Located on the East bank of Mekong River, Luang Prabang is the oldest city in Laos. And with it being an ancient capital of the country, there are more cultural and religious attractions in Luang Prabang than anywhere else in the country. So if you’re planning to spend a vacation in Vietnam and experience its culture through Luang Prabang, you’ve made the right choice. Getting around Luang Prabang is easy and there are several modes of public transportation you can use to see the city.
Take note that you can tour nearby attractions on foot. Luang Prabang is quite small and there’s little traffic even on the main street. The roads are friendly and most of the footpaths are cemented and street lamps are aplenty. The numerous alleyways where boutiques, restaurants, markets and cafes are also better explored on foot. In addition, the attractions are located within walking distance of each other.
If you’re not up to walking, there are public transportations available that you can choose from. If you know how to balance yourself on a two-wheeled vehicle, you can even try riding a bicycle or a motorbike.
GETTING AROUND LUANG PRABANG
Getting around Luang Prabang on land is pretty easy through taxi cabs and tuk-tuks (or rickshaw). These are the most popular forms of transportation in Luang Prabang. You can get a taxi and a tuk-tuk anywhere. Tuk-tuks can also be found lining up the street corners of the city. You can also hire out tuk-tuks for one day or for any short day trips. When hiring tuk-tuks, be sure you and the driver agree on the fee before you ride so as to avoid any argument when the trip is over.
Bicycles and motorbikes are also gaining popularity, with the town being small and its attractions located not far from each other. Bikes can be rented out from guesthouses or from bike rental companies in the city. Some hotels also have bicycles you can rent although the price may be a bit higher than those found in rental companies. Also, scooter-type motorbike rentals are also plenty in the main street.
For trips outside of town, you may take buses and minibuses. Minibuses may be hired out for tours and if you’re traveling in groups, taking a minibus may be the best option. Or you can join organized group tours that use vans and minibuses in touring the city.
Tickets for minibuses are usually available at guesthouses in the city. The journey by minibus is faster than by a bus. It takes about 5 hours from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng by minibus, while Vientiane from Luang Prabang is roughly 7 hours. If you’re prone to motion-sickness, you’re better off with a regular bus though.
Getting around Luang Prabang by bus, however, can be a bit difficult. The two main bus stations serve different routes and they are quite far from downtown. One bus station runs to and from the South, and the other to and from the North. The South routes are called Naluang and the North routes are called Kiew Lot Sai Nuan. The best thing to do is to hire a tuk-tuk to get you to the station. Most tuk-tuk drivers also know which station to go to for whatever city attraction you want to see.