What are the top ten things to do in Laos?
Slow down, pause and take a deep breath as the sights and sounds of Laos in Southeast Asia are meant to be savored at leisure! While the unhurried capital Vientiane calls you to embrace its eclectic mix of influences including a stunning Buddha Park nearby, the serene Mekong river beckons you to take a leisurely cruise to savor the delights of the surrounding rural life as well as archipelagos like Si Phan Don.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang charms with its regal yet rustic ambiance. From temple ruins to village visits, stunning sights like the Kuang Si Waterfall, and learning how to cook Laotian dishes, there are so many things to do in Laos, one of the jewels in Southeast Asia – unhurriedly!
Here is a list of the top ten things to do in Laos curated by our Enchanting Travels specialists, which should definitely be part of your Laos travel guide!
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1Visit the Wat Phu Temple in Champasak
The Wat Phu Temple in the province of Champasak is one of the most famous temple complexes in Laos and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. While some of the ruins are more than 1000 years old, most of them go back to the 11th to 13th centuries.
Explore the six terraces spread out on three levels, joined by a frangipani-bordered stairway, which will take you up the mountain to the main shrine at the top.
2Discover the Marvels of the Bolaven Plateau
The Bolaven Plateau should not be missed during your cultural tour of Laos. You will find dense jungles, hidden waterfalls and authentic villages inhabited by different ethnic groups. Old customs and traditions have been preserved in the villages to this day.
Nestled amid the highlands are a number of protected national parks and high-grade coffee plantations. While the animistic-shamanistic Suay (or Kui) are proficient at elephant handling, while face tattoos are the hallmark of the Alak, Katu and Laven women. This offbeat experience is easily one of the best things to do in Laos.
3Explore the Kong Lor Cave
Take a boat trip through the mysterious Kong Lor Cave for an unforgettable experience. This impressive rock grotto, which is located near the picturesque village of Hin Boun, measures 7.5 km.
Once you are navigated safely through the cave, you can explore the spectacular stalagmite gallery on foot. On reaching the other side of the cave, you can also take a short walk to explore the remote Ban Pom Ngam village.
4Witness the Alms Giving Ceremony in Luang Prabang
In the early morning, watch the alms giving ceremony in the ancient royal capital of Luang Prabang. Hundreds of monks in brightly colored robes practice this ancient ritual every day.
This regal city, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and steeped in ancient culture, was also ruled by French colonialists in the 18th century. Admire the mix of ancient red-roofed Buddhist temples and French colonial buildings that dot the city.
5Explore the Sights Around Luang Prabang
From Luang Prabang, you can travel to numerous highlights: take a morning trip to the Kuang Si Waterfalls, or explore the mystic Pak Ou Caves – the huge caves of a thousand Buddhas, which house almost 4,000 Buddha figures.
And if you are journeying overland between Vientiane and Luang Prabang, don’t forget to stop off at Vang Vieng. Vang Vieng is nestled in a valley on the banks of the Nam Song River amid a misty jungle. The area around Vang Vieng is inhabited by the ethnic Hmong and Yao hill tribe people and is renowned for its stunning natural beauty – from craggy karsts to cavesm pools and waterfalls!
Vang Vieng is popular among outdoor enthusiasts for the range of adventure sports offered, such as tubing, kayaking, rock climbing, caving, and trekking and cycling to nearby caves and villages.
6Embark on a Luang Say Cruise
Take a Luang Say Cruise from Luang Prabang, to witness charming villages, colorful little markets and the Pak Ou Caves. On your way, witness the magical landscapes of the Mekong Delta.
Soak in scenic vistas of green fields smattered with hilltribe villages intertwined by canals and rivulets and catch glimpses of rural life along the banks.
7Take a Mekong Delta Cruise from Pakse
Take a Mekong Delta cruise from Pakse. After a visit to the Wat Phu ruins and Oum Mong – a hidden forest temple – you will pass through the enchanting “4000 Islands” to the thundering Pha Pheng Waterfalls, which makes for a truly magnificent sight – one of the top things to do in Laos!
The Mekong River is full of delightful sights to explore. Apart from the Si Phan Don or the “4000 Islands”, a riverine archipelago in the Mekong River in southern Laos, you also have the remains of Laos’ first railway line, freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins and Khone Phapheng Falls – all a must-see on your visit here.
8Explore the Town of Nong Khiaw
The picturesque town of Nong Khiaw is surrounded by mighty limestone cliffs. From here, you can take walks to authentic, small villages, or take a boat trip to the mystical Nam Ou River.
Walk across the charming bridge that connects the two parts of Nong Khiaw and offers wonderful views of the river and the surrounding landscape. Visit the surrounding villages to get a glimpse into the lives of ethnic minorities in Laos.
9Discover Xe Pian
The huge and remote Xe Pian NPA (National Protected Area) in Champasak and Attapeu provinces, stretches east from the Mekong plain and south to the Cambodian border.
It is home to 29 different ecosystem types, including globally endangered species of birds and mammals. In addition to Asian elephants, Xe Pian National Park houses tigers, Collar and Malay bears and rare animal species such as the Malayan Shire, the Indian otter and numerous bird species.
10Visit the Hot Springs of Muang La
If you want to relax, we recommend a visit to the hot springs of Muang La. Next to the steamy springs is a large wat, Ban Longya, with a large stone that is believed to have Buddha’s footprint.
Explore restaurants and savor the fish from the Nam Phak – popular for its delicious taste! You can visit the picturesque town on a day trip out of Udomxai.
Expert tip: The capital city of Vientiane in Northern Laos is a must-visit on your trip to the country. The first thing that will strike you about Vientiane is its laid-back charm. Vientiane is a pedestrian’s paradise – its quaint charms are best explored on a walking tour along its beautiful cobblestone footpaths.
Vientiane’s French mansions and bougainvillea-blooming streets are a sight for sore eyes, while its Laotian cuisine a delight for your tastebuds! A cooking class that will teach you how to make the Laotian dishes is also a must-do on your trip to Vientiane!
Discover all the best things to do in Laos by booking your vacation with our experts at Enchanting Travels. Contact us for your tailor-made and obligation-free tour itinerary.
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Lying to the northeast of Champasak into Salavan and Sekong in southern Laos, the fertile Bolaven plateau is an area of highlands between 1,m and 1,