Where to stay in Luang Prabang, the cradle of religion and spirituality
Even if you’ve never considered going on a spiritual journey, Luang Prabang may awaken your inner religious enthusiast. Although this picturesque little town is hidden in the north of Laos, it has been one of the most beloved destinations in Asia for decades. With so many temples and gorgeous villas, it looks like a place from a fairy tale. It’s known for its laid back lifestyle, so it’s an ideal place to leave all your worries behind. If you’re wondering where to stay in Luang Pang, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.
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5 best neighborhoods to stay in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang is an incredibly small place, and you can get anywhere you like on foot. Since you don’t have to worry about convenience, you can choose the neighborhood to stay in based on your own interests. To help you out, we have made a list of our top neighborhoods:
- Wat Mai
- Nam Khan Riverfront
- Wat Xiengthong
- Old Quarter
Where to stay in Luang Prabang
|Best for the first time||Wat Mai||The central neighborhood in the Old Quarter where you will find all major landmarks|
|Best on a budget||Nam Khan Riverfront||An affordable area with lots of interesting places to visit|
|Best for bohemian souls||Wat Xiengthong||A gorgeous area near the estuary with interesting bars and sights|
|Best for nightlife||Old Quarter||The historical heart of the city with several great restaurants and bars|
|Best for expats||Pakham||A peaceful neighborhood close to the Old Quarter but away from the tourist crowds|
Photo credit: elena_wuest
Where to stay in Luang Prabang for the first time: Wat Mai
Wat Mai is a small neighborhood in the heart of the Old Quarter, close to the Mekong waterfront. This area is Luang Prabang’s main tourist center and home to gorgeous sites. You will find temples, gardens, and monuments at every corner. It is also the most crowded part of the city and home to fantastic cafes and restaurants. As it is one of the most central areas, we recommend it to first-time visitors.
Best landmarks to visit in Wat Mai
The best thing about Wat Mai is that it is packed with all sorts of entertainment and sightseeing spots. You can visit many temples, go shopping, or even ride an elephant. Here are some of our favorite places to visit:
- Wat Mai Monastery
- The Royal Palace Museum
- Haw Pha Bang
- The Night Market
- Elephant Village Sanctuary & Resort
The Royal Palace Museum
The Royal Palace was built under the French colonial rule for King Sisavang Vong. After the revolution that ended the monarchy, the palace was turned into a museum. It contains artifacts of immense value, as well as an impressive royal car collection.
Photo credit: archanarjun
Where to stay in Luang Prabang on a budget: Nam Khan Riverfront
The mainland part of the Nam Kham Riverfront is an amazing place away from the tiring tourist crowds. As it is outside the Old Quarter, the prices are quite affordable. Still, it is close to the city center and you can get to the major sights on foot.
What to see and do on Nam Kham Riverfront
Just because Nam Kham Riverfront is not the epicenter of the town’s attractions, it doesn’t mean that you will get bored in this neighborhood. This area has a lot to offer, especially in terms of sightseeing. Check out these places that we highly recommend:
- Wat Misunarat
- The Old French Bridge
- Wat Mamorom
- Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center
The Old French Bridge
The Old French Bridge is one of the most notable attractions in Luang Prabang. Although the bridge was poorly built, and only motorcycles and pedestrians can cross it, it has its charms. The view from the bridge is amazing, so you will be able to take some Instagram-worthy shots.
Photo credit: unpetitboutdechemin
Where to stay in Luang Prabang for bohemian souls: Wat Xiengthong
The neighborhood surrounding the Wat Xiengthong temple is a place any bohemian at heart will appreciate. It is located at the very tip of the peninsula. Wat Xiengthong area is known for its many bars and restaurants, as well as several temples. It also includes a beautiful park where nature lovers can relax.
What to see and do in Wat Xiengthong area
In Wat Xiengthong, you can do all sorts of relaxing activities, from temple hopping to shopping and pampering yourself in a spa center. You will also see amazing restaurants where you can give local snacks a try. If you’re not sure where to go first, check out these amazing places:
- Wat Xieng Thong temple
- Burasari Heritage
- Riverview Park
- Le Banneton
- Queen Design Lao
Wat Xieng Thong temple
Wat Xieng Thong is one of the most breathtaking temples in Luang Prabang. Known as the Temple of the Golden City, it was built back in the 16th century. It is a wonderful representative of Laos craftsmanship and religious devotion.
Photo credit: pattdevdex
Where to stay in Luang Prabang for nightlife: Old Quarter
The Old Quarter is the town’s historic center and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The whole quarter is packed with wonderful sights and temples to explore. It is where the most lively neighborhoods are located, which is why we recommend it to nightlife lovers.
Where to go out in the evening in the Old Quarter
Luang Prabang isn’t a place where you can party all night long. Most places are quiet and the closing time is around 11 pm. Still, there are several great bars and restaurants where you can enjoy your evenings after a long day of sightseeing. Here are some places that have a good evening atmosphere:
- Icon Klub
- Chez Matt
- Sa Sa Sunset Cruise Bar
- Tangor Restaurant Bar & Lounge
Sa Sa Sunset Cruise and Bar
The only thing better than sipping a delicious drink is sipping it while watching the sunset from a boat. Sa Sa Sunset cruises are known for delicious food, interesting music, and an overall uplifting vibe. It’s a perfect ending to a beautiful day.
Photo credit: krausedav