Three Days In Luang Prabang: Best Luang Prabang Itinerary For First Time Visitors

Find out the perfect three days in Luang Prabang itinerary to ensure you have the ultimate time in this beautiful city. Let’s talk about the best things to do, restaurants, where to stay, and more in this gem of Laos!


Are you considering a quick yet enriching escape to Luang Prabang? Wondering how to soak up the best of this UNESCO World Heritage site? The quaint streets, laid-back life, and peaceful atmosphere make this place a favorite for many travelers in Laos. In my opinion, 3 days in Luang Prabang is the perfect amount of time.

However, travelers can often feel overwhelmed trying to prioritize which sites to visit in a limited timeframe and may miss out on experiencing the essence of this unique city’s cultural and natural beauty.

I have actually spent a reasonable amount of time in Luang Prabang over individual trips to Laos. In my most recent adventure, I spent 6 days in the city alone and was able to do some truly unique activities.

This itinerary is perfect for travelers who want a blend of adventure, history, and tranquility. Whether you are a solo adventurer, a couple, or a family, this guide ensures you experience a comprehensive slice of Laotian life.

So get ready to learn all about the best 3 day Luang Prabang Itinerary so you can make the most out of your time with your time in this gem of a town!


looking over the town of luang prabang from mount phousi on a cloudy morning
looking over the town of luang prabang from mount phousi on a cloudy morning

🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Laos: 12Go Asia


How Many Days In Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is a beautiful city with plenty of things to do there, it’s a highlight of Laos for many visitors.

Depending on how long you plan to spend backpacking Laos, whether that be 1 week or 1 month, you are best to spend a minimum of 3 days in Luang Prabang.

This will give you enough time to check out the impressive waterfalls, explore the temples, admire the township, and relax in one of the quaintest spots in Southeast Asia.

Personally, I have spent a mixture of time in this city, from 3 nights on my first visit, which honestly left me craving more, to 1 week on my most recent trip. This spot is a great base if you work online or are just looking to slow down your travels a bit.

royal palace at the luang prabang night market during sunset
royal palace at the luang prabang night market during sunset

Day One: Temples & Markets On The Luang Prabang Itinerary

On your first day you will get a good overview of the city and its surroundings by exploring some of the most popular temples.

In the evening make sure to check out the popular Luang Prabang Night Market for street food and souvenir shopping.


Morning- Temple Hopping

There is no better way to start your 3 days Luang Prabang Itinerary than exploring the many temples around Luang Prabang. Though, before setting off make sure to grab yourself a delicious breakfast.

Personally, I found it rather difficult to find an affordable breakfast spot in Luang Prabang, though a favorite of ours quickly turned out Joma Bakery Cafe. It is also one of the breakfast hotspots for tourists and coffee lovers.

Now you are fueled for the daytime to check out some of the best temples around Luang Prabang:

The impressive Wat Pa Phai is a great picturesque temple to visit during your Luang Prabang itinerary. It has a gold and red wooden fresco depicting life here in the 1800s. This temple is a little bit forgotten by tourists so there will not be many other people there, but it is certainly worth checking out.

Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham is another awesome temple to visit in Luang Prabang. It is the largest temple here you can explore and is extremely grand. The interior and exterior are covered with black and red lacquer with gold leaf.

The Royal Palace is next to see, though it is more of a museum than a temple. Here you can see religious objects, weapons, statues, screens, paintings, and even the crown jewels of Laos.

There is even a room that features murals depicting Lao life in the 1930s. Entry to the Royal Palace grounds is free, though if you would like to look at the inside there is an entrance fee of $1.50 / 30, 000LAK.

