If you’re heading to Laos on your journey, you are OBVIOUSLY going to go to Vang Vieng for the mayhem and drunken debauchery that is tubing. It’s not an option, you have to go. But I know for some backpackers, this is their only stop in Laos, which is a bit of a mistake in my opinion. Sure, tubing on the Vang Vieng was one of the very best experiences of my trip – seriously – but you won’t soak up the Laos culture like you will in Luang Prabang. Friendly locals, amazing restaurants, beautiful scenery, the best waterfall I’ve ever seen… I mean really, just look at the place:
And to top it all off, the shopping is incredible.
The night market of Luang Prabang is one of my favourites. You know when you go to a former backpacker’s house and it’s filled with beautiful things from their travels? I’m pretty sure this is where they get them. And because Laos isn’t nearly as commercial as Thailand, you can pick up a helluva bargain.
You’ll find the normal Asian market classics like handmade notepads and the token canvas slouch bags, but there’s something about them here that look far more authentic and special than anything you’ll get on Khao San Road.
You’ll also find beautiful silver anklets and bracelets that look far more boho and special than their woven counterparts. I’m not saying they’ll last very long, it’s still Asia after all. (The elephant pendants on my anklet fell off one by one over a the course of 2 months but you can’t really go wrong for a pound can you?)
Home furnishings are the big winner here for me. Beautiful handmade rugs and embroidered bedding as well as lanterns, tablecloths and beaded cushions. I picked up these gorgeous beaded cushions in Luang Prabang and they’re one of my favourite things I brought home.
At that point I didn’t even have a house to speak of, but I bought some homeware bits anyway knowing I’d regret if I didn’t! I’d advise you do the same! Remember you can always send it home to save space in your backpack.
On a completely non-shopping note, if you’re in Luang Prabang, you HAVE to go to JoMa’s Bakery. Even if you haven’t been living on pad thai and pasta for months, their cream cheese bagels, Greek salads and passionfruit cheesecakes will rock your world. Word.
Ok so you’re going to Luang Prabang now right? Good.