Where should you go on your trip to Laos? While our suggestions aren’t exhaustive, they give you an idea of the discoveries you can make in this often overlooked country.
Pakse and the South: If you are traveling overland from Cambodia or starting a week-long trip in Laos you can start in Pakse. You can also cross the border with Thailand at Chong Mek and connect to Bangkok by air from Ubon Ratchathani.
The area is known for the beautiful Mekong, the pre-Angkorian Vat Phu Temple, and coffee plantations. During the wet season (June-November) enjoy the area’s numerous waterfalls. We recommend a cruise on the Mekong allowing you to explore the river and visit villages or an overnight on Khong Island before heading north!
For a great trip with a Mekong cruise check out our 9-Day Laos Discovery tour.
Vientiane: Laos’s capital is worth at least one full day! The city has kept its timeless charm with tree-lined avenues, brightly painted temples and quaint French architecture. Don’t miss the morning market, a great place to buy traditional textiles and handicrafts. Wat Pha That Luang, with its central lotus-bud spire and 30 surrounding stupas, is the most sacred site in the country. You can also visit Ho Pha Keo (once the home of the revered Emerald Buddha, now in Bangkok), Wat Sisaket (a monastic complex), Patuxai (the Lao Arc de Triomphe), and the Presidential Palace.
Luang Prabang: Luang Prabang is a convenient place to start or end your trip, since there are direct flights to both Bangkok and Hanoi. This peaceful city is a UNESCO World Heritage site and filled with ancient temples surrounded by hills and the countryside. One highlight is Wat Xieng Thong, an exquisite, 400-year-old, royal monastic complex set on the banks of the Mekong. The massive Banyan Trees surrounding the complex are nearly as old as the monastery! In Luang Prabang you can also enjoy a bike tour, a cooking class or a visit to an elephant park.
Adventure Laos: We can also arrange for adventure activities in Laos, including biking and trekking. We recommend trekking from Vang Vien if near Vientiane or a few days trekking from Luang Prabang if you are short on time. Travelers with more time should consider an extended northern Laos adventure with trekking, rafting and visits to ethnic minorities. Contact us for details!