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Laos Travel GuideLuang Prabang Travel Guide

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LUANG PRABANG province possesses one of Northern Laos’ most diverse landscapes. In the west, the Mekong cuts through dense jungle and lines it with sandy banks. The south is dominated by awesome massifs climbing north from Vientiane and the Nam On (Ou River) voyages north from the city of Luang Prabang, humbled by sheer cliffs of karst around Nong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi Neua. In the east, Rte 7 ambles towards Xieng Khuang province and the scenery gives way to soft hills of tawny brown.

Travelers head here for a few days and end up spending a few weeks exploring the beguiling topography. Access through the Province is comparatively easy and all roads lead to and from Luang Prabang city, one of Laos’s highlights. With Rte 13 almost fully sealed, putting the province within a day’s drive of China as well as Vientiane. Luang Prabang is well on its way to becoming one the country’s richest provinces.

Luang Prabang harbors 12 ethnicities, of whom nearly half are Lao Thoeng, 40% Lao Loum and the remainder Lao Soung.

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Luang Prabang thus far has only two places where dancing is permitted. Both close 11.30pm sharp.

Dao Fah
Opening hour: 9 – 11.30 pm
Live bands playing Lao and Thai pop alternate with DJs who spin rap and hip-hop. The bar serves Beerlao as well as mixers for patrons bringing their own liquor

Muangsua Hotel
Tel: 212263, Add: Th Phu Vao
Opening hour:  9 – 11.30 pm
In a low-ceilinged room behind the hotel, a Lao band plays the usual mix of Lao and Thai pop. Only Beerlao is sold.


Royal Theatre
Add: Th Sisavangvong, admission, 6 – 15 USD, shows 6 pm
Inside it the local performers put on a show that includes a baasii ceremony, traditional dance and  folk music of Lao ethnic minorities such as H’mong people and Phoo Noi


Le Cinema
Add: Ban Xieng Mouane street, ticket 3 USD
Opening hour: 6 pm – midnight.

Martin’s Pub
Add: Th Vatmou- Enna
Opening hour: from 6 pm

Laos Travel GuideEating in Luang Prabang

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Lao coffee and sweet European pastries tempt foreign visitor at several bakeries along the Th Sisavangvong and Th Chao Fa Ngum. The pastry selection is generally better during the high season when consumption is at its peak, and supplies are fresh.

Scandinavian Bakery
Add: Th Sivangvavong, meals 0.8 – 3 USD, breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Serving delicious cakes, pastries and cookies as well as large breakfast and fabulous baguettes.

JoMa Bakery café
Tel: 252 292, Add: Th Chao Fa Ngum; Meals1-2 USD; breakfast, lunch.
It has alfresco 8 tables along the street or in a spacious air-con dining room. A great menu of sandwiches, soups and salads joins the large bread and g pastry selection, and the coffee is excellent.

CT Bakery Restaurant
Add: Th Sisavangvong; Meals: US$1-3; breakfast & lunch
This bakery serves outstanding ‘breakfast baguettes’ stuffed with delicious meats and cheeses. It also has an extensive Thai, Lao and European menu at reasonable prices and a secondhand bookshop.


Phousi Cafe & Gallery
Add: Th Kingkitsarat; meals US$2-2.50; breakfast, lunch & dinner.
In a leafy bamboo courtyard, this quiet cafe serves set Western breakfasts, salads, sandwiches and a host of quasi-Lao and Thai stir-fries.

Morning Glory
Tel: 020-7774122; Add: Th Sakkarin; meals US$2-3.50; breakfast & lunch and dinner closed Tue
This smart and cosy cafe dishes up some of the tastiest breakfasts in town: smoked ham omelettes, fresh muesli, rice soup, and fabulous coffee. For lunch tuck into esto chicken pasta or a fragrant Thai curry.

Restaurant Luang Prabang Bakery
Tel: 252499; Add: Th Sisavangvong; Meals: US$3-5; breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This swish restaurant treats timid palates to excellent burgers, pizzas, pastas, steaks and salads, and fairly generic ‘Lao food’. The beautiful timber seating is worth a visit, as is the French and Australian wine, superb coffee and gluttony-inducing cakes,

Café des Artes
Add: Th Sisavangvong, meals 3 – 10 USD breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The scrummy selection of deli goods on this menu satiates chorizo, salami, saucisson, pate and cheese carving. It also boat French fare, soup, burgers, brochettes and set menu

Le Cafe Ban Vat Sene
Add: Th Sakkarin, meals 3 – 5 USD breakfast, lunch & dinner
It’s decorated with antiques; this fine café serves tapenades and tapas, smocked chicken and feta salads, roast pork and tarragon – filled baguettes. The tarts and cakes are delicious


Cafes Toui
Tel: 253397; Add: Th Sisavang Vatthana; Meals: 3-5 USD; Breakfast, lunch & dinner.
This cosmopolitan oasis serves delicious fast bagels and mostly European mail as grilled buffalo with red wine and tomato sauce.

