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LUANG PRABANG -- area code (856-71)
Visitors to Southeast Asia should not miss a chance to visit this UNESCO World Heritage city nestled between the Mekong river and verdant jungle mountains. Visitors are delighted by the city's authentic ambience, the traditional lifestyle intrinsic to its singular charm, and the wealth of cultural treasures from the everyday lives of its monks, hilltribes, merchants, and craftsmen.
There is a surprising gay presence in the city, and even some low key, easy-going nightlife. But it is still a small town and everyone knows everybody else's business. Don't come here expecting to party. Luang Prabang is a place to relax, heal, chill-out and reflect. Everyone is generally asleep by midnight and up at dawn to feed the monks. Click here for more details and photos in our special report on this former royal capital.
The population of Luang Prabang is 26,000 (that's over 1,000 Utopians).
- Men in Luang Prabang message forum
Click here for Luang Prabang hotels and accommodations.
Lao Lao Garden (mixed)
Chao Siphoupan Rd. Gay hangout with cheap drinks and food. Gay visitors and locals mingle freely among a mixed crowd.
Pack Luck Wine Bar (mixed)
Sakkarine Rd. Same owners as Lao Lao Garden. Gay friendly with some gay staff. Aupscale, yet relaxed, place to have some good wines and meet fellow travelers and expat residents.
- Dao Faa (mixed)
Near the stadium. Lots of cute local guys and some gays. Nightly.
- Muang Xuo (mixed)
Phou Vao Rd. Nightly (closes before midnight). Packed and popular Lao style disco, with live music, disco dancing and socializing. Plan to walk home if you stay until closing as transportation will be difficult to find late at night.
- James Pub (mixed)
Next to Dao Faa, near the stadium. Karaoke and dance from 10:30pm-midnight. Young crowd, including local gays.
- Kitti Tum (mixed)
Next to stadium, near Dao Faa.
- Dhammada de Massage
Half a block south of Dala Market, opposite the Pack Luck gym, 020-554-5995. The spa is set back from the road in a large garden. Mainly masseurs, unlike the rest of the massage places in town, and a class above in both setting and massage.
Comments from Utopians:
"Dhammada de Massage is a nice place - decor is rustic chic, with thin wooden walls. Not much privacy (hanging blinds separate the rooms) and no extras, but the masseur was really excellent; very well trained." -- dsadsa10, Jan 3, 2011
- Red Cross Blind Massage (mixed)
Red Cross complex. Herbal steam sauna and cool-off veranda where you may sip special herbal tea or get an incredibly inexpensive massage. Very down-to-earth, relaxing, and authentic. Not gay, but it has a discreet gay vibe. You will most likely meet local gays or gay tourists here. Massage from 9am. Sauna opens at 4pm and closes at 9pm.
- Satri House
057 Phothisarath Rd, Ban Thatluang, +856-20-7737-8733, email. Gay and lesbian-friendly spa offering professional massage. Utopia Member Discount
The Apsara (Lao and international fusion)|
Kingkitsarath Rd, Baan Wat Sene, 212-420, email. From Villa Santi, walk down the hill towards the Khan River (opposite side of the Peninsula from the the Mekong) and make a left. The Apsara restaurant and guesthouse is a couple blocks down. At night it glimmers with candlelight. Located in a lovingly renovated heritage building overlooking the river. Stylish decor blends funky Asian elements, bold color and fine art. Well-stocked bar, smart and attentive staff, and excellent menu accent the local lifestyle. After dinner tuck into a fabulous dessert like coconut lime pie drizzled with home-made quince sauce, or sink back in the lounge seating for cocktails, conversation, and chill-out music.
- Bougnasouk Restaurant and Bar
01/03 Ban Xieng Mouane, Khem Kong Rd (near the boat landing on the Mekong River). Gay-friendly owner has designed a very romantic place with nice river views. The food is excellent and the prices reasonable.
Couleur Café (French and Lao)
48/5 Ban Vat Nong, 020-621-064, email. Gay-owned and staffed café near the Mekong and Café Regine. Open nightly, with reasonably priced drinks and food. Charming setting in an old heritage home, open to the street and colorfully decorated. Cool, jazzy music. Popular with visitors and local gays alike. The name refers to luscious coffee-colored skin tones.
The House Restaurant & Bar (Belgian cuisine)
Phousi Rd (Nam Khan Riverside), 071-255-021, email. Next door to Lao Lao Garden. The House is a gay and lesbian-friendly restaurant and bar with great food, cocktails and wine. Their Belgian chef cooks up specialties like lasagna, beef stews, tasty fries and Belgian chocolate desserts. Plenty for vegetarians as well, plus an appealing range of Belgian beers. Cooler inside seating when the weather is hot and a lovely terrace full of flowers. For every budget. Cute staff. Quality cuisine at an excellent price. They would also like to be an information center to gays and lesbians about do's and don'ts in Laos. Utopia Member Discount
L'Elephant Restaurant et Salon de thé (Lao and international fine dining)|
Ban Vat Nong (on the corner opposite Wat Nong), 252-482, email. Sophisticated cuisine incorporating the freshest local ingredients, full bar and fine wines, and utterly delectable sweets. The setting is elegant with striking design (even their bathroom sets a standard for beauty and cleanliness). Excellent service from charming waiters and friendly management. Don't miss a chance to dine here (and also, check out the beautiful hand woven silks in the shop next door).
Le Café Ban Vat Sene (coffee shop)
On the main road, opposite and down a bit from Villa Santi. Up-market and gay-friendly hang-out serving good Lao and international food, baked goods (great croissants) and fantastic pastries (try the banana pie!). Superior Lao craft items on sale as well. Handsome waiters are oh so charming.
Luang Prabang Bakery
Sisavangvong Rd, 252-499. One of Luang Prabang's fantastic bakeries. Sit and watch the passersby while munching on fresh bread, quiche, or heavenly desserts.
Park Houay Mixay Restaurant (Lao and Luang Prabang)
75/6 Ban Sothikhoummane Rd (not far from Wat Paa Phai), 212-260. Some of the best local cuisine in town. Be sure to try a Luang Prabang style salad made from fresh watercress. Other great dishes: plaa brio waan (fish in thick, pungent sweet and sour tamarind paste); sí ooa (spicy northern pork sausage); mook plaa (herbed fish soufflé); poa naw mai (stuffed bamboo shoot); and the local specialty -- kai pan (crispy riverweed with sesame) dipped in jao bong (buffalo skin jam).
Restaurant Vouthi Mixay (Lao and Luang Prabang)
Phou Vao Rd, 212-888. Sister branch of Park Houay Mixay, near Muang Xuo disco.
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Netted at the 2012 Phuket Gay Festival.