Ireland


itinerary

sat 6/1-mon 6/3

Dublin

mon 6/3-weds 6/5

Kilkenny, Waterford

weds 6/5-sun 6/9

Kenmare, Killarney, Dingle

sun 6/9-tues 6/11

Cliffs of Moher, Galway

tues 6/11

Depart from Dublin


useful information

flights

Flight departing Denver: 11/28 7:59pm
Flight arriving in Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi): 11/30 12:05pm
Flight departing Bangkok: 1/1 9:55am
Flight arriving in Denver: 1/1 6:59pm

 

money

Thailand

- Thailand uses the baht. The current exchange rate is 1 USD = 31.83 baht.
- You'll find ATMs all over Thailand. This is the easiest way to get baht.
- It is best to have cash on hand to pay for street food, tuk-tuks, etc, as most people take only cash. Hotels, large grocery stores, and “real” restaurants will take credit cards.
-Tipping: If a service charge isn’t included, you can tip 100 baht in a nice restaurant. Although it isn’t customary, you can tip 20 baht for a street food vendor.

 

weather

The average temperatures are:

- Southern Thailand: 81 degrees average with highs of 88
- Chiang Mai: 72 degrees average with highs of 82
- Siem Reap: 79 degrees average with highs of 86
- Luang Prabang: 68 degrees average with highs of 79

Expect around 80% humidity. Chiang Mai is cooler, especially at higher altitudes. Bring a jacket similar to what you would bring on an airplane for cooler days.

 

safety

Thailand is the most visited country in Southeast Asia, and is generally very safe.

  • Scams are the most reported crimes in Thailand - particularly those involving tailoring, tours, or gems.

  • Protests, if they are an issue at all, generally only happen in Bangkok; clashes may happen in certain areas in the south, but not in the tourist areas.

  • Make sure your vaccines are checked and up-to-date. Visit a travel clinic and/or check out the CDC website to see what additional vaccines you may need.

  • Stick to bottled water. Most restaurants serve water in bottles, and you will generally pay by the bottle.

  • As far as public transportation goes, Grab (Thailand’s Uber) is very easy and safe to use. Taxis are generally safe in Thailand but sometimes you will be astounded at how bad they are – especially in Bangkok. Tuk-tuks are also a safe option. We would not recommend renting motorbikes or using motorbike taxis due to the risk of accidents.

  • You must try the street food in Thailand! It’s cheap and incredible and there are stalls EVERYWHERE. Pretty much a rule of thumb anywhere in the world: if it’s busy – especially with locals – not only will the food be good, it’s less likely to have sanitation issues.

 

phone/wifi

Wifi is readily available in many public areas and cafes, hotels, etc in Thailand, similar to the US. You may be fine just using wifi and not opting to buy cellular data.

If you’d like cellular data in Thailand, you could check with your US carrier to see what prices are like to extend your coverage to Thailand. This will likely not be the cheapest option.

Another option if you have an unlocked US phone is to buy a SIM card in Thailand. You can buy a SIM card at any phone shop, 7-11, or Thai airport. You can choose between different cell phone companies, but they are all very similar: AIS, DTAC, Orange. SIM cards cost around $5. Make sure to buy a SIM card with a data plan. You can expect to pay around 300-600 baht for a month of data depending on the internet speed. In doing so, you can avoid paying for texting charges if you use an online based texting app such as WhatsApp or Line.

Lastly, if your US phone is locked, you could buy an unlocked phone in Thailand for less than $100, or have your US phone unlocked in Thailand.

 

visas

Thailand:

You will receive a 30 day visa on arrival in Thailand at the airport. You do not need to do anything special to get this visa other than the usual recommendations: have at least 6 months left before your passport expires, and have a couple free pages left in your passport.

 

transport within thailand

Tuk-tuks, or open sided 3-wheeled vans, are very common in many Thai cities. They will take you most places in your local vicinity.

Grab is the equivalent to Uber or Lyft in the US, and is also an easy way to get around, though availability is not necessarily the same in every city. You will know the price beforehand and it may be cheaper than a tuk-tuk or taxi. Download the app on your phone before you leave the US.

