IFLY tips Luang Prabang
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Tamnak Lao restaurant and cooking school (2 hrs - 1 day)
In Luang Prabang you’ll experience the real Laos, so of course you need to taste real Lao food as well. A great restaurant to try some local specialities is restaurant Tamnak Lao.
There’s a Tamnak Lao restaurant in Vientiane as well and in 1999 they opened a second restaurant in Luang Prabang. Tamnak Lao means ‘the residence’ because this restaurant is located in one of the original French-style homes built in Vientiane. In Luang Prabang the restaurant is located in an old style building as well in the old centre at Sakarine Road.
The restaurant serves real local dishes and the food is very reliable. Recommended dishes are: Say ua kway (buffalo sausage), Larp pa (salad with minced fish) or Ua nor mai (Crispy bamboo shoots stuffed with pork and vegetables). Please don’t order any ‘safe’ international dishes and try these great Lao delicacies. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8.30 am to 11 pm.
If you like to learn how to cook these gorgeous dishes, Tamnak Lao has a cooking school as well. There are day classes from 10 am to 5 pm, or evening classes from 5 pm to 7.30 pm. For more information or bookings click here.
Night market (1 – 2 hrs)
In the main street in the old centre of Luang Prabang is a night market everyday of the week. This night market features vendors selling all typical Lao arts and crafts, so this is a great place to buy your souvenirs. The vendors accept both Laotian Kip and Thai Bath, and mostly you get a better deal if you pay in Thai Bath.
Be warned that the market closes down around 9.30 pm, unlike the similar markets in Thailand that go on into the early hours. Please note that there may be some souvenirs available made from endangered animals. Avoid buying rare pets, weird leather, ivory, talons, dried sea creatures, fur, teeth and other suspicious products.
There is a small street aside the market where you will find many food stalls. Here you can eat for a little amount. There’s a buffet for only 20000 Kip or a place where you can get a single plate for only 10000 Kip. Even the locals couldn’t tell us what’s the name of the alley, but you’ll find it next to Ancient Luang Prabang Hotel.
Dhammada Massage (1 – 2 hrs)
There are several massage places in Luang Prabang, but there's one, which is really great and has a beautiful location. It is situated at the back of a wonderful garden. You have to look careful, because at the road you only see a big wooden sign.
It is a very relaxed atmosphere and they have very friendly and professional therapists. They offer foot reflexology, aromatherapy (oil) massage and Thai-style massage. The facilities include hot showers, full linen service and air-conditioning. Price of the treatments start at 120000 Kip. Dhammada is open daily 12.30pm to 11pm. You will find the place just outside the old centre at 124 Ban Vixoun.
Morning market (1 hr)
The Morning Market, which takes place every morning in streets near the Royal Palace Museum, is a large collection of outdoor stalls selling pretty much everything.
Unlike the night markets that sell cheap crafts to the tourists, this one is dedicated to food and is pitched at the locals. Expect to see piles of lush greens foraged from the jungle, displays of tropical fruits, grilled fish and other cooked foods, and local sweets. The market starts up at sunrise and remains open until around 12:00 noon.
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Language of the world
Of course you like to speak a few words of the local language onboard the plane or at your destination. Here you find some simple basics of the main language spoken in Luang Prabang.