Luang Prabang Stories and Tips

Riding Around Luang Prabang

Peace and Quiet Photo, Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang in Laos is an amazing city. It has so much culture and history, but it is a fantastically simple place and the best way to get around it is equally simple. Riding a bike means that you can enjoy the city at the sedate pace that it was meant to be enjoyed at. We had bike hire included at our hotel and many others offer the same, but you can hire a bike for a day for only a couple of pounds from a few places on the high street. If you are going to do this (and you should), here is the route we took, which will cover all of the main sites nicely.

We started on the other side of the Nam Khan river from the main city (this was where our hotel was) and you should do this as part of your journey because there are lots of little streets and villages that you can explore. The locals here are very friendly and the children will be delighted to here you shout hello to them as you ride past.

To get over the river to the city proper, you'll need to use one of the two permanent bridges. I'd recommend the old bridge because it is open only to pedestrians, bicycles and mopeds and isn't as busy as the other one. You'll have to put up with mopeds driving fairly close behind you - it's not too bad though!

From there, you can take the road that runs alongside of the river down to the bottom where the two rivers join and then come up the other side. The roads are very quiet so you don't have to worry if you don't do much, or any, road cycling normally. The views are spectacular and there are plenty of places along the way to stop for photo opportunities.

Around the other side you can follow the signs up through the houses to the Wat Xieng Temple where you should stop for a wander around. It costs less than a pound to get in and some of the buildings are wonderful. You can park your bike outside the entrance - the entire city is so safe that there is no fear of anything being stolen!

From here you can drive through the main street past all of the little shops and tour centres. Now would be a good time to stop for a drink or a nice ice cream in one of the little cafes. From here you can carry on up to the Royal Palace which is another great place to stop for a good photograph. The Royal Palace has some lovely gardens to wander around too.

If you carry on to the top of this road and turn left you will end up back at the old bridge that goes across the river so this is pretty much a full circle. If you are staying on the city side of the river, you should head across here to see all the local villages like I said.

Overall, with stops, the tour took us about three hours, cycling at a leisurely pace and stopping where I've said. It was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend the time and see most of the things the city has to offer, so I would definitely recommend it.

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