If you are adventurous you can always hop on a “song taew,” or pick-up truck with 2 covered rows in the back, which is the cheapest way to get around. They drive on a set route. You hail one, tell them where you want to go and ask how much, then get on and get off when you are near where you want to go.

Regular taxis also exist, though these may not be the cheapest way to get around. They are fine for getting from the airport to your hotel and back.


 

Dublin


Suggested Itinerary

sat 6/1

Arrive in Dublin

Explore & walk around

sun 6/2

AM: Tour & St. Stephen’s Green

PM: Old Jameson Distillery Tour

mon 6/3

AM: Depart Dublin


logistics

flights

Flight departing xxx:
Flight arriving in Dublin:

You will need to pick up your rental car at the airport or in the city upon departure of Dublin.

 

hotel

You will be staying at the XXX hotel for 2 nights.
Breakfast is included in your stay.

 

transport

Although you will be renting a car to get around Ireland, we recommend either leaving it parked while in Dublin or picking it up before leaving. Dublin is not easy to drive in, but is very walkable. If you need to go further in the city, take the efficient light rail system (Luas).

Uber is also an option in Dublin.

 

Activities

With only about a day and a half in Dublin and jet lag possibly playing a factor, we recommend taking it easy and not trying to do too much, which is challenging in a big, interesting city such as Dublin! Suffice to say that there will ample opportunity to see all that Ireland has to offer on the rest of the trip.

We recommend joining the hop-on hop-off bus to get an overview of the city and a chance to get off at a sight that particularly interests you. (We recommend the Old Jameson Distillery tour towards the end of the bus tour; it’s a stop near the end). Another easy tour option that would be fun for kids is the Viking Splash Tour which is also a tour of the city except that it does not allow you to get off. It also goes into the water to get a different view of Dublin.

If you’re looking for a place to burn off steam or see a quiet side of Dublin, stop at St. Stephen’s Green, a huge, lovely park near your hotel.


Hop-on Hop-off Tour

⌚Buses every 15 minutes 9:30am-4:30pm daily, duration: 2 hours 15 minutes
💲€40 for 2 adults and 2 kids
🔗Website

The tour includes 33 stops conveniently located close to Dublin's most popular attractions. You can hop-off at any time to go visit the big bus tour attractions like Dublin Zoo, the Guinness Storehouse or The Book of Kells in Trinity College. Your guide will point out all the most famous landmarks and points of interest along the way, showing you where famous Dubliners like James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett (among others) lived and spent their time.

This is an easy way to see a lot of the city in a short amount of time. If any particular stop catches your interest, simply get off!

 

Viking Splash Tours

⌚Reservations recommended for a certain day/time, can buy tickets at departure point
💲€70.00 for a family of 4
🔗Website

Come on an adventure with Viking Splash Tours and discover all Dublin has to offer! See Dublin's tallest Cathedral, unearth stories about our old medieval city and Viking heritage, spot Dublin's iconic skyline feature, the Spire, all before splashing into the Grand Canal Basin to uncover U2's recording studios! Most of all, learn how to roar like a true Viking!

Kids will love this family-friendly way to see the sights of Dublin.

 

Old Jameson Distillery

⌚9:30am - 5:30pm daily, 40 minute tour, arrive 15 minutes prior to join tour or book online in advance
💲Adults: €22
🔗Website

This one’s for the adults! (Don’t worry, kids are allowed on the tour, they just won’t get a complimentary whiskey tasting.) Follow in the footsteps of the founding fathers of Jameson on the only tour of the original Jameson distillery in Dublin. You will get a heritage and history lesson on your fully guided tour including stories, craic, a comparative whiskey tasting and of course, a complimentary Jameson.

 

St. Stephen’s green

This park is a lovely place to rest, run around, and watch Dublin go by. Grab a picnic, or just let the kids burn off some steam. There is a great playground towards the middle of the park as well.


