Kouangxi Water Fall
Walk through open farmland and forest trails to the Kuang Si Waterfall, which, though not very high, are striking in its lush jungle setting. Upon arrival there are plenty of opportunities to swim in the refreshing pools and enjoy a boxed picnic lunch. There is also the option to visit Ban Phonesay, a village well known for its silk weavings that have even been featured in the New York Time Magazine.
The most arresting temple here houses the Pha Bang Buddha, Laos’s talisman for over half a millennium, and after which it is named (Luang Prabang means The Great Pha Bang). The temple is just a decade old! The old and the new come together seamlessly here, as this multi-tiered ornate new building that stands true to its architectural roots envelopes the most sacred item in all of Laos’s history.The Royal Museum is also a treasure to walk around - from an opulent throne room decked in wall murals to the more sparse and simple quarters of the royal family. This one way ramble around the palace also has many different exhibits and paintings that give you a full picture of Lao royalty and their beliefs.
Pak Ou Caves
After experiencing divinity at Wat Xieng Thong, we took a boat up the Mekong River, passing abandoned riverside temples and isolated villages. Our destination is the Pak Ou Caves, a sacred spot where thousands of Buddhas were hidden for safekeeping during earlier invasions. Pilgrims have since added their own offerings and the caves are literally overflowing with Buddhas.
Luang Prabang Night Market
The night market at Laos is unique. It spreads over an entire kilometer along the main street and local vendors here stock products both handmade and made in Thailand and China. While the items are cutesy, it left me wondering about how this was a market set up exclusively for the tourists, because let's face it, no locals would buy at these prices even after all the bargaining!
Plain of Jars Site 1
The plain of jars is an area in the Xieng Khuang area in Laos and consists of 90 different sites where these ancient stone jars have been found. The jars date back to the Iron Age (500 BC to AD 500) and are believed to be used in burial rituals. We visited site 1 and maybe weirdly so I was more impressed with all the signs signaling where it was safe to walk than the actual jars. We came from Luang Prabang so to get to this site we had to drive through the mountains for a long time, sleep in the horrible guest house I told you about earlier and then travel back the same route we came. And quite frankly I am terrible when it comes to stones and ruins. I just don’t think it is worth spending time and while the weather was nice and cool the jars themselves are well…just jars. Riding 16 hours just to look at some stone jars for about an hour seems a bit silly to me. If you have any interest in the history of those jars, than by all means go there, but for me it was a waste of two days. More interesting was the knowledge that part of the war was fought there as the terrain was riddled with trenchlines and the safe paths were all marked as it is not sure there are no more mines in the area. Knowing that there are still people being blown to pieces in Laos on a regular basis due to leftover mines, it’s quite something to realize what has been going on there.
The Royal Palace Museum
Built in the early 20th Century, the Royal Palace was the residence of the royals until the communists overthrew them in 1975. Subsequently converted into a museum, it is now a place to see glimpses of the history of Laos while also enjoying the lotus ponds, the art, the Crown Jewels of Laos, the Buddhas, and the plush furnishings and decor of the rooms in the old palace, which are still well preserved.
Green Jungle Flight
Try the ziplining here! You will be treated to a ride in an green eco-vehicle from your hotel to the ferry, then take a ride down the Mekong, and then hop on a local mini-truck to reach Green Jungle Flight. Sit down and enjoy your welcome drink, as the staff briefs you thoroughly in the process and their safety standards. They are awesome! And then enjoy the ride :)