Luang Prabang, Laos' most touristic city, does not have the reputation of being a party town.
While there are plenty of things to do during the day, from visiting temples to swimming in waterfalls, nightlife activities are much harder to find.
There is a 11.30PM curfew on bars located in the city center, but if you go a little bit further away you can find a few clubs and KTVs open until 1AM. You also have the bowling center that closes at 2AM.
Within these time limits, there are actually some interesting venues for drinking and having fun. In this short review, I will give you a list of my top 5 favorite nightlife activities in Luang Prabang.
Best Things to Do at Night in Luang Prabang
|Luang Prabang at night (photo kob112)|
I think it's the first time I recommend a night market in one of my articles. The one in Luang Prabang is one of the most touristy you'll visit in Southeast Asia (0% local people, 100% foreigners), but it is lively and probably the best place to meet other travelers.
The night market has two lanes: The main one, on Sisavangvong Road, focuses on clothes, souvenirs and craftwork. This is where people buy elephant pants and Lao-branded shirts. Nothing special.
The second lane is more interesting. It is a bit hidden, at the corner of the Indigo House Hotel and Sisavangvong Road, and it has around 25 street food stalls. You can buy very cheap beer there and sit elbow-to-elbow with other people.
It's quite dirty and messy so you won't stay too long, but still I'd recommend to try once.
|Utopia Café before sunset (photo: the chopsticks)|
Utopia is a bohemian restaurant/café/bar by the riverside, a 5 minute walk from the center. It is a hippie/new age venue that attracts many of the younger long-term residents and backpackers of Luang Prabang. On normal nights, when they don't have any special events, it will be laid-back, with easy-going music in the background (most likely reggae). People will just sit on mattresses and chill. You can also play games or smoke shisha. Occasionally, they may organize a movie projection, a live music session, a volleyball competition, etc... You can check their Facebook page for more information (rarely updated though): Utopia Laos
15,000 kip for a small beer, 20,000 kip for a large one. Happy hours until 9PM. It closes at 11.30PM. Yoga sessions in the morning.
If you like Utopia, you may also be interested in the nearby Silapa restaurant. Its beer garden has a similar vibe, and they serve much better food (Italian, pizzas, and Laotian).
3) Bar Crawling in the City Center
|Tangor (photo TanTan)|
The city center of Luang Prabang can easily be discovered by foot. At night, there are two streets with a higher concentration of bars and restaurants:
On Sisavangvong Road (just after the night market), there are at least 20 of them. You can just walk and choose the one you prefer. Personally, I liked these 3:
Luang Prabang Motorcycle Club (LPMC): In front of Vat Sene temple, this bar was not the most busy but it has a great intimate atmosphere and excellent cocktails (around 45,000 kip). Independent pop/rock music. Friendly owner.
Tangor: A French-run restaurant/café/bar with a colonial décor. It is one of the most crowded in the street, and a perfect location for watching people walk by.
La Casa Lao: Spanish tapas bar next to Tangor. Buy 2 cocktails get 1 from 5PM to 7PM.
A short walk from there, there are a few more bars on Kingkitsarath Road. Expats call it the Phousi Hill's nightlife precinct. None of the venues are really packed, but you have music, sports channels and alcohol. The most recommended are:
Redbul Bar (not Red Bull): A proper pub with pool tables, burgers and sports. Popular with expats. 20,000 kip for a cocktail during happy hours (5PM to 7PM).
Aussie Sports Bar: On the ground floor of Aham Corner Guesthouse, it is owned by an Australian-Lao couple. Similar to Redbul.
The House Restaurant & Belgian Bar: A tiny bar owned by two Belgians. They have a large choice of imported beers such as Duvel (58,000 kip), Stella Artois (45,000 kip), Blanche de Namur (50,000 kip) and Karmeliet (62,000 kip).
Elsewhere in Luang Prabang, you can also try Amigos (Mexican Restaurant and Bar), the 525 (a modern cocktail and Tapas bar) and Rama Sports Bar (local and Asian crowd, live music).
4) Live Music Pubs: Dao Fa and U-Pub
|Dao Fa Nightclub in Luang Prabang|
Most Laotians and Chinese party and drink less than 10 minutes from the city center (by tuk-tuk), in particular on the Road 13 (near Naluang Bus Station). Most of them are very local, but the following are more Western-oriented:
U-Pub: 200 meters from Dao Fa in an unnamed street. It is modern and they have a live band every night singing Lao hits. A few pretty girls. 25,000 kip for one beer (buy 2 get 1 free). It closes at 1AM. Exact location here.
Dao Fa: Inside the Dao Fa hotel, it is not as new as U-Pub but more crowded. Live band and DJ (commercial EDM). It is only open from 9PM until 12PM. The Sun Karaoke KTV is attached.
5) Karaoke - KTV
I have to admit that I didn't partake in any karaoke session, but I saw many places that seemed popular with Asian tourists (probably Chinese) and locals.
The road were I saw the most venues does not have a name. You can go to this location and you'll see them.
There are more of them on Road 13, before and after Dao Fa. A crowded one was Full Moon Karaoke. There is also Muang Sua Nightclub and KTV on Phu Vao Road (here).
They normally close at 11PM or 11.30PM.