IS PHU SI HILL WORTH IT?
If you're planning to head to Luang Prabang then you'll have no doubt heard of Phu Si Hill, or one of its other names. As the highest place in Luang Prabang, it's THE best place to catch a glimpse of the stunning orange and red sunsets that are famous in Laos.
With a practising temple at its summit and several religious statues and caves on the way up, it's worth noting that you'll need appropriate and respectful clothes. At over 300 stairs to climb it's a fair slog to the top, but nothing too hard and there are plenty of photo opportunities to catch your breath.
The sun generally sets around 5:30-6:00pm so you'll need to head up pretty early on to grab a good spot because trust me when I say it gets CROWDED! The below photo is of the LEAST crowded area...
I'd read plenty online that warned of the sheer number of people at the top when the sun starts to set but nothing prepared me for the claustrophobic feel to the place. It turns into a giant tourist trap with over twenty tour busses pulling up around 5pm for the sun set.
I managed to get there around 4:35pm so had some time to appreciate before the crowds descended and ruined the feel. The sunsets and views are truly, truly stunning, but I left around 5:15pm before the sun fully set as I didn't enjoy how rude people got in their efforts to capture a shot. I had a man use my THIGH to give himself a leg up to get a better photo so take that as you will!
It's definitely worth the 20,000 kip entrance fee for the views alone, but I would recommend grabbing yourself a beer in one of the riverside bars for a less crowded and more serene sunset experience.