Situated slightly outside of the main town, though within walking distance, Wat Xieng Thong is one of my personal favorites. This is the most historically significant temple in the city and one of the highest symbols of Buddhism in Laos.

golden buddhas at temple in luang prabang
golden buddhas at temple in luang prabang
buddha underneath a pavilion at one of the incredible temples worth visiting on your luang prabang itinerary
buddha underneath a pavilion at one of the incredible temples worth visiting on your luang prabang itinerary

Afternoon- Pak Ou Caves

You can either take a tuk-tuk back to the center of town or walk and grab lunch. If walking good recommendations are The Belle Rive Terrace if you’re craving Asian or Popolo for Italian.

I think the Pak Ou Caves is one of the best trips you can take in Luang Prabang. It allows you to see this important historic and sacred site as well as experience life from the water.

You can either organize your trip to Pak Ou Caves in advance from a tour agency in Luang Prabang or just turn up at the main dock opposite Saffron Coffee.

If you aren’t traveling solo you might prefer to charter your own boat for privacy which will cost you around $25.00 / 500,000 LAK. However, be aware you will need to bargain hard for a decent price.

Joining a shared boat at the dock (though these leave early morning) will cost around $7.50 / 140,000 LAK. The entry to the cave is not included either and will be an extra $3.00 / 60,000 LAK.

Visiting Pok Ou caves in the afternoon will allow you to escape the crowds to truly appreciate the beauty. The lower cave is full of Buddhas with gorgeous views out to the Mekong River, whilst the upper cave is a literal cave (bring your phone light) with Buddhas in it as well.

You will need to climb up a couple of hundred steps to the upper cave so wear comfortable shoes. The journey will also take around 4 hours in total.

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the incredible views out of pak ou caves over the mekong river
the incredible views out of pak ou caves over the mekong river
decorative buddhas in pak ou caves looking out to the mekong river
decorative buddhas in pak ou caves looking out to the mekong river
hundreds of buddhas at pak ou caves in luang prabang
hundreds of buddhas at pak ou caves in luang prabang

Evening – Night Market

Beat you have worked up an appetite after all those stairs at Puk Ou Caves. No worries, after you’ve headed back to your accommodation, got cleaned up, and are no longer sweat-drenched it’s time for dinner at the Luang Prabang Night Market.

Just head towards the Royal Palace and you will find the roads transformed, now covered in gazebos with goods lined up.

My favorite spots to eat basically any meal in Luang Prabang is the night market so of course, I had to add it to this three day itinerary! Here is the budget traveler’s dream with meals costing a couple of dollars.

Whether you are craving something sweet, noodles, rice, or a simple baguette, you can get it all at the Luang Prabang Night Market. A popular option for travelers is the vegetarian buffets which are down the side alleys (just look out for the big signs).

After dinner, it’s the perfect time for some souvenir shopping! There are so many items being sold here, though it does get a little repetitive. From toys, jewelry, clothing and so much more no doubt you will find something to bring home.

Just be aware that you will need to, and are expected to barter for prices.

Now, time to get a little bit of rest before an adventurous day tomorrow on the second day of our three days in Luang Prabang.

delicious glasses of fruit waiting to be made into smoothies at the luang prabang night market
delicious glasses of fruit waiting to be made into smoothies at the luang prabang night market
sunset down the main walking street in luang prabang
sunset down the main walking street in luang prabang

🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Laos: 12Go Asia


Day 2: Kuang Si Falls & Mount Phousi On The Luang Prabang Itinerary

Get ready for a day of adventure, and just a few stairs and we venture to some of the most popular things to do in Luang Prabang, Kuang Si Falls and Mount Phousi.


Morning- Kuang Si Falls

You can either start the morning as early or as late as you would like as today our main activity will be visiting Kuang Si Falls. Just make sure to have a good breakfast before you depart as you will need the energy.

If you want to try somewhere new check out Saffron Coffee for a delicious bite with Mango and coconut French toast.

These days the main way to get to Kuang Si Falls is by going on an organized tour. These can be pre-booked through basically any accommodation or travel agency.

You can also book some full day options available online.