Kilkenny


suggested itinerary

mon 6/3

AM: Drive to Kilkenny

PM: Kilkenny Castle

tues 6/4

Option 1: Day trip to Waterford: Hook Lighthouse, Crystal Factory

Option 2: Stay in Kilkenny, check out sights under “Activities” below

Weds 6/5

AM: Depart Killkenny. Stop at Rock of Cashel en route to Kenmare



logistics

Dublin - Kilkenny

Pick up your rental car in Dublin and drive to Kilkenny. We recommend either renting a car with a GPS or making sure your phone has data for GPS in Ireland in order to navigate to these destinations.

Google estimate: 1 hour 44 minute drive.

 

Kilkenny - Waterford

Kilkenny Day 2 - Option to drive to Waterford.

Google estimate: 2 hour 50 minute drive round trip

 

hotel

You will be staying at the XXX for 7 nights.

Breakfast is included in your stay.

 

transport

Kilkenny:

You will need to drive to Waterford. However, within Kilkenny, it is best to park outside of town and walk to and within the town. If driving to town, consider free parking along Ormonde Street, a 5 minute walk from the city center.

Another option is to rent bikes to get around.


Activities

Kilkenny is a delightful little city with medieval winding streets, a magnificent castle, and great pub music. You will enjoy staying a couple nights here and wandering the town.

You have the option to do a day trip down to Wexford/Waterford to visit one of the oldest light houses in the world and take a crystal factory tour. If you’d rather take it easy, we suggest sticking around Kilkenny, wandering or biking around town, and visiting a couple more sights.

If you decide to stick around Kilkenny, we have a few other suggestions below for things to do.

For dinner, check out Kilkenny’s list of pubs and stop by one for some Traditional Irish Music and food! (see below)


Must See
🚩 Kilkenny Castle

For the kids
🌳Kilkenny City Tours Train


Kilkenny

Kilkenny Castle

⌚ 9am-5:30pm, varies by season. Guided and self-guided tours available. Tickets available online or in person.
💲Starting at €20 for a family of 4
🔗Website

You can’t miss Kilkenny Castle on a visit to Kilkenny. Few buildings in Ireland can boast a longer history of continuous occupation than Kilkenny Castle. Founded soon after the Norman conquest of Ireland, the Castle has been rebuilt, extended, and adapted to suit changing circumstances and uses over a period of 800 years.

Today, Kilkenny Castle is largely a Victorian remodeling of the thirteenth century defensive Castle. The grounds include a grand country house and fifty acres of rolling parkland with mature trees and an abundance of wildlife. Other features include a formal terraced rose garden, woodlands, and a man-made lake, which were added in the nineteenth century. There is also a tearoom, playground, and several orienteering trails for visitors to enjoy.

Note that the Kilkenny Castle Gardens are free of charge and open to the public until 8:30pm in spring and summer.

 

St. Canice’s Cathedral

⌚Monday - Saturday: 9am-6pm, Sunday: 1am-6pm
💲€12 for a family of 4
🔗Website

This ecclesiastical site was founded in the 6th century and named after St Canice. Worship has taken place at this site for over 800 years. The Cathedral has wonderful stained glass that includes two windows from the Harry Clarke Studio, Dublin. The Round Tower is the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny City. You can enjoy climbing the Round Tower capturing great views of the city (weather permitting).

 

Medieval Mile museum

⌚Everyday 10am-6pm
💲€20 for a family of 4
🔗Website

This museum is located on the 13th century site of St Mary's cruciform church and graveyard. As the starting point of the 'Medieval Mile' trail, it brings to life Kilkenny's history as Ireland's premier medieval city. Displays of Kilkenny's civic treasures and replicas of some of the High Crosses of Ossory illustrate the local Gaelic monastic heritage and the ancient city's historic role in Ireland. There are a number of Guided tours throughout the day, or you can purchase an all-day self-guided tour pass.

An exclusive LEGO® Minifigure Hunt has recently been added to the museum, which sees a number of Kilkenny’s key historic characters represented in LEGO® Minifigure form and hiding around the museum. The hunt is available to children of all ages at no additional charge.

 

Kilkenny City Tours Train

⌚Tours on the hour every hour. Monday -Sunday, 10:00am-5:00pm, Mar 1st to Oct 31st
💲€20.70 for a family of 4
🔗Website

The Kilkenny City Tour Train is a wonderful way to see all the historical sites and points of interest in Kilkenny city. Departing from Kilkenny Castle, you will be taken on a historical and fascinating tour with a full commentary of detailed insights, facts, and folklore of the medieval city. The ride is about 30 minutes long, and is a great option for those with younger kids who won’t want to walk around town as much but still want to see the city.

