Old Quarter Luang Prabang

Old Quarter Luang Prabang: Hours, Address, Old Quarter Luang Prabang Reviews: 4.5/5

Old Quarter Luang Prabang
4.5
Points of Interest & Landmarks
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12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Monday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Tuesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Wednesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Thursday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Friday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Saturday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Sunday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
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Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.5
1,462 reviews
Excellent
987
Very good
404
Average
59
Poor
8
Terrible
4

NswAustraliaDidi
NSW AUSTRALIA1,196 contributions
Our third visit to Luang Prabang, we just love the old area, the little side streets, are the best, very quiet and offering glimpses into a different culture. If you take your time you will be delighted with pots of plants, flowering orchids hanging from trees and bromeliads displayed in bamboo poles. Ornately decorated brightly coloured wats are everywhere, with the monks going about their daily life; mending roofs in their saffron coloured robes etc. Then you can just stop for a coffee overlooking one of the rivers and just reflect on how great life is.
Written February 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Anne D
Wimborne Minster, UK4,350 contributions
There's something about Luang Prabang that draws us back every couple of years or so and the old city is a huge reason why we always seem to revisit. Yes, it is touristy, full of tour companies and expensive restaurants and coffee shops, but it's still possible to find quiet, peaceful, shady streets by the river where hours can pass by drinking coffee and watching life on the busy Mekong or Nam Khan.
Even in seven years things have changed dramatically, but it's always Luang Prabang, and to a similar extent Ubud in Bali, that seems to draw us back to its laid-back lifestyle.
No doubt, once this dreadful time in which we find ourselves at present has long gone, we'll return to Luang Prabang time and time again.
Written April 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chris B
Holyhead, UK180 contributions
The old quarter is right in the main area of town. It is not very long and it is interesting to see the old colonial buildings some dating back centuries. The area is now all shops,bars and restaurants so is good for a stroll and to stop and have a drink or snack. Well worth a visit if you are in Luang Prabang.
Written March 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Larry M
Vientiane, Laos1,343 contributions
Couples
Quaint and leisurely walk thru the Old Town area in LP on peninsula...plenty of temples and shoppes, eateries and bars, great views of the Mekong and Nam Khom rivers and mountains in distance. Quiet at night and totally safe.
Written February 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

pahayden2016
Lancashire, UK31 contributions
The old quarter in Luang Prabang is a UNESCO heritage site, and there are many old buildings to see, from old French colonial architecture to the Buddhist temples. Worth seeing, but the Main Street is full of hotels and tourist shops. Better than other places like Bangkok or Hanoi, but still the tourist shops and Western bars do ruin the place somewhat.
Written January 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Вадим Ч
Odessa, Ukraine56 contributions
Solo
The best thing about Laos is the views on approaching it by air. Take a slow-moving propeller plane by Lao Airlines and a window seat on it. Flying in between the sharp, jungle-covered mountains makes you feel in a fairy tale animation. The few minutes of the mountain flight are well worth the price of journey.
On the downside, the best views seem to be on approaching Luang Prabang. The departure views are mostly mundane.
Thanks to its mountaineous location, a great advantage of Laos is its moderate weather. After extreme temperatures of Thailand and Cambodia, you would appreciate Laos' mildness.

The country, touristically speaking, is limited to Luang Prabang, which in turn is limited to the two streets. Architectural wonders touted in guidebooks are simply not there, and unless you're an expert on
Buddhist temples, they don't look as something great compared to European cathedrals. Traditional architecture is limited to perhaps a century-old houses, which again, are not tremendously attractive.
Originally, Luang Prabang (or Luang Phra Bang, as it is correctly called) became famous with tourists and received UNESCO recognition for its unique atmosphere. The few guesthouses available there sprang in old residential area, where backpackers mixed with locals. Giving the typically Laoish slow-motion life, it had been charming, indeed. Since then, Lao locals took on some Western habits, and became un-charmingly active, but more importantly, the entire residential area of the Old Town was converted to hotels, shops, and cafes. So that unique atmosphere, which was at the core of Luang Prabang's attractiveness, is decidedly gone, the city falling prey to tourism industry as so many other places. What is left, is uninteresting architecture, simple food, and lack of attractions.