For example, the Cruise to Pak Ou Caves & Kuang Si Waterfalls tour has an average 4.8 star rating and you will get the chance to visit Pak Ou Caves and Kuang Si Falls on a boat. The price is $48.00 per person including lunch, entrance fees, transport, and water. This can be booked on either GetYourGuide or Viator (slightly cheaper).

On arrival at Kuang Si Falls, you will first pass a bear sanctuary. These bears have been saved from people using them for medical reasons and now call this place home. After that, you will reach the lower pools which are perfect for swimming.

There is also a changing room available in case you are not already in your swimmers.

Further up the path, you will find the magnificent main waterfall of Kuang Si Falls which is quite a sight. There are plenty of viewpoints to appreciate the beauty from and there is even a path from which you can climb to the top.

Be aware it is quite steep and in my opinion, there is nothing overly special at the top, so if you’re limited on time just give the climb a miss.

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looking over one of the viewpoints to the impressive kuang si falls - a must on the luang prabang itinerary
looking over one of the viewpoints to the impressive kuang si falls – a must on the luang prabang itinerary
admiring the cascades of blue water at kuang si falls
admiring the cascades of blue water at kuang si falls
slow shutter speed of kuang si falls in luang prabang
slow shutter speed of kuang si falls in luang prabang

Afternoon- Relax And Shop

You can choose to either have lunch at the food vendors near Kuang Si Falls or back in the city. Though it is likely you will not have enough time at the falls so waiting will be your best bet.

An excellent option and one of the best places to eat in Luang Prabang is called Khaiphaen. This restaurant provides training opportunities for locals wanting to get into the hospitality industry.

Afterward, I highly recommend checking out a little bit of the shopping around Luang Prabang. There are some excellent social enterprises in the town center so your money will be going towards helping the community. An extremely popular option is Ock Pop Tok which specializes in textile goods.

Make sure to have a bit of a relax by popping into one of the many spas that line the streets to splurge for a massage. Prices for massages in Luang Prabang are among some of the cheapest I have seen in Southeast Asia so there is no excuse!

bird in cage in luang prabang
bird in cage in luang prabang

Late Afternoon- Mount Phousi

Mount Phousi is no doubt one of the best spots to watch the sunset in Luang Prabang, so you will want to head up at least an hour before the sun goes down. As this is one of the best spots, many tourists come here to check it out which is why you should head up a bit earlier for a good spot.

There is an entry fee of $1.50 / 30,000LAK which you will need to pay at a booth about halfway up. The climb consists of over 300 stairs and there are two access points on each side of the mountain.

Apart from the impressive view at the top, there is also a temple called Wat Chom Si. If you are not a fan of crowds you can always visit Mount Phousi for sunrise while the majority are still sleeping.

sunset ontop of mount phousi
sunset ontop of mount phousi

Evening- Utopia and Bowling

After your climb down make your way to dinner with a view at Viewpoint Cafe. Located on the banks of the Nam Kham River this is the perfect place to spend an evening.

Grab a Lao beer and a meal while taking in the beautiful sights.

If you want a bit more of a late night you can finish the evening at the party place in Luang Prabang and go bowling.

Well, this is exactly how it sounds, a bowling alley, basically in the middle of nowhere, providing a party sanctuary when the midnight Luang Prabang curfew has begun.

bowling alley in luang prabang
bowling alley in luang prabang

🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Laos: 12Go Asia


Day 3: Discover Local Culture On The Luang Prabang Itinerary

For the third and final day of our 3 days in Luang Prabang itinerary it’s time to discover the local culture you will find in this gorgeous town.

Start the day early with the giving of alms, in the afternoon participate in activities that will take you out to a local village, and in the evening watch a unique storytelling performance.


Morning- Giving Of Alms And Morning Market

The Giving of Alms is a bit of a controversial subject, due to Luang Prabang being such a popular tourist town. You will now see signs up along the streets stating and do’s and don’ts during the Giving of Alms. Please be an informed tourist by respecting the monks and this religious practice.

Even though I am saying you should check out the Giving of Alms experience please do not partake in it.