 

Trad in Kilkenny

🔗Website

Linked above is a list of pubs in Kilkenny with various food and Traditional Irish Music offerings. Find one that fits your schedule and go enjoy the Irish pub scene and music! Cleere’s claim their Sunday night trad session is the longest running in the city.


Waterford

Hook lighthouse

⌚Daily 09:30 am – 7:00pm. Tours every half hour from 10am – 7pm
💲€28 for a family of 4
🔗Website

Explore the oldest operational lighthouse in the world, purpose built 800 years ago by Knight William Marshal. Take a step back in time and enjoy a guided tour hearing tales of medieval times and life as a light keeper. Take in the spectacular view from the balcony with miles of sea rolling out before you.

 

House of waterford crystal

⌚Mon - Sat: 9am to 4:15pm; Sun: 9:30am - 4:15pm. Tours start every 15 minutes and run about an hour and 30 minutes.
💲€38 for a family of 4
🔗Website

The Waterford Crystal factory was first opened in in 1783. Originally founded by George and William Penrose in 1783, Waterford crystal is world-renowned for quality and beauty. Have you seen someone blow molten crystal into a vase? Visitors are guided through the factory to see experienced craftsmen at work, creating new crystal pieces.


Kenmare


itinerary

weds 6/5

PM: Arrive in Kenmare

Thurs 6/6

AM: Muckross House & Farm

PM: Jaunt through Gap of Dunloe

Fri 6/7

Slea Head Drive

Sat 6/8

Option 1 (Sunny): Drive to Ballydonegan Strand (beach)

Option 2 (rainy or don’t want to drive): Sea life watching boat ride, explore Kenmare

sun 6/9

AM: Depart Kenmare



logistics

Kilkenny to Kenmare

Google estimate: 3 hours and 17 minutes

 

hotel

You will be staying at the xxx for 5 nights.
Breakfast is included with your stay.

 

transport

It is easy and safe to hail a tuk-tuk, particularly within the Old City limits. Expect to pay around 80-100 baht. Ask for the price before you get in, and bargain down 20 baht or so from the original price.

Grab is available and easy to use in Chiang Mai.

Song Taews are, of course, also available.


Activities

Can’t miss
🚩 Taste of the North and Old Town Walk
🚩 Doi Suthep and hill tribe tour
🚩 Cruise on the Mae Ping River
🚩 Thai Ahka cooking class

For the kids
🍊Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
🍊 Somphet Market
🍊 Warorot Market


Kenmare

Muckross House

⌚Daily 09:30 am – 7:00pm. Tours every half hour from 10am – 7pm
💲€28 for a family of 4
🔗Website

“On this not-so-typical tour, we will first start by wandering through the old city's charming markets to learn specifically about ingredients and spices used for Northern Thai cooking. Then, we will taste various Northern Thai cuisines prepared by some of the best local chefs in town, such as the best Northern sausage, the best Northern curry noodle, and the best Northern chilli dips. Along the way, we will also visit some magnificent temples and you might even have a chance to chat with Buddhist monks to learn from them about Buddhism in general and their daily life in particular. By doing this tour early on your visit to Northern Thailand, you will feel more confident to enjoy the tastes and smells this region has to offer.”

 

Jaunt in Gap of Dunloe

⌚Daily 09:30 am – 7:00pm. Tours every half hour from 10am – 7pm
💲€28 for a family of 4
🔗Website

Doi Suthep is about 12km outside of Chiang Mai and is a mountain that has fantastic views of the city. Standing at 5400 meters, the mountain also houses Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a 13th century temple that is home to a large white elephant shrine as well as a replica of the Emerald Buddha.

 

Seafari Boat Trips

⌚Daily 09:30 am – 7:00pm. Tours every half hour from 10am – 7pm
💲€28 for a family of 4
🔗Website

The cruise will set off in a northerly direction up river and you will see Chiang Mai suburban scenes from the river. The city will soon give way to peaceful rural scenes and and riverside life. The cruise will stop at an old style farm house where you will stop for some traditional fruit refreshments before cruising your way gently back to town.

