Across the river, Chompet District

Across the river, Chompet District

Getaway to the other side

More on Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang prospers with World Heritage architecture, boutique hotels, fine dining and tourism, yet a five-minute boat ride across the Mekong delivers you to Chomphet District and it’s like stepping into another world.

Travelfish says:
Back in the days when the elephants roamed. Photo by: Cindy Fan.
Back in the days when the elephants roamed. Photo: Cindy Fan

A visit to the Chomphet side of the river can be as brief as an hour, hiring a private boat on a whim to visit Wat Chomphet which sits high on a hill, or a whole day of hiking/biking/motorbiking. The cheapest way to cross is by taking the public ferry from the large boat landing behind the Royal Palace Museum. Ferries criss cross the Mekong every 10-30 minutes shuttling people, motorbikes, vehicles and livestock—we’re not sure how much a water buffalo costs but per person it’s 5,000 kip one way, 8,000 kip with a bicycle or motorbike. It arrives at a long, steep boat landing in Ban Xieng Man village, which is not recommended if you have limited mobility. Any regular boat can be hired privately to take you across, negotiate for 10,000 kip before hopping in.

You can bring a bike across, but it's just as easy to rent one from the small bike and tour shop in the village on the other side. Prices are slightly higher (30,000 kip for half or 60,000 kip for full day) but they're mountain bikes which are absolutely necessary on some of the bumpier and steeper sections of road. The operator can also arrange tours (bank on 150,000 kip per person—tours are entirely customisable and therefore prices negotiable) and has detailed maps of bike and walking trails.

Lovely Wat Long Khoun. Photo by: Cindy Fan.
Lovely Wat Long Khoun. Photo: Cindy Fan

So you’re on the other side, now what? Here’s the rundown of what to do ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,200 words.)

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Reviewed by

Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you’ll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.

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Our top 10 other sights and activities in and around Luang Prabang

Boat rides
Boat rides

How about a sunset cruise on the Mekong River?

One day in Luang Prabang
One day in Luang Prabang

A sample itinerary for a first–time visit

Wat Xieng Thong
Wat Xieng Thong

Luang Prabang's most magnificent temple

Tak bat
Tak bat

Morning alms giving procession

Pak Ou Caves
Pak Ou Caves

One of Luang Prabang’s most popular excursions

The temples of Luang Prabang
The temples of Luang Prabang

The stupa-fying main attractions

Tad Sae Waterfall
Tad Sae Waterfall

Great if it has been raining

Massage and spas
Massage and spas

Soothe those aching muscles

Giving back
Giving back

Cause we've all got a lot to give