EAT: Khaiphaen serve small plates, which is a great way to open your palate to Laos cuisine. Our fav restaurant in town, we found their jeow, a local roasted vegetable dip usually made with tomatoes or eggplant, to be the best we sampled. They also use all of their profits to train under-privalaged youth in their restaurants, so it's a win win.
PLAY: The 2-day trek to a Hmong village opened our eyes to the real life of many Laos people. White Elephant Tours had a great guide and contribute back to the local community. The hike can be challenging at times, but the views and wildlife make it worth it. The overnight stay is a village homestay, so it is important to manage expectations (no showers, electricity etc.). Back in the city, we did an awesome cooking class with Tamarind Tree, which was peppered with info about both local cuisine and local culture.
STAY: We stayed in a couple of places while in LP, but our fav was Thongbay Guesthouse, which is right on the river and has retained a heritage feel to the entire property. Breakfast is included in the room rate, and there is a free shuttle to town. Make sure to book a river view room, which has a beautiful verandah with an unobstructed view of the Nam Khan River. It's easy to watch the whole day float by as locals tend to their crops and fishermen reel in their nets.