Lala Cafe
Add: Th Kingkitsarat; meals: 3 – 5 USD, breakfast, lunch & dinner
Gracing its menu are Greek dishes, mass man curries and kicking spicy catfish and mango salad

Restaurant Brasserie L’Elephant
Tel: 252482; Add: Ban Wat Nong; Meals: US$ 8-16: lunch and dinner.
One of Luang Prabang’s most elegant eateries features wooden floors, subdued lighting and Lao antiques. The menu is mostly French but you’ll find other treats such as New Zealand rib eye with gorgonzola cheese sauce and delectable seafood.


Nisha Restaurant
Add: Ban Xieng Mouane street, meals: 1 – 2 USD, breakfast, lunch & dinner
This place serves Indian specialties, Western breakfasts and Lao dishes, both veg and nonveg.

Nazim Indian Food
Tel: 253 493, Add: Th Sisavangvong; meals 1.50-2.50USD; lunch & dinner.
It has a huge menu of north and south Indian food. The curries come as spicy as you like and the vegetarian selection is extensive.


Fruit Shake Restaurant
Tel: 5672376; Add: Th Sakkarin, meals 1 USD, lunch & dinner)
They serve fried dried beef, Luang Prababang – Style, fresh chili pastes and wild deer with basil are up for grabs as well as three- course set menu for 3 USD.

Paradise Restaurant
Tel: 253 200, Add: Th Pha Mahapatsaman, meals 1.50 – 2USD, breakfast, lunch, dinner. Serves great Lao and Luang Prabang specialties like sweet and sour Mekong squid, or áw lám – stewed meat with green beans and eggplant.

Khemkhong View Restaurant
Add: Th Khem Khong, Meals 1.50 – 2 USD, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
One of the riverside restaurants lining the Mekong has an extensive menu with choices such as spicy coconut soup, squid láap (salad), or steamed or fermented fish.

Mr Hong’s Coffeeshop & Restaurant
Add: 71/6 Ban Thongchaleun street, meals 2 – 2.50 USD, breakfast, lunch & dinner.
This restaurant draws a steady clientele with his long menu of reasonably priced Lao dishes like jeow eggplant, duck salad. The cocktail are potent and the conversation easy.

Tel: 020 7770484,, Add: Ban Wat Nong, meals: 2.50 – 4 USD, breakfast, lunch
Dishes include whole fish, marinated in local herbs, stuffed with lemongrass and barbecued in banana leaves, traditional eggplant and meat stew or Lao-style barbequed pork. Meals are enhanced considerably by the owners’ detailed explanation of the ingredients and how they’re eaten. The fruit coolers are divine on a hot day and the khai pene (seaweed), chilli pastes and teas (which you can buy) are wholesaled to restaurants around the world.

View Kheam Kong Restaurant
Tel: 6212726; Add: Th Khem Khong street; meals US$2.50-3; breakfast, lunch & dinner.
This riverside restaurant serves a good Luang Prabang sausage salad, fried green chili with duck, and Luang Prabang-style stewed fish. Seating is on a large balcony with fairy lights.

Lao Lao Garden
Th Kingkitsarat street; mealsUS$3- 5; breakfast, lunch & dinner
Superlative Thai, Lao and Western fare graces the long menu at this hip, alfresco restaurant, where tables tumble into a hilly, candlelit garden. The Lao barbecue here is a must – diners are served a basket of raw meat and vegetables, which they cook at their own leisure on a round hotplate in the centre of the table. It’s about as much fun as dinner gets.

Tum Tum Cheng Restaurant
Tel: 252019; Add: Th Sakkarin; Meals: US$3-5; lunch and dinner. Years of experience have made this one of the best restaurants in town, and the Lao chef here prepares an interesting menu of Lao and Lao-European fusion. As he lived in Hungary for some years, some of the dishes display a European touch.

Tum Tum Bamboo Restaurant
Add: Th Sisavangvong street; meals US$2.50-4; breakfast, lunch & dinner.
Authentic flavor In an ambient setting.

Tamnak Lao Three Elephant Cafe
Tel: 252525; Add: Th Sakkarin street; meals US$2.50- 6; lunch and dinner
Lao, Luang Prabang and Thai food.


