Each morning at dawn in Luang Prabang the local Buddhist monks form a procession around the streets of this charming town, collecting alms of rice and vegetables from the local population. Enjoyable and very educational, you will learn about the 13 steps and various methods involved in planting, growing, harvesting and cooking rice.
This is a great opportunity to experience the hard life of a farmer and try your hand at some of the activities, such as working with Suzuki the water buffalo, in knee-deep muddy rice paddies. Beginning with a leisurely boat ride up the Nam Ou to Muong Ngoi, a remote and extremely beautiful mountainous area north of Nong Khiaw, you then take a light trek through the fields and forest. Continue using the site if you're ok with this.
Contact: Follow Rue Thadeua until you see a lake - then take the lane on the right next to the lake. It's changing rapidly and may not be the beautiful paradise it is now for very long. However, get to 4,000 Islands soon.
Use all your kip in Laos or change back to dollars before you leave as it's hard to change kip outside the country. ATMs are everywhere and there are moneychangers in town. Thanks to the French influence, coffees are good and there are also baguettes as street food.
Try their sticky rice, the many dips - like smoky eggplant - that go with dried river weed (similar to nori seaweed), Lao stew and laarp salads. Lao food is same same but also very different to Thai food. Take a boat trip on the Mekong - local boats can be hired per hour or for something a little more lavish The Belmond has their own private boat for Champagne toasts on the river at sunset.
For older kids there's kayaking, trekking and a visit to Living Land Farm's Rice Experience" to learn about rice growing. Riding around in a tuk tuk in itself is an adventure for little kids - another plus of being stationed outside the old town. Take a one-hour boat ride down the river to visit the Pak Ou (Buddha) caves - bring flashlights for little adventurers.
Many restaurants in town have high chairs (of questionable cleanliness) so you may consider bringing a cloth highchair converter. Collapsible baby baths (or make do with the bathroom tub), bottle sterilising method (we used Milton tablets), baby puree pouches and formula, changing mat, toys, plastic cutlery and importantly your own first aid kit with any medications your family takes (including rehydration salts for diarrhea), though note that The Belmond does have a doctor on call, too.