 

Ross Castle

⌚Daily 09:30 am – 7:00pm. Tours every half hour from 10am – 7pm
💲€28 for a family of 4
🔗Website

Get a taste for the unique flavors of Thai and Akha cooking during this 4 hour cooking class. Discover the culture and cuisine of the Akha, an indigenous hill tribe of Southeast Asia with the help of your native host. You’ll visit the local market to shop for ingredients and learn to prepare 11 different dishes.

 

Holy Cross Church

⌚Daily 09:30 am – 7:00pm. Tours every half hour from 10am – 7pm
💲€28 for a family of 4
🔗Website

 

Kenmare Heritage Center

⌚Daily 09:30 am – 7:00pm. Tours every half hour from 10am – 7pm
💲€28 for a family of 4
🔗Website

 

Kenmare Trad

Davitt’s

Foley’s


Dingle Peninsula

sompet market

⌚Hours: Everyday 4pm-12am

This food market is located in Chiang Mai’s busy backpacker area. It mainly offers food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, hot dishes, tasty snacks, healthy smoothies, and a taste of the traditional Northern Lanna cuisine.

 

warorot market

⌚Hours: Everyday 5am-11pm

Warorot Market is one of Chiang Mai’s oldest and most popular markets and an essential destination for food lovers. It is located in a multistory building and extends all the way into the street and surrounding area. The upper floors are dedicated to clothing and merchandise, while food stalls are located on the ground floor. The market is renowned for its extensive offer of Thai snacks and dishes with a variety of Northern specialties. Outside the building visitors can find fresh fruit and vegetable stalls. Warorot Market is particularly popular with the local population and offers an authentic insight into the Thai lifestyle.

 

Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

⌚Hours: Everyday 5pm-12am

The Night Bazaar is probably the city’s best known market and one of its main nighttime attractions. The stalls sell typical touristy trinkets, clothing, and other knick-knacks. As it is a popular tourist destination, it is important to get your bargaining skills up to scratch as vendors will most certainly bump up their prices. Nevertheless it is worth checking out one of Chiang Mai’s busiest markets and the surrounding area which is filled with international and Thai restaurants. From jewelry to handcrafted products, to CDs and portraits, there are few things you won’t be able to find in the bustling streets of the Night Bazaar.


Ballydonegan Strand

Wat Phra Sing

Wat Phra Sing is a Buddhist temple and monastery that was founded in the 14th century. Known as the Temple of the Lion Buddha, it houses two Buddha statues. There are 700 monks currently living in the temple. The largest building in the site is the assembly hall which was rebuilt in 1925 and houses Phra Chao Thong Tip, a very large copper and gold cast of the seated Buddha.

 

Wat Chedi Luang 

Known as the Temple of the Big Stupa, Wat Chedi Luang is the ruins of an ancient temple situated in the center of Chaing Mai. Before the temple was in its current state it used to be the home of the Emerald Buddha, the holiest religious object in all of Thailand. An earthquake in 1545 damaged large amounts of the temple, and when the Burmese captured Chiang Mai five years later, the temple was left to fall into ruin. The temple is still an active worship place so you will see monks going about their daily work.

 

Wat phan tao

Without a doubt the most atmospheric temple in the old city, this teak marvel sits in the shadow of Wat Chedi Luang. Set in a compound full of fluttering orange flags, the monastery is a monument to the teak trade, with an enormous prayer hall supported by 28 gargantuan teak pillars and lined with dark teak panels, enshrining a particularly graceful gold Buddha image.

 

wat chiang man

This temple is the oldest in Chiang Mai and was built shortly after the city’s founding in 1296, when the capital was moved here from Chiang Rai.  Although not very photogenic, the temple has a rich history as it was built on the same spot King Mengrai built his palace after moving the capital from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai.  Wat Chiang Man also houses two very important Buddha images: the marble Phra Sila and the crystal Phra Satang Man, both said to be 2,000 years old.

