Being an old capital from the Laotian empire, now somehow transformed in a famous touristic destination, Luang Prabang still didn’t lost its charms. Besides the hordes of tourists, it’s still one of the most beautiful cities here! And if you are planning to visit Laos, this is definitely not a place to miss.
A peaceful monk walking by and gorgeous architecture on every street, a common sight in Luang Prabang.
The town is an UNESCO World Heritage since 1995, due to the unique mixture of traditional wooden houses, highly intricate temples and leftovers of colonial architecture. Since it was a French protectorate in the past, plenty of cute villas decorate the city. Some of them now are gorgeous little cafés or boutique hotels. Best way to appreciate Luang Prabang is walking around, not only to see the architecture and enjoy the street life, but also to meet some friendly locals. You can join them for lunch or at least for a couple of shots of rice wine – a must in this country!
So why should you visit Luang Prabang and what are the top things to do?
Laotian architecture and its unbeatable beauty.
Some ideas for you to start exploring:
- Haw Kham, one of the city’s symbol. It was the royal palace when Laos was a monarchy – now it became a national museum
- Chomsy Hill (Phou Si), a small and easy hike to reach the best place scenery in town – perfect for an unforgettable sunrise or sunset
- Vat Xieng Toung monastery or the smaller Vat Sirimoungkhoun Sayaram, Vat Khili, Vat Sop Sickharam and Vat Sibounheuang
- Evening stroll along the Mekong’s river getting enchanted by mysterious opaque brown waters and thick jungle on the other side
- Traditional dance performances
- Kuang Si waterfalls just outside the city, a great place to relax and cool down from the Southeast Asian heat, meet new travelers and visit the bear rescue center nearby. Organize your tuk-tuk ride with other travelers in your guesthouse to get a better price, and don’t forget to bargain!
Kuang Si waterfalls, almost unreal.
There’s also plenty of delicious Laotian food, look for some authentic meals in the less touristic places.
Freshly brewed coffee and proper baguettes, llegacy of the French culture, are very common! A great alternative to more Asian style breakfasts.
In terms of drinking don’t expect much of a nightlife! You can have some drinks in nice locations though, such as Utopia (a pleasant open-air lounge), Icon Klub or Hive Bar.
The night market in the downtown.
If you want to go to the countryside not too far, you should go to Nong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi. These two villages are on the river and surrounded by mountains.
Anyway, Luang Prabang is a must see in your Laos trip. Check Camboticket website for transportation options from Siem Reap and start exploring!
Southeast Asia has a lot of paradisiacal locations and relaxed places to wind down.
Get a break, chill by the water, catch some sun and have some cocktails!
Cambodia is no exception and there is no shortage of islands with postcard-like beaches in the kingdom. It is complicated to choose which one to visit if you have only short time… so which one should you pick? Here you can find some tips on where to go depending on your tastes…
Typical island life… (in Koh Rong Samloem)
Probably the most famous one in the backpacker circles, Koh Rong certainly fulfill the requirements of a proper Southeast Asian island:
- White sand ✔
- Clear blue waters ✔
- Plenty of bars on the beach to have a cocktail ✔
- Fresh seafood ✔
- Stunning views, sunrises and sunsets ✔✔✔!!! 😀
Besides that, in the quietiest beaches you even have the chance of seeing the fluorescent plankton by night. Certainly an experience not to be missed.
Koh Rong is considered the party island, a kind of smaller sister of the Thai island of Koh Phangan, where thousands of young backpackers come every year expecting full moon parties and cheap alcohol. So yes, definitely here you can party a lot, if that’s what you are looking for, and meet plenty of other young travelers. But, being a big island, if parties is not your thing, you can still find other quieter places and secluded beaches if you can afford some more expensive options…
Anyway, check our article on Koh Rong for more info on the island.
Waiting for your jump. (in Koh Rong)
For a smaller and less noisy island, you can find Koh Rong Samloem just near Koh Rong. More untouched and wild!
Have a look on our articles here and here for more info.
Accessible by slow boat or speed ferry. Check out CamboTicket’s website for all the boats’ options.
Paradise, here I come! (in Koh Rong Samloem)
For an even less developed and more natural location, we can’t recommend enough the peacefulness of Koh Takiev, an island 45 minutes by fisherman boat off the coast of Otres (near Sihanoukville). There are only four or five guesthouses, one in each beach – the perfect place for some days without civilization: just you, the sand and the sea. The place called “Last Point” is highly recommended, you can even bring your own hammock or tent to camp! Find here more info on this island.
The meaning of solitude… (in Koh Takiev)
Not far away, just out of the Ream National Park a bit south from Otres, with only one resort and fewer tourists, Koh Thmei is for the ones looking for absolute silence and secluded location. A must if you want to finish that book you are carrying in your backpack since weeks or maybe for a romantic escape…
Other option is Rabbit Island, or Koh Tonsay, just a half hour ride by boat from Kep. Here the sand is more into yellow color but a must-see is the glowing-in-the-dark plankton that appears at night!
In case you have a really short time, visit Koh Dach (Silk island) just outside of Phnom Pen, for a relaxed lifestyle and pleasant countryside. Besides, it’s a great place to learn about silk farming and buy some souvenirs, like the traditional Khmer scarf (the Krama!) for your loved ones back home! Read our article about this island for more info on where to go and what to do.
Hope this post gave you some ideas for your trip through the islands of the south of Cambodia. If it’s white-sandy beach and clear blue water what you looking for, these are the places for you! Have a look at Camboticket website for different options on how to go to Sihanoukville, including bus+ferry tickets to some of the islands.
Write us at [email protected] if you find any other interesting island! We will feature you in our Traveler Memoirs section and get a free ticket 😉