I recently traveled Laos with an ex-monk who now calls Luang Prabang home. He advised me that only people who practice Buddhism should partake in the Giving of Alms ceremony.

What happens is during sunrise each morning the Buddhist monks walk down streets whilst the locals kneel and offer alms, usually in the way of food.

There is no issue with tourists watching this practice, though the problem is they do not respect it.

Many people will use flash photography, get right up in the monk’s face, and try to get ‘selfies’. This is obviously completely inappropriate behavior which has resulted in negative connotations with tourists participating in the ceremony.

Instead, stand on the other side of the street, give the locals and monks space and respect this practice. Turn your camera’s shutter off and be as silent as possible. You can also head off the main street and into a more local area for a more authentic experience.

After the Giving of Alms’ head to the impressive Morning Market held in the town center. This is the perfect place to be to watch the locals begin their day, and if you would like to indulge in a traditional breakfast.

If this does not sound like your thing, then why not try Le Bistro Ban Vat Sene. This is a popular breakfast spot for tourists and ex-pats. They offer a mixture of Lao and Western cuisine to suit any pallet, as well as set menus.

shopping at the luang prabang morning market
shopping at the luang prabang morning market

Daytime- Experience Local Life

I recommend on your last day to do an activity that will give you some insight into life here in Laos. Now, depending on your interests I will let you decide what you think best suits you.

Rice Farming Experience: This is what I personally chose on my recent trip to Laos, so I decided to add it to this 3 day Luang Prabang Itinerary. We booked the rice farming experience and it was an interesting half-day trip.

We did all the steps involved in the rice process, from planting, transplanting, drying, cooking, and finally tasting. The tour included many snacks and even some rice wine at the end. Oh, plus we got to plow with a water buffalo!

Cooking Class: I think the perfect way to finish off exploring a destination is through a cooking class. I really wanted to do one for vegetarians in Luang Prabang where it is a real local experience.

Not only are you cooking Laos food, but you are also using traditional cooking and preparing techniques to create the dishes, such as cooking straight over fire.

Chompet: If you are not the type of person who likes a tour or guided experience then definitely make the trip to explore Chompet on your own. This small rustic village is perfect for anyone wanting to get slightly off the beaten track and explore away from the typical tourist hotspots in the city center.

The best option to get to Chompet from Luang Prabang is by taking the ferry from the unofficial pier called the cross-river ferry port on google maps. It costs $0.20 / 5,000 LAK for the ferry boat which is just a simple local fishing boat.

Once in Chompet, it’s best to just walk around and explore at your own pace. The only really must-do thing here is to see Wat Chompet on the hill.

rice farming experience, an option for your luang prabang itinerary
rice farming experience, an option for your luang prabang itinerary

Evening- Garavek Storytelling

Finish off your 3 days in Luang Prabang itinerary by heading to Garavek Storytelling for a unique performance. It does not officially begin until 6.30 pm.

Though it is best to purchase tickets when they first go on sale at 6.00 pm so you can reserve a seat by leaving something on it. Next, simply head across the road to purchase drinks before it starts.

Prepare for an intimate performance of Lao folklore during Garavek. The hour-long show is put on by an older gentleman playing an instrument called a khene, whilst a younger man tells stories. It is a truly unique experience and with only 30 seats, it makes for a special evening.

garavek storytelling show in luang prabang
garavek storytelling show in luang prabang

Luang Prabang Travel Tips

Now you know what exactly to do here let’s get into some helpful hints and travel tips you may want to know during your Luang Prabang itinerary.


Where To Stay

There are plenty of choices when it comes to choosing your accommodation in Luang Prabang. From 5* resorts, historic hotels, and locally owned guesthouses, you will find something to fit.

You will also be able to find some affordable hostels in Luang Prabang perfect for backpackers and solo travelers.

During our recent visit, we stayed on a quaint little side street minutes from the center and Mekong River. I fell in love with this little spot. There are a few budget guesthouses and nicer hotel-style accommodations available down this street.

