Included is a list of all of the bars I visited during my time in Luang Prabang - in order of discovery - plus, what to expect, as well as locations and opening times.
Luang Prabang is a sleepy city; local lifestyles see most people in bed by 10 and awake by 5 am. With most venues closed by 11:30 pm this is not a city where you're going to find any crazy nightlife. However, Luang Prabang is full of bars and restaurants, and there are still things to do if you're not ready to head back to your accommodation by midnight.
Below is a list of all of the bars I visited in Luang Prabang - in order of discovery - plus, what to expect, as well as locations and opening times.
Rama Sport Restaurant & Bar
Not located too far from my hostel, Rama Sport was the first bar I stumbled across on my first walk to the main street in Luang Prabang.
A sports bar with very little evidence of sport, Rama Sport is 2-storeys and includes a covered, outdoor seating and dining area upstairs.
Tip: I figured out pretty quickly that if you're there around closing time, they are more likely to lock you inside, than kick you out. The doors are shut to prevent new customers from entering, but you can still make another purchase or finish your drinks. I ended up returning to Rama Sport at the end of several nights in Luang Prabang. 3 out of 4 times it was open late.
Indigo House - Cafe, bAR & Restaurant
Located on Sisavangvong Road within the barriers of the night market, Indigo is a great place to go if you are keen to find European/ Western cuisine or have some drinks with a great view.
I couldn't stop buying Greek salads; they didn't even need to ask my order after my second visit. Plus, Indigo serve decent white wine (a rare find in Laos).
Tip: Head up to the 4th floor and grab a table there if you want to get a great look at the night market.
The Aussie Sports Bar
The Aussie bar is your typical kitschy decorated themed sports bar. They serve Vegemite on toast during the day, so if you're an Aussie in Laos with a craving, you now know where to go.
We didn't spend much time here; we had planned to arrive for some toast but arrived too late, so instead, we used the Aussie Bar as a meeting point for others from the hostel that wanted to go to Utopia.
Tip: The wine is terrible goon - avoid purchasing at all costs!
Red Bull Bar and Restaurant
Not going to lie, I'd had one too many drinks when we stopped here on our way to Utopia, so I opted for fresh air and sat outside while the group from the hostel ordered pizzas and played a game of pool while waiting for their food. Red Bull Bar had free WiFi, so I sat down focusing on my phone, breathing fresh air and drinking water, trying to recharge for Utopia. Successful mission.
I am sure there are more, however, is the only bar I came across in Luang Prabang that had a pool table.
Tip: Maybe don't arrive as intoxicated as I was.
Utopia, my favourite bar in Luang Prabang
"Zen by day" - I loved heading to Utopia during the day. Cushions on the floor, peaceful atmosphere, table service and laying on the deck enjoying drinks and a beautiful view of the Nam Khan River. Absolute perfection.
"Groovy by Night" - Utopia is an entirely different experience at night time. People pack in, the music volume rises, a chilled party atmosphere develops and it can be a struggle to find a table or cushion on the floor.
To add - before visiting Utopia, I disliked Daddy Yankee. Then I heard the same CD on repeat four times and... I still dislike Daddy Yankee, However, I can now handle him in small doses. Memories and all that. "Dame mas Gasolina".
Tip 1: I found Utopia to be the best during the day, especially approaching sunset. The music range at night is limited. However, I do recommend heading there to experience both.
Tip 2: Lao Lao, now now! - Laotian rice whisky, the local liqueur, is super cheap, and tastes more like a tequila/ vodka/ white rum mix over a whisky (to me anyway). It can be combined with juices such as tomato and orange and it tastes pretty much like a vodka. You'll save yourself a bunch of money.
The Bowling Alley
If you're under 35 and you've been to Luang Prabang, chances are at some point you've been ushered out of Utopia at the closing time, full drink/ plastic cup in hand, and shuffled along in a tuk-tuk to the only place that remains open till 3 am - The bowling alley.
This place fills with travellers fast around midnight, so if you plan to bowl, try to get there pretty swiftly after the bars close or expect to wait a tiny bit for lane. While waiting you have the option to play archery outside. Archery and alcohol, what could possibly go wrong.
The bar tender seemed to hate life, almost as if you could hear him thinking "oh great, here come the tourists" but to be fair, if I was him I would probably be thinking the same thing. That aside, we had a great night there. My team won. I'll just work that in.
Tip 1: If you go to Luang Prabang, you - must - bowl!
Tip 2: Non western toilets and they were a little blurgh! so if you've gotta go, try and go before you leave the pub.
YENSABAI BEER BAR
On my last night in Luang Prabang, during a downpour, I was randomly taken to Yensabai with three other girls by a tuk-tuk driver after giving him the direction to "take us anywhere that's open". Yensabai is the most authentic Lao bar I visited during my stay. No European songs on the playlist or tourists in sight (apart from the 4 of us). And I liked it that way. It was good to experience somewhere that wasn't full of tourists.
Tip: Cheap beer.
by Natalie Marie.
An Aussie girls guide to
I make all of the mistakes
so you don't have to.
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