 

Tha Pae gate

In the heyday of Lanna Kingdom, the Tha Pae Gate was the main entrance into the city as it faced the Mae Ping River and therefore the trade routes. Like the rest of the wall, this section was torn down by the Japanese in WWII, then rebuilt in the 1970’s based on 1899 photos.  The city wasn’t quite happy with how this gate turned out and decided to fix it up even more in 1985. 

 

Wat Inthakin

This temple is named after the Pali name for the Chiang Mai city pillar, the Sao Inthakin, which literally translates to “pillar of Indra”. According to local legend, Indra, the Lord of Heaven in Hindu belief, gave the pillar to the people who inhabited the area to protect them against evil. The temple’s founding date is not known with certainty. King Mengrai of the Lanna Kingdom placed the pillar on the temple grounds at the center of his newly established city, Chiang Mai, in 1296. Because of the presence of the city pillar, Wat Inthakin was a temple of great spiritual significance. In 1800, Lanna King Chao Kawila moved the pillar to the nearby Wat Chedi Luang, where to this day the annual Inthakin festival is held.


Galway


suggested itinerary

sun 6/9

AM: Cliffs of Moher

PM: Arrive in Galway

mon 6/10

Explore Galway

Tues 6/11

AM: Depart Galway. Stop at Clonmacnoise.

PM: Arrive Dublin. Depart Ireland.



logistics

Slow Boat to Luang Prabang

Sunday 12/22 - Private car to Chiang Khong (Thailand-Laos border)
Monday 12/23 - Meet guide at Friendship Bridge in Chiang Khong at 8am. Depart on boat ride on Mekong. Stay in Pakbeng night of 12/23.
Tuesday 12/24 evening - Arrive in Luang Prabang

 

hotel

You will be staying at the Chiang Khong Teak Garden Riverfront Hotel in Chiang Khong for 1 night.
Breakfast is included with your stay.

You will be staying at the Duang Pasert Guesthouse in Pak Beng for 1 night.
Breakfast is included with your stay.

You will be staying at the Maison Dalabua in Luang Prabang for 3 nights.
Breakfast is included with your stay.

 

transport

Tuk-tuks and Song Taews are all readily available in Luang Prabang. Much of the town is in walking distance. You may also borrow bikes from your hotel to get around.


Activities

The ancient town of Luang Prabang was the former Royal Capital city and was designated an UNESCO world heritage site in 1995. Located 700 meters above sea level in northern Laos, it’s encircled by mountains at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers. Luang Prabang is considered by many as the heart of Laotian culture, where you can see traditional wooden houses, royal structures, colonial architecture, and over 30 wat (Buddhist shrines).

Enjoy a relaxing stay in Luang Prabang by simply riding bikes around town, visiting temples, eating market food (including French baguettes!), and eating dinner by the river. Below are some suggestions for places to visit. No tours have been pre-booked for you.

Temples
📍
Wat Xieng Thong
📍 That Makmo
📍 Wat Mai
📍 Watch the alms giving ceremony

Highlights
🚩Mount Pousi
🚩Kuang Si Waterfall
🚩Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden
🚩UXO Laos Visitor’s Center
🚩Royal Temple Museum

Food
🍊Night Market
🍊Morning Market


Temples

Wat Xieng Thong

Wat Xieng Thong is one of the most elaborately adorned temples in the UNESCO World Heritage portion of Luang Prabang. Enter one of the smaller shrines and test your strength and conviction by attempting to lift a seated buddha statue while kneeling and thinking of a wish. The temple has been restored several times over the years and has over 20 buildings on the property.

 

That Makmo

That Makmo’s nickname means Watermelon Stupa. The temple’s formal name is That Pathum, meaning Stupa of the Great Lotus. This short and stout stupa dates back to the early 1500s and its architecture is unique in all of Laos.

 

Wat Mai

Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham is often called by its nickname Wat Mai or ‘new temple’ even though it was built in 1780. Check it out when you’re at the Royal Palace Museum as the temple is next door. Wat Mai is the most elaborate temple in Luang Prabang and until the mid 1900s housed the Phra Bang golden Buddha for which Luang Prabang is named. The Phra Bang is brought back to Wat Mai during Pi Mai or Lao New Year for a ceremonial cleaning.