There comes the ambiance. Unusually for Asia, the town is lovely. It's clean, laid-back, full of smiling people. Laos differs greatly from other places, being literally a country of smiles. Even in Thailand, another place of Theravada Buddhism, you won't see people smiling to you at every eye contact. That is possibly the biggest impression about the country, and could well be the reason for taking vacation there.
Such custom is important for hobbyist photographers who find it easy to shoot in Laos. People are extremely friendly, and actually enjoy posing. Just wave them hello after making that shot. However, try shooting candidly, for they would change their natural mimics and, especially, close mouth, hiding away that toothless smile.

There is no significant difference between budget hotels and guesthouses. Rooms are generally clean, staff friendly, and $25 a night gets you a decent place to stay. Beware of the hotels which advertise the location close to the night market. The town sprawls along the main road, and such hotels are usually on the wrong side of the market: they are indeed just two or three large blocs from the market, but then you have to walk about a mile to the Old Town. Hotels are available at similar prices at the riverside - opt for them.

Exchange your money. Though dollars are accepted everywhere, sellers would round the price up, resulting in you paying a dollar for 12- or 25-cent item. Sellers and tuk-tuk drivers are not especially bad. Certainly they are nowhere as annoying as in Cambodia or as cheating as in Thailand. Expect them to ask for double the real price, offer them one-third, and settle for the half.
It's not easy to find authentic hand-made products. At markets, they sell mass-produced goods - sometimes local, more often imported. The same holds even for bijou shops which dub as workshops. Ethnic goods show very little diversity.
What they're trying to pass for Lao food is typically Thai or Cambodian, and the variety is very small. Prices are not low at all, compared to neighboring countries. Many restaurants eye European prices, with simple breakfast cost around $7, and similar prices for single courses. Crepes, at 50 cents to a dollar in Thailand, cost up to three dollars at stalls and twice that in restaurants at Luang Prabang.
Instead, head for where the locals eat - that is, markets and backstreet stalls. They will still charge tourists about twice more than for the locals, but at least you would get something typical of the land, and dinner will cost you two to three dollars. That still won't be authentic Lao food, as the locals seem to prefer Chinese and some attempts at Western cuisine, such as pizza and baguette hamburgers. Except possibly for select restaurants, market food is more tasty, too. Street vendors have to keep their good name with repeat local customers, while cafes deal with one-time tourist clients.
Don't be afraid of hygienic issues. So they re-use chopsticks and barely wash spoons, no problem. After you get mild diarrhea, buy in local pharmacy Cyprofloxacin (two 500mg tablets daily) and Imodium (they have a cheap generic) - that's it.

Don't be ridiculous. Some Westerners go for stupid volunteer projects like helping local farmers to grow rice. They don't need that help, it's a tourist trap.
Don't fall for the nonsense of visiting "remote authentic villages". Every day, a bunch of travel agencies unload a horde of tourists there, so the locals came to know their part, and play their purported roles. That's a poor theater. Instead, hire a tuk-tuk for $20 a day - that's 7-8am to 6-7pm, and not eight hours - and tell him to get you to the actually backwater villages, not the ones on tourist path. They are nice, people there are very open, and some would gladly share their home-made rice alcohol, which they call whisky, with you.
Same for trekking. Don't fall for the offers of trekking in jungles to remote villages. You won't be able to trek a half mile in real jungle, and how remote a village can be for a tourist to trek there in two hours. What happens, they unload tourists from minivan onto unpaved road, and they walk that very road, overtaken by locals on motorbikes. At most, short parts of the "trekking" go through fields. The same villages are reachable by tuk-tuk, and should better be avoided, anyway, as tourist traps. In no case go trekking after yesterday's rain, as the dirt is extreme.
Avoid the pepper, textile, and whisky villages around the town. Those are tourist traps, bent on selling you their wares.
Tour organizers would also sell you boat trips to some cave with a thousand Buddha images. Unless you're a devote mathematician of Buddhist faith, you don't really care how many images are there. None of them has any artistic value. That said, if you still want to visit the cave, do it on your own, with tuk-tuk. That would also come cheaper than organized tour.
Beside villages, mingle with locals at the modern part of Luang Prabang, that's on the other side of the town from the old part. Go through the market, buy and eat from the stalls, converse with people.
The most popular attraction in Luang Prabang is alms-giving. It used to be that every morning, Buddhist monks went through the city, and inhabitants handed them rice. No more. Hardly a single local still engages in that tradition. They only sell snacks to the tourists, who line up the streets at 5.30am to present their offerings to the monks. Probably, the recipients donate those packed snacks back to the shops, as they would hardly survive eating several packs of chips per day. Only novice monks are sent to participate in that circus, and contrary to tour guides' claims, they do so without a trace of meditation.

