A walking tour in Luang Prabang, Laos

posted in: ASIA | 4
Streets of Luang Prabang
Streets of Luang Prabang

With an incredibly well preserved old town, the most charming city of Laos is considered the pearl of South East Asia. A walking tour in Luang Prabang will bring you back to the colonial era. You’ll see many historical buildings, turned nowadays mostly into boutique hotels and restaurants, and dozens of Buddhist temples scattered all around.

We’re gonna list you some of the most important and photogenic buildings of the city, and it’ll be up to you to organise your visit. Moreover, there are many hidden gems all around, also in the narrow alleys that link the main roads to the rivers around the peninsula.

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Where to stay

Nowadays, the city is divided into two parts. The UNESCO heritage site, that comprehends the peninsula, and the “other” parts of the city around it. You’ll probably want to stay in the beautiful, historical peninsula, where there is a large range of accommodation, from backpackers’ guesthouses to luxurious hotels, and everything in the middle.

Here, you can also find the best restaurants in town. Oh, and the most incredible bakeries in Asia! The French left behind their culinary heritage, and we couldn’t stop eating fresh croissants every morning and delicious sandwiches for lunch. So yes, stay in the peninsula, do it for yourself!

Walking Tour in Luang Prabang

There are two good ways to explore the city: by walk, or by bicycle.

First, we have to say that the 4 parallel roads that cross the peninsula in its length, are all incredibly pleasant to walk. Each of these roads have some old buildings with colonial architecture, golden temples and the typical atmosphere of Luang Prabang:

  • Khem Khong, overlooking the Mekong
  • Kounxoua
  • Sakkalin Road
  • Kingkitsarath Road, on the banks of Nam Khan river

Check Google Maps:

Luang Prabang Peninsula

That means that basically, from the Royal Palace toward the East end of the peninsula, you’ll find always something interesting!

The confluence

Start your walking tour in Luang Prabang from one of the most beautiful viewpoints of the city: The confluence between the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers.

Confluence of Mekong and Nam Khan rivers
Confluence of Mekong and Nam Khan rivers

During the dry season, there is a bamboo bridge that one could walk to go to the other side. Every year, with the beginning of the monsoon, the bridge is torn down by the river. Then, people will build a new one after the rainy season!

Khem Khong

After the confluence, go westwards on Khem Khong road. Here, the main attraction is the Wat Xieng Thong. Built in the 16th century, it’s the main and most important temple of the city. It has over 20 structures in its courtyard, from shrines to temples and funeral chapels.

The next interesting building is The Belle Rive, a boutique hotel the main premise of which is from the 9th century. It’s so beautiful from the outside, that you’ll want to take some photos in front of its blue doors. Along this road, you’ll be constantly accompanied by the Mekong on your right, while on the left side, the series of colonial buildings is almost neverending.

the belle rive luang prabang
The Belle Rive


The small Kounxoua road has many interesting wooden buildings scattered here and there, plus some old decaying colonial-style villas. We fell in love with this white one:

Walking tour in Luang Prabang
Old colonial villa

Following the road, VIlla Champa well worth a couple of photos. Another quiet and almost hidden temple is Wat Choumkhong. You’ll find it on your left around 150m from Villa Champa. Its beautiful garden is peaceful and so relaxing, that we couldn’t resist to rest under the shadows of its trees.

Sakkaline Road

This is considered to be the main road of the Luang Prabang peninsula. It’s no wonder why, given the amount of temples and beautiful, traditional buildings that you can find there. At the beginning of Sakkaline, not far from the confluence, there are two interesting sites. Pay a visit to the beautiful Wat Pak Khan, with a few visitors per day and a relaxed atmosphere. In front of the temple, the old colonial building called World Heritage House deserves a couple of photos.

Wat Pak Khan
Wat Pak Khan

Starting from east to west, you’ll find 3 many important Wat (Buddhist temples):

  1. Syrimoungkoun Xaiyaram
  2. Sop Sickharam
  3. Sene

Other than that, we suggest you to check out two wonderful hotels: 3 Nagas and Villa Santi. They almost face each other, as if it was a competition for the most beautiful building in town! The photo with the red Rolls Royce is a must.

3 Nagas luang prabang
3 Nagas

Continue your walking tour in Luang Prabang until you reach the Royal Palace. Eventually, Sakkaline will end, and the same road will become Sisavangvong. Just before the Royal Palace, on your right you’ll find Haw Pha Bang, a magnificent Wat.

Haw Pha Bang
Haw Pha Bang

Kingkitsarath Road

Last but not least, Kingkitsarath is quite similar to Khem Khong because of the river nearby. You’ll obviously find hotels, guesthouses and many restaurants, each of them unique and beautiful. Along the way, there are many stunning viewpoints of the Nam Khan river, with small houses built all around its banks. With the late afternoon light, a view like this brings you back a couple of centuries.

view from Luang Prabang river
Beautiful view!

This specific viewpoint is located in front of the Saynamkhan River View, our favourite building in Kingkitsarath.

Saynamkhan River View
Saynamkhan River View

A walking tour in Luang Prabang doesn’t stop here. We warmly suggest you to visit also the alleys that link these 4 main roads. The best thing to do is actually to wander around without a destination, at least for a couple of hours. Follow your senses and stop wherever you want: Getting lost in this charming town is a blessing.

Have you ever been to Luang Prabang? Enjoy our gallery below and let us know in the comment what you think about the city!

4 Responses

  1. barbara roche
    | Reply

    Hello,,,this is my 3rd trip to S|E Asia, but first to Laos. I am 80 years young,,,and traveling with a companion who “helps” me. We plan about 16 nights in Laos…I can not do difficult walks or treks,,,and prefer comfortable *even if costly( travel arrangements…and good hotels or rental houses in good locations…and food ,,,good and can be on street or in an expensive restaurant. Do you think I can locate a private guide in most areas to direct us and take us…. What hotels do you suggest,,staying with a view of the Mekong sounds wonderful…Do you think a pool is important in January? I prefer two separate sleeping areas…but want to keep daily sleeping up to $150 US per night…less if doable.

    • Enri & Zuz
      | Reply

      Hello Barbara, we are so happy to hear that your passion for traveling is still strong! Most good hotels will be able to recommend someone who can be your travel guide. If not you can also try one of the travel agencies, there are many of them everywhere! We can recommend the Belle Rive Hotel in Luang Prabang. The manager is from Switzerland and he will be able to give you a lot of useful tips and help you out with pretty much anything. The staff is very attentive and the rooms are truly beautiful. And they have wonderful breakfast! As far as a swimming pool is concerned, it is up to you. We believe that in January it’s not so hot. Let us know in case you need more help or more tips on where to go and what to see! 🙂

  2. Tonkin Voyage Travel
    | Reply

    Oh, I totally fall in love with this post! Your glittering photos makes Luang Prabang become more charming, but still remains its nostalgia beauty. Just only one thing I don’t agree with you is the Villa Santi Hotel, which is supposed to look dark and not appealing at all. Anyways, thanks so much for your awesome post!

    • Enri & Zuz
      | Reply

      Hi there, thank you very much for your feedback! We really really really enjoyed Luang Prabang and its laidback atmosphere filled with nostalgia.

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