Walking Tour: Luang Prabang
Start: Wat Phousi
Finish: Mekong riverbank
Time: 3 or 4 hours, not including eating or shopping stops.
Best Times: Morning or late afternoon
Luang Prabang is a city made for strolling. It's a tiny place, and every few steps you will come across something ancient or fascinating or both. Be sure to read the full listings for each wat, above.
Start with a climb up the hill to:
1. Wat Phousi
Wat Phousi provides excellent views of the town, with the two rivers that flank it set out before you.
At the foot of the hill is:
2. Wat Pa Huak
This wat features fascinating murals of life in Luang Prabang in centuries past.
Cross over the road to the:
3. Royal Palace Museum
This museum allows you to take in some of the atmosphere of the prerevolution royal city. You can also see a replica of the Pha Bang statue that gives the city its name.
Now walk directly northeast up the peninsula of land where most of Luang Prabang's sites are situated. It starts as Sisavangvong Road and turns into Sakkarine Road. Along the way, you will find:
4. Wats at Sisavangvong and Sakkarine
In this area, drop into Wat Mai (before the Royal Palace), Wat Nong, Wat Sene, and Wat Khili. Each of these wats is an absolute jewel.
Take a Break -- Stop for lunch at any one of the superb restaurants on both Sisavangvong Road and Sakkarine Road when the temples become tiring.
At the end of the peninsula is:
5. Wat Xieng Thong
This is the premier wat of Luang Prabang. With its exquisite exterior, typically Lao sweeping roof, and intricately carved doors, it is a cultural highlight.
Exit Wat Xieng and walk up Kingkitsarath Road. Keep Mount Phousi at your right, then turn into Phommathat road and then Visunerath Road where you will find:
6. Wat Visoun and Wat Aham
These two magnificent structures feature beautiful statues and stupas (including Wat Visoun's "Watermelon Stupa"), and viewing them is the perfect end to your day of temple hopping.
When you get to Setthathilrath Road, turn right and walk straight down to the Mekong, stopping at:
7. Dara Market
Enjoy a cup of coffee at the Chill Out Café and do a little stall browsing at the Dara Market.
Wander down to the boat pier and walk down the steps to the riverbank itself. Here you have a great view of the small mountain on the other side of the Mekong, behind which the sun sinks dramatically, silhouetting the working riverboats as they chug along the waters or sit lethargically at their moorings.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.