Following the straight course of the Mekong, Manthatoulat Road is lined with riverfront restaurants on one side and hotels on the other. A general rule: the closer you are to the riverfront, the higher the price of the room. If it's within your budget, some beautifully restored accommodation can be found here.
Another thing to consider as you're finding your way around is that each village is named for the nearby wat, and most addresses include a Ban Something-or-other to indicate it. So, even if there's no exact street address -- as there often isn't -- if you can find the wat (most of which are clearly labelled on maps) the place shouldn't be too far from it.
The BCEL ATMs charge a 20,000 kip service fee for international cards and the maximum withdrawal amount is 1,000,000 kip (about US$120). A Joint Developmentbank on the main road where the night market sets up allows the same 1,000,000 kip withdrawal but with no fee. The ATMs are more reliable these days than they used to be but it's wise to travel with a back-up source of funding such as cash or credit cards. Tour agencies around Luang Prabang offer cash advances on your credit card for a fee and can charge in either Kip or US dollars. Predictably, the rates are bad and you end paying a lot more money for your cash than you would getting a cash advance from an ATM.
Many Western cafes and restaurants in Luang Prabang now offer free WiFi to customers, and plenty of Internet cafes still remain around town (standard price of 100 kip per minute). You can make IDD telephone calls, or a local SIM card is very affordable (30,000 kip and up).
There are plenty of places in town to buy or exchange books. For new titles, head to Monument Books on a sidestreet off the Mekong. In addition to a smattering of fiction, they specialise in regional books covering everything from cooking to geography. The biggest selection of used books belongs to L'etranger just behind Phousi and next to Hive. Here you can buy, sell, rent and trade books alongside delectable munchies and drinks.
The post office -- La Poste -- in the centre of town provides the usual services in addition to Western Union money transfers, though you'll pay dearly for them. An outside company -- EMS -- handles international shipping from an outpost within the office. Their rates for overland international shipping are reasonable but packages will take a long time -- about three months -- to reach their final destinations. Air rates are much higher but come with a speedier delivery.
Medical services are available in Luang Prabang, but facilities aren't exactly up to Western standards. For anything more serious than a scrape you'll want to get to Thailand. It's a one hour flight to Chiang Mai. Travel insurance is a must for Laos and be sure you're covered for emergency evacuations, especially if you'll be trekking in remote areas. Pharmacies can be found throughout town and have quick cures for minor ailments like itchy bug bites, upset stomachs and sore throats.
BCEL main bank Sisavangvong Road: 08:30 – 15:30, closed Sundays. T: (071) 252 814
Chinese Hospital Setthathirat Rd, past the Southern bus station, Ban Phu Mok. T: (071) 254 026
Luang Prabang Provincial Hospital Open 24 hours, Setthathirat Road. T: (071) 252 049
Jump to a destination
- Hot spots
- Vientiane, Vang Vieng & surrounds
- Luang Prabang & Northern Laos
- 4,000 islands & Southern Laos
Top accommodation by review
1 vote Sisavangthana Road
T: (071) 254 426
12 votes Outskirts of Luang Prabang
T: (020) 5929 1119
1 votes 057 Phothisarath Rd. Ban That Luang
T: (071) 253 491
F: (071) 253 418
1 vote Ban Phone Houang
T: (071) 212 906
F: (071) 212 906
7 votes 27/2 Ban Hoa Xieng
T: (071) 252 756
Sign up for Travelfish Burp!
Our weekly wrap on Southeast Asian travel.
Click here to see a recent newsletter.