Luang Prabang has a unique cuisine all its own. One of the local specialties is a jam like condiment made with chilies and dried buffalo skin. A soup called áw lám made with dried meat, mushrooms, eggplant and a special bitter-spicy root, is also a typical Luang Prabang dish (roots is herbs with bitter-hot effects are a force in Luang Prabang cuisine). Other local delicious watercress that’s rarely found outside the Luang Prabang area, and khái pâen, dried river moss fried in seasoned oil, topped with sesame seeds and served with jaew bawng. Khào kam, a local red, sweet, slightly fizzy wine made from sticky rice, is abundantly and inexpensively available by the bottle in Luang Prabang. It can be good or bad depending on the brand.

Somchanh Restaurant
Tel: 252021; Add: Th Suvannabanlang; Meals: 1 – 3USD, breakfast. lunch & dinner
This simple but pleasant outdoor place near the cluster of guesthouses in Ban Wat That serves a large selection of Lao and Luang Prabang dishes, including the best choice of vegetarian Lao food in town. Dining areas are divided between tables on a slight bluff near the kitchen and seating across the road on the riverbank.

Laos Travel GuideDrinking in Luang Prabang

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Most of Luang Prabang is sound asleep, or at least nodding off behind a bottle of khio kam, by 10 pm, but there are a few bars around. Closing time, by law, is 11.30pm.                                                                                                        

Hive Bar
Add: Th Kingkiturat Street
This sultry den has a honeycomb of brick-lined, candlelit rooms and corridors, plus a cluster of alfresco tables out the front. Lào-láo (rice whiskey) cocktails are the house specialty.

Lemon Grass
Add: Th Khem Khong
This sleek and sophisticated bar serves classic cocktails and good wine in a chic setting.

Martin’s Pub
Add: Th Vatmou-Enna
This relaxed drinking hole is an English pi Laos. It’s got the obligatory curved wooden bar with stools but the decor is distinctly local. There’s a good range of booze and burgers on the menu and ’70s, ’81 ’90s classics in the background. Movie are screened nightly at 6pm
More drinking holes:

Nao’s Place
Add: Th Sivavangvong
Central sport with international sports on a big screen

Lao Lao garden
Add: Th Kingkitsarat
Two–for–one cocktail, Beerlao and shooter once in the dining’s done.

Laos Travel GuideShopping in Luang Prabang

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Tel: 254761 – Add: 71 Ban Wat Nong Street
This non – profit curates three exhibitions annually and promotes textiles from the diverse ethnic minorities of Laos. The quality is superb and the products are an education in Lao culture themselves.

Add: Vatmou-Enna Street.
It target the discerning  shopper with east-meet-west clothing in natural fabrics and dyes, designer jewelry, homewares and handicrafts, book on Lao cuisine, architecture and craft.

Naga Creation
Tel: 020-7775005 – Add: Th Sisavangvong.
Specializing in jewellery, it procedures individual masterpieces using a variety of precious stones and silver. All items are hand crafted and you can see the jewellers at work in the store.

Tel: 254406
Th Sivavangvong offers naturally Lao silk and cotton, custom-tailored clothes, household decorative items. Fabric can also be purchased.

Pathana Boupha Antique House
Tel: 212 262 – Add: 24/9 Ban Visoun Street
In an impressive old French mansion, it carries antique statuary, jewellery, silverwork, royal Lao government currency and photos, mostly from the Lao owner private collection

Thithpeng Maniphone
Ban Wan That.
This crafted silverware for Luang Prabang royalty before 1975. It has 15 apprentice silversmiths but still does the most dedicate work himself.


Handicraft night market
Add: Corner Th Sisavangvong & Th Kitsarat
Opening hour: 5am – 11pm
Every evening this market assembles along Th Sisavangvong from the Royal Palace Museum to Th Kitsarat, closing this section of the street off to motor vehicles. It’s one of Luang Prabang’s biggest tourist lures. Low-lit and quiet, it’s devoid of hard selling and is possibly the most tranquil market in Asia. Tens of dozens of traders sell silk scarves and wall hangings, plus H’mong appliqué blankets, T-shirts, clothing, shoes, paper, silver, bags, ceramics, bamboo lamps and more. It’s incredibly cheap and because you’re injecting currency directly into the local economy you have to feel good about spending dosh here.

Fresh produce market
Opening hour: 5.30am – 4pm, Sat – Mon
A colorful market that fills the street between Th Sisavangvong and the Mekong in Ban Pakam. You can watch locals stock up on leafy greens, eggs, dried shrimp and live frogs. It’s very photogenic and best in the early morning.
Talat Phosy is a huge warehouse like structure built by the Chinese, encompassing the biggest market for fresh produce, meats, herbs and just about any other basic requisite of Lao life.
There’s also a Chinese market, opposite the Luang Prabang Provincial Stadium on the outskirts of town, selling dry goods, textiles and hardware.