Check out Villa Pumalin which has an indoor pool and beautiful wooden rooms starting at $30.00 per night.

La Casa Hostel

La Casa Hostel

A chill hostel with friendly staff. Dorms start from $6.50 per night inclyding breakfast.

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Barn Laos Luangprabang Hostel

Barn Laos Luangprabang Hostel

More of a luxe hostel with great facilities. Dorms start from $10.00 per night including breakfast.

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Villa Vieng Sa Vanh Hotel

Villa Vieng Sa Vanh Hotel

A great location and with rooms starting from $45.00 per night including breakfast.

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Villa Pumalin

Villa Pumalin

A walk from the city attractions, starting from $26.00 per night with breakfast.

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Traveling To Vang Vieng From Luang Prabang

There is now a train that can easily take you from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng in an hour, the most difficult part is actually buying tickets. Luckily you can easily pre-book online at 12.Go Asia.

This means you no longer have to travel on a bus or shared shuttle which takes AT LEAST 5 hours (it will be longer on a bus) and includes 1 bathroom stop along the way.

wat mai suwannaphumaham luang prabang
wat mai suwannaphumaham luang prabang

🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Laos: 12Go Asia


FAQs About The Luang Prabang 3 Day Itinerary

How many days are enough in Luang Prabang?

If you are planning a trip to Luang Prabang, then you might want to consider spending at least 3 days in the city. This is the minimum time you should spend in Luang Prabang to explore the best of this incredibly beautiful spot.

Is Luang Prabang worth a visit?

Yes, Luang Prabang is definitely worth a visit! It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 and is considered the heartbeat of Laos. There are many things to do and see in Luang Prabang, such as visiting Kuang Si Falls, Pak Ou Caves, the night market, and plenty of beautiful temples.

exploring the streets before heading to the luang prabang night market
exploring the streets before heading to the luang prabang night market
sunset through the trees over the mekong river, the ideal way to spend an evening on the 3 days in luang prabang itinerary
sunset through the trees over the mekong river, the ideal way to spend an evening on the 3 days in luang prabang itinerary

🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Laos: 12Go Asia


Wrap Up: Your 3 Days In Luang Prabang Laos Itinerary

So now you know exactly how to spend your Luang Prabang itinerary it’s time to book that trip to Laos.

You will no doubt have a truly unforgettable experience. From exploring the ancient temples and bustling night markets to participating in traditional rituals and immersing oneself in the local culture, this charming city offers an assortment of activities for every traveler.

Whether it’s witnessing the breathtaking sunrise from Mount Phousi or taking a leisurely boat ride along the Mekong River, you are sure to leave with lasting memories.


Any Questions? Let me know in the comments!


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Find out the perfect three days in Luang Prabang itinerary to ensure you have the ultimate time in this beautiful city. Let’s talk about the best things to do, restaurants, where to stay and more in this gem of Laos!


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9 thoughts on “Three Days In Luang Prabang: Best Luang Prabang Itinerary For First Time Visitors

  1. Avatar for Aislinn
    Aislinn says:

    Currently in Luang Prabang, most reasonable private transfer to the caves we found was 450k KIP (for 2). We were being quoted upwards of 800k KIP

  2. Avatar for Maartje Hensen
    Maartje Hensen says:

    I visited Luang Prabang 7 years ago and would love to go back! Lovee Luang Prabang and your pictures.

  3. Avatar for Sara
    Sara says:

    Wow. Those waterfalls are the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. Absolutely beautiful photography!! The night market photo is fascinating as well. I’d love to visit the night market. (I’ve never met a market I didn’t enjoy for local color and flavors!)

  4. Avatar for Becki
    Becki says:

    I’ve visited loads of SE Asia, but Luang Prabang has escaped me. It looks absolutley stunning and I certainly need to book myslef a flight over there. I’m super keen to do the rice experiene, waterfalls and visit the night markets, can’t beat SE Asia street food. Pinned for future reference.

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