Photo: At Wat Long Khoun.

Across the river, Chompet District

Our rating:

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.





For a district so close to a bustling town, Chomphet is surprisingly rustic, rough and undeveloped. Roads are mainly unpaved and see little traffic, infrastructure is rudimentary. Those who complain of tourist crowds should come here—relatively few make their way over.

Back in the days when the elephants roamed. Photo taken in or around Across the river, Chompet District, Luang Prabang, Laos 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 taken in or around Across the river, Chompet District, Luang Prabang, Laos by Cindy Fan.

Lovely Wat Long Khoun. Photo: Cindy Fan

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Across the river, Chompet District
Across the river from Luang Prabang

Location map for Across the river, Chompet District

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