Luang Prabang is not a nightlife destination. It is decidedly morning orientated – the majority of locals go to bed by 22:00 and rise at 05:00. Staggering home after a heavy night out, while all is peaceful and quiet is not such a great idea.
There are, however, a few small establishments that stay open past midnight where conversation and beer flow in harmony.
Set inside The Luang Say Residence, 1861 Bar features a classy explorer-theme interior fashioned in the style of French colonial elegance. Hardwood floor and walls, marble fireplace, stained glass lamp shades, mirrors, leather and velvet sofas all combine to evoke a feel of old-school sophistication. The bar stocks spirits and fine wines from around the world.
Location: The Luang Say Residence, Ban Phonepheng, south of the town centre
Opened in 2010, Blue Ice is a gay friendly bar with a cosy, inviting ambience and a wonderful view overlooking the Nam Khan River. Housed inside a two-storey bright yellow building, it has a bar, dance floor, tables inside and outside, friendly service as well as a pool table (one of the best in town).
Opening Hours: late afternoon-23:30
Location: Kingkitsarat Road (close to Nam Khan River)
Tel: +856 20 7755 9191
Open until 03:00, after 22:00 it gets crowded with tourists who are more interested in quenching their thirst than the actual bowling. This place is well worth a visit if you want to have a break from all the usual tourist stuff. The price of a game is 15,000 kip per person until midnight when it goes up to 20,000.
Location: Highway 13, east of junction with Potoupakmao Rd.
Perhaps the only nightclub in town that offers a sense of Lao-style ‘clubbing’ vibe. Slightly out of town, Dao Fah has all the elements of a club: loud music, live DJs spinning the decks, beers and lighting effects. But since this is Luang Prabang, don’t expect a full-on party scene. The majority of the customers are locals, and they mostly stand around, drink beer and chat the night away. For a place to hang out and drink late after the curfew (23:30 although largely not applied to foreigners), Dao Fah is your only option (besides the bowling alley).
Opening Hours: officially 09:30-23:30, but it remains open way after that
Location: Route 13, Ban Naluang,on the way to the southern bus terminal
Set in a beautiful white vintage-looking building, Icon Klub is one of those hidden gems you might come across from time to time. It was designed with a 1920s vibe in mind and features both indoor and outdoor seating as well as a variety of cocktails, good tunes, board games, books of poetry and art. The 13-seat cinema on the second floor offers regular movie nights.
Opening Hours: 17:00 – 23:30
Location: Sakkarine Road, close to Saynamkhan Hotel
Tel: +856 20 7125 4905
A stylish bar with a resident DJ, cosy garden terrace, fire pit, exposed brick walls and art installation, Hive is extremely popular among both expats and visitors. The menu covers cocktails, drinks, wood-fired pizzas and tapas. The DJ starts spinning the decks at 17:00 every day, bringing the place to life with electronic, dance, rock, alternative, indie and hip hop tunes.
Opening Hours: 14:00-23:30
Location: 5 Kingkitsarat Road
Tel: +856-20 997 0106
Cloaked in greenery, this open-air beer garden is a long-time favourite among backpackers. The cosy setup – bonfire, candles, fairy lights, lots of open spaces and trees – invites hours of lounging with Beer Lao, cocktails or wine. Music, though, is loud. The menu covers a good range, from burgers, salads to best-selling Lao-style barbecue. There’s also a pool table and large-screen TV showing European football matches.
Opening Hours: until 23:30
Location: Phousi Road (next to Nam Khan River)
Street food is plentiful in Luang Prabang but you won’t just find vendor stalls at random places throughout town. After sunset, the area around the corner of Settathilat and Sisavangvong roads come to life with food vendors selling all kinds of grilled meat, Lao noodle soup, Pho, baguette sandwiches and ready-to-eat meals. Bigger stalls setup long wooden tables and benches. Self-service is the best way to go about getting your seats and food, as the market is usually packed.
Opening Hours: Best time to go: after 18:00
With a cosy, contemporary ambience, and an extensive wine list, Pack Luck Wine Bar is a popular hang-out spot among visitors and expats. Its lively and unpretentious vibe adds a nice down-to-earth feel to the place. Cocktails and spirits are also on the bar menu. Here, you can while away the evenings with a drink and the sounds of jazz, latin, bossa nova, R&B, lounge and classic modern music.
Opening Hours: 10:00-23:30
Location: Ban Vat Nong, near Wat Sene, opposite l’Elephant Restaurant
For a taste of traditional Lao culture and art, head over to the Royal Ballet Theatre located on the Royal Palace grounds. The Royal Ballet troupe performs a khon (mask) and classical dance based on the Lao version of the Ramayana. In a way, the show is very similar to the Thai khon dance, as the two cultures influence each other. Performances take place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 18:30, and each show lasts one hour.
S-Bar is a lounge bar with a cool ambience, tasty food and great cocktails. The must-try list includes their own popular creation known as the S cocktail and the Lao set menu. Music leans toward electro-house and Jazz. This friendly place offers a good atmosphere in a lovely design.
Opening Hours: 12:30-23:30, best time to go: after 20:00
Location: Kingkitsarath road, Ban Aphay, Luang Prabang
Tel: +856 20 5466 5757
The only after-hours speakeasy in town, with good music, cheap beer and a lively crowd.
Set on the Nam Khan riverbank, Utopia Bar and Restaurant is a peaceful place where you can enjoy good food and drinks and relax in their tropical gardens or at the bamboo river decks taking in the lovely upcountry scenery. Utopia also has a range of different activities such as beach volleyball, shisha pipes, live music and movies/documentaries.
Opening Hours: 8:00-23:30
Location: Phousi Road (next to Nam Khan River)