recommended to avoid the local buses and take minivans (for tourists) as they are quicker.

Alternatively, rent your own means of transport, such as a motorbike, but do drive carefully and wear the helmet given to you. Also, there are entry fees, so be prepared to pay for the above places to enter them.

Many Buddha statues in various poses scattered around the inside of a cave
Pak Ou Caves features thousands of Buddha icons

Pak Ou Caves

Pak Ou Caves complex is only 25 kilometres north of Luang Prabang and can be explored on your own or with other travellers. The complex dates back thousands of years and is popular due to its more than 4,000 Buddha icons. It has two caves, Tham Ting and Tham Theung, which serve as shrines for the river spirit and Lord Buddha.

☂️ Explore Pak Ou Caves ຖຳຕງ on a tour

A small waterfall with outcroppings, creating several levels, and trees on the side
You can hike to Kuang Si Falls and then cool off in the waterfall's pool

Kuang Si Falls

Kuang Si Falls is located about 29 kilometres outside of Luang Prabang. The falls are about 50 metres high and can be hiked up. It takes about 40 minutes each way.

The incredible thing about Kuang Si Falls is that you can swim in its natural turquoise pool, so don't forget to pack your swimwear!

A black bear asleep in a hammock inside a wired pen
You can visit moon bears saved from poachers at the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre

Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre

Once you are finished with your swim, head back to the entrance to Kuang Si Falls and visit the Bear Rescue Centre. There is no entrance fee as a charitable organisation runs it, so make sure to purchase some gifts from the centre's gift shop instead to give back.

At the centre, you can see 38 beautiful moon bears. These Asiatic bears were rescued from poachers. You can spend some time at the centre, just roaming around and watching the beautiful bears playing around.

Rows of colourful tents with merchandise and people in front of a golden temple
Visitors can savour Laos dishes and buy souvenirs at the Luang Prabang Night Market

Luang Prabang Night Market

Luang Prabang Night Market is famous for being a 'foodie paradise' and is held every night from 5 PM. The market has everything from fabric booths to never-ending street food stalls. The night market.

As Laos is one of the cheapest Asian countries to visit, it's not surprising that products at the market are very affordable. It's probably the cheapest place in the city to buy some clothes and souvenirs.

You also have the chance to taste delicious Laos food that is freshly prepared in front of your eyes. Make sure to try some fruit bowls, bbq meats, noodles, an Asian version of baguette sandwiches, and their baked goods. If you are craving Western food, you will find a couple of stalls that sell various types of this too.

🏨 Stay in close proximity to the Night Market

Unique Luang Prabang Experiences

A gate leading to a small palace-style building surrounded by green trees
Attractions like the Royal Palace Museum are on the agenda for your third day

You will spend your last day exploring unique and fascinating locations in Luang Prabang, allowing you to get to know the city better. It will start with an exciting boat ride from Downtown Luang Prabang to Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden, where you can see rare plants.

Afterward, you will visit the Royal Palace Museum and Heuan Chan Heritage House Cultural Center, which offers visitors various hands-on activities. Your final stop of the day will be the show-stopping Mount Phousi - it has the best sunset viewing point in Luang Prabang and is considered to be the sacred mountain of the city.

A pebble pathway through the grass next to a fence and trees
Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden features orchids, lush trees, and rare plants

Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden

Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden can be reached by boat from downtown Luang Prabang, which is conveniently included in the Botanical Garden admission fee. The Botanical Garden is a massive relaxing garden filled with palm and bamboo trees, orchids, and other rare plants.

The most popular area in the garden is called the Ethno-botanic Garden, which is where you can learn about Lao people's relationship with plants, their gardens, and what kind of herbs they use to produce natural medicine. After exploring the garden, take a minute to sit down at the café to relax.

🏨 Accommodations near Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden

A drive going to a mansion with a dark roof, a garden in front, and trees on the side
The late King Sisavang Vong resided in what is now the Royal Palace Museum

The Royal Palace Museum

The Royal Palace Museum once served as the residence of the famous King Sisavang Vong, but in 1995, it was converted into a museum. You will have a chance to explore the various parts of the palace, including the royal chapel, quarters, and exhibition hall, and see a statue of the late King.

While exploring, spend more time at the exhibition hall, where you will see the crown jewels of Laos, royal religious objects, weapons, statues, screens, and paintings.

🏨 Stay in close proximity to the Royal Palace

☂️ Visit the Royal Palace with an excursion

Heuan Chan Heritage House

Heuan Chan Heritage House is a traditional house that was converted into a museum and cultural centre. Once here, you can participate in various types of hands-on activities related to the local people's lives, such as cooking traditional food and making traditional crafts.

Even if you don't spend any time participating in any activities, you can sit down in the garden café and relax. It is also a highly recommended place for lunch!

🏨 Accommodations close to the Heuan Chan Heritage House

A long staircase with golden-scaled railings, a Buddha statue, and trees on the side
You can hike up Mount Phousi to view the stunning landscape of Luang Prabang

Mount Phousi

Your last stop in Luang Prabang is a 100 m hill in the middle of the old town - Mount Phousi. It is the highest hill in the city and offers a majestic landscape of the temples, surrounding mountains, and the local river.

Be prepared for a bit of a sweat, as the only way to reach Mount Phousi is by taking its 300 steps up and down. At the top, you will find a famous shrine called Wat Chomsi, so take a moment to appreciate it.

After that, grab a nice spot and wait for the sunset, as according to the locals and tourists, Mount Phousi is the perfect spot for it. Don't forget your camera, too! Also, don't mind the signs that say the mountain closes at 6 PM, as those signs are for the shrine itself.

🏨 Stay nearby Phousi Hill

In Summary

This three days in Luang Prabang itinerary should be useful when exploring the area. Whether you follow the itinerary stop-for-stop or customize it a little, you'll have an incredible time visiting this part of Laos!

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Written by Agne Civilyte

031226hug FORMER WRITER Agne is a Lithuanian living in the UK and enjoys travelling all around the world. She loves visiting places that are still not well-known to tourists. Her favourite part of the world is Southeast Asia as it has beautiful mountains and temples. Agne's absolute favourite country is South Korea, as she feels at home there.


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