Overall, enjoy your trip as a smile therapy among some of the nicest people on earth.
Written April 13, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

susiepops2097
Sydney, Australia31 contributions
Couples
This black and white movie was made in 1927 in the Laos jungle. There were no zoom lens back then and the amount of animals that were around then is jaw dropping. The effects of man upon the animal world is unbelievable.
Outdoor film in garden of Sanctuary hotel at 6.30 free- buy a beer and enjoy
Written September 6, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

poohtravel
New Zealand332 contributions
Solo
I thought I was going to a Lao city but instead, initially, found myself in a beautifully quaint old town that could have been Europe. The main street is filled with exquisite craft shops, bars and restaurants, many of which serve mainly international foods or if they do serve Lao food it is mainly bland and not of the greatest quality. Its hard to see where the old part and the new part join. The old part very beautiful and picturesque. The new part filled with real treasures and lovely people.

I struggled to get good quality tasty local,food, but fell in love with the quality craft shops. The night market, sadly, sells the ones that re mass produced and two a penny, mainly found in other countries as well.

Once off that main toursit strip I started to enjoy the city and felt that I was now in Lao.

A few things that arent mentioned much but for me were the best things about Luang Prabang. Hand crafts, quality work not what you buy in the markets.

Go,to Ock Pop Tok. They do free tours of their craft village, offer great lessons in Weaving, silk dying, batik, basketry and have a super restaurant offering real Lao food. Their retail stores offer quality hand made product at good prices.

Go up the river to Kamu Lodge for a night or two. Like being in paradise and great value for money.

Learn to cook at Tamarind. They take you a way out of town to a gorgeous purpose built facility overlooking a lotus pond. Comparing notes with others it seems that this is the best place to learn. The cook was fantastic and the whole experience wonderful.

If you are staying in the old city, cross the bamboo bridge and explore the other side. Totally different to the main part of the city.

Go to la Banneton for THE BEST croissant.

Visit the early morning vege market off the main street. Fruit, veg, meat and all,sorts to make your mouth water. Clean, vibrant and beautifully presented.

Get off the main street and you will,find a whole new gorgeous world of adventure.
Written December 11, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chris B
615873990 contributions
Solo
he profusion of historic buildings and temples is truly amazing. Especially if you take the time to walk and Tuk Tuk around the city for a few days as I did. You are never short of a mind boggling array of restaurants to get a great meal at ... and you have beautiful views of the Mekong River to swallow up if you like to cruise along the promenade that encircles the old city. I enlisted to support of a local Tuk Tuk driver and we travelled all over ... he was able to show me places that the organised tours are not to be seen at. Markets, Temples, monuments and historic buildings and museums ... just a wonderful "city".A "city" in name only because if you don't excursion outside the the old city you'd wonder where the place got that status. But the surrounds are fascinating also if you have the urge to look!
Great place ... I shall return!
Written November 2, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Christopher T
184 contributions
Couples
I guess my expectation was tainted by friends who came here many years ago. They talked about the atmosphere, how peaceful, serene it was....
Well now, to me it is just a really busy, crowded area!
It's not without the tourist sights, activities, shopping and old buildings, but it is so much like any bustling area in other SE Asian towns and cities.
Written February 26, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Old Quarter Luang Prabang

Old Quarter Luang Prabang is open:
  • Sun - Sat 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
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