Saturday, December 9, 2017

Accommodation, Food, Transportation and Shopping in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is not a big town. The unique heritage town with French and Laotian architectures were harmonized by green surrounding, fresh air, and slow-paced town life. We would like to share our experience about where to stay, what to eat, transportation and shopping in Luang Prabang.


First, where to stay? Our recommendation- somewhere in vicinity of the Royal Palace Museum. The town would get busier to the south of the Royal Palace Museum with more locals on the streets. Moving to the north into the heritage area, you would find the town get quieter with more tourists roaming around. 

We stayed at Rim Vang Guesthouse (RimVang or Ringvang Guesthouse in some websites). It is located at Ounheun Road, right beside the Royal Palace Museum. From there, we could walk to the night market in 2 minutes. Royal Palace Museum, Vat Mai, entrance of Mount Phousi, morning market, several grocery shops and nice eateries along Mekong River were around 5 minutes away, while Vat Xieng Thong, Vat Visounnarath, and Traditional Art and Ethnology Centre were around 15 - 20 minutes away.

Rim Vang Guesthouse is at the corner unit of a two-storey wooden terrace house.

The guesthouse was well decorated (upper left), with heritage wooden-themed interior design (upper right). The dining area was just in front of the reception counter (lower right). The breakfast was prepared by the owner of the guesthouse. We had free flow eggs, local fruits, home made yogurt and bread, cereal, coffee, tea, and milk. 

Ounheun Road from Mekong riverside. Royal Palace Museum is located at the other side of the road. We can see lush-green Mount Phousi far behind the buildings. The end of the road connects to Sisavangvong Road (the location for the night market).


Eateries are available all around Luang Prabang. We can either take a quick meal at a noodle stall, or a sumptuous dinner at one of the beautiful restaurants beside Mekong River. Road side stalls selling local food and beverages provide wide range of choices to the visitors as well. We like the food in Luang Prabang, very much. The local food were a bit different compared to Thai, Vietnamese, or Cambodian food. Well, let us show our photos.

Top in our list- Lao noodle. We found a nice stall on the edge of the night market, right beside the junction of Kitsalat Road and Sisavangvong Road (upper left). Both khao piet or wet rice strand (upper right), and khao soy or hand cut rice noodle (lower right) were nice. The stall was full with people and we had to queue to get an empty seat. Raw vegetables and special sauces were provided to enhance the taste of the noodles. Like Vietnamese noodle, free flow of raw vegetables were given. Basil leaf was given raw instead of adding into the cooking soup like Cambodian food.

There was another place where we could get nice Lao noodle- a shop nearby Indigo House along Sisavangvong Road (upper right). We tried a few dishes there, including seafood fried noodle (upper right), fried rice with pork (lower right), and noodle soup. 

We could find several nice restaurants beside Mekong River. We tried two of them- Vision File Restaurant at 177 Khem Khong Road was the better one. The best part of Vision File- nicely decorated (upper row)  with nice view along Mekong River (lower right). Anyway, we found mosquitoes around the area. We should bring some insect repellent to avoid the pest.

Mekong River from Vision File Restaurant. We could see people rowing dragon boats, ferries transporting commuters, and fishermen towing their nets along the river.  

Mekong River weed with special sauce (upper left), raw vegetables with minced pork (upper right), sticky rice, which was served in special container (lower right), and Lao-style fried rice were several dishes that we tried at the restaurants. Mekong River weed is a must-try food in Luang Prabang. The weed can be eaten together with sticky rice. 

We tried several dishes at Tamarind Tree Restaurant Mekong. The restaurant was located beside Mekong River, not far from Vision File Restaurant. Stir-fried mushroom in coconut water with seafood was special (upper left), while deep fried pork (upper right), fresh spring roll with peanut sauce (lower right), and Lao salad with egg were just average.

Food district is a narrow street beside Indigo House. It opens from 6 pm till 10:30 pm. We could find several stalls selling fruits, local products such as Mekong River weed, and a few stalls selling roasted fish, chicken, and pork there (upper left). The street was busy (upper right). Taste wise, the roasted food just average (lower right), but the papaya salad was nice. The portion of food in food district was small, with average price of 15,000 - 20,000 Kip per portion.

We found extra-large coconut in Luang Prabang at Vision File (upper left). Lao coffee (upper right) and local orange juice (lower right) are highly recommended. The orange juice was sold at the roadside stalls. 


Taking taxi from airport to our hotel nearby the Royal Palace Museum, the fee was fixed at 80,000 Kip. Quite expensive. We used tut-tut for the trip from our hotel back to the airport with 50,000 Kip. We rented a tut-tut to Kuang Si Waterfall with 80,000 Kip. For the rest of our trip, well, we just walked around on foot.

"You don't have to rent a bike, just walk around, why you are in a hurry?" That was what our hotel staff told us. He was right. We found no issue walking around within the old town area.

Luang Prabang International Airport is not far away from the heritage area. However the taxi fee was not cheap. We paid for taxi at the ticketing counter, then went to the waiting area to get a taxi. The process was smooth. The staff at the ticketing counter could speak in English, but not the driver. So we requested the staff to write down our hotel's address in Lao for the driver.

Souvenir and Shopping

The best place for shopping- Luang Prabang night market at Sisavangvong Road. The market was not big, around 100 meters long. Clothes, key chains, fridge magnets, handicrafts, alcoholic drinks, shoes, sandals, snacks, kitchenware, drawings, and decoration items were sold along the night market. 

Bargain? Yes, we could get up to 40 - 50% of discount on some items. We should compare the price of the same or similar item as the price was varied from one stall to another. The market starts daily at 6 pm and closes around 10 pm.

The market is located at Sisavangvong Road, in front of the National Palace Museum.

Stalls at Luang Prabang night market.

Wine brewed with poisonous insects and snakes (upper left), decorative bowls (upper right) and masks (lower right) were some of the items available in the market. Key chains made by metals taken from the arsenals left by U.S. army could be found as well. For the wine, you could actually pay to take just a small cup of them. We bought a few fridge magnets and food from the market.

Morning market is located along the lane behind Vat Mai, which can be accessed via Sisavangvong Road, Khem Khong Road, and Kitsalat Road. The morning market starts at around 5:30 am and closes at around 10:30 am.

Morning market is a place where locals gather to buy their daily needs. There are some souvenirs (upper left) and snacks (upper right) for tourists as well. Local vegetables (lower right) and exotic food such as little maggots can be found as well. Visit the market early is important to avoid hot burning sun. The snacks were quite cheap. We could bargain if we bought in bulk.

D & T Super Market- a place where we could buy imported food and beverages from China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea, together with Lao coffee, tea and Lao beer under one roof. The supermarket is located some 50 meters from Dara Market. About Dara Market, it was not more than a few rows of  rundown stalls, selling some imported clothes, shoes, and electronic products. Our advice, skip the place.

More about our stories in Luang Prabang are available:

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