 

WATCH THE LUANG PRABANG ALMS GIVING CEREMONY

The ancient ritual of the morning alms ceremony (Tak Bat in Lao) takes place daily, as local Laotians rise before the sun to prepare food offerings (most commonly, sticky rice). At dawn, a reverent hush falls over the city as hundreds of barefoot monks stream out of the various temples, - single-file and oldest first - to collect their offerings from locals on their knees with heads bowed. This is the monks only meal for the day, and is a hugely sacred and important aspect of Buddhist lifestyle.

If you would like to witness this ritual, please be respectful, quiet, and wear clothes that cover shoulders and ankles. The alms procession begins in the main street of Luang Prabang before fanning into side streets.


Highlights

Mount Phousi

Phousi means ‘sacred mountain’ and it’s located quite literally in the middle of Luang Prabang. Climb the more than 300 steps to the summit where you’ll find a temple, Buddha’s giant footprint and golden stupa. There are two sets of stairs, one across from the Royal Palace Museum and one on the road that runs along the Nam Khan. Visit Mount Phousi at dawn to avoid the crowds or at dusk if you’re willing to battle the crowds for the golden hour panoramic view.

 

Kuang Si Waterfall

⌚8am - 5:30pm
📍45 minutes by Tuk Tuk or Song Taew from Luang Prabang to Kuang Si waterfall

Visit and swim in possibly one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.

kuangsi.jpg

We definitely recommend visiting Kuang Si waterfall early (8am), before the hoards of tourists arrive. After 11am, it becomes extremely busy. For those wanting to swim, there are changing facilities.

 

Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden

⌚Thursday - Tuesday 8am - 6pm
💲Adults: $25
🔗Website
📍Located 15 minutes by boat from Luang Prabang. To access the garden visitors can catch a boat from the downtown reception in Ban Wat That. Boat ride is included in ticket price. The boat leaves every hour to the garden from downtown, starting at 9am and returning to town every hour until 5:30pm.

Pha Tad Ke Botanical Gardens is both a teaching center for the public and a research center for botanists. Check out their artist-in-residence program where creators from all over the world create art and lead workshops for visitors. See endangered trees such as the Dipterocarp and Water Pine as well as their orchid collection.

 

UXO Laos Visitor's Center

⌚Monday - Friday 8am - 4pm
💲Free
🔗Website

This important museum in Luang Prabang features an informative exhibition on the existence of UXOs (unexploded ordinance) in Laos, and the efforts being taken to help clear them. It is quite unfortunate that Laos is one of the most heavily bombed countries in the world, and the impact of UXOs are still being felt to this day. By visiting this UXO center, you will gain a good understanding on how Lao people cope with UXOs and other dangerous remnants from the war on a daily basis.

 

Royal Temple Museum

⌚Monday - Saturday 8am - 11:30am, 1pm - 3:30pm, closed Sunday
💲Adults: $3.75
🔗Website

The former Royal Palace was build in 1904 and abdicated in 1975 with the Pathet Lao took over Laos’ government. Make sure to check out the Phabang Buddha statute that dates back to the 14th century and gave Luang Prabang it’s name.


Food

Night Market

⌚Everyday 5pm - 10pm

Check out the night market to try delicious yet inexpensive street food like fried mushrooms and seaweed, spring rolls and baked goods. Hill-tribe traders and local vendors emerge selling all the usual products, including incredible wood carvings, handicrafts, jewelry, lighting, clothing, and other knick knacks. As is the case with most markets in the region, bartering is normal - play hard but fair and haggle politely.

 

Morning Market

⌚Everyday: The vendors start setting up before the sunrise, market is over by mid-late morning

Get up with the sun and out to Luang Prabang’s morning market. As opposed to the night market that’s geared toward tourists, you’ll see many locals buying their groceries at the morning market. Vendors sell all manner of produce such as galangal, kefir leaves, lemon grass, and fruits like passion fruit, dragon fruit and durian. Live fish, ox blood, insects, bats, and pigs heads are also all available for purchase. Of course, there are breakfast and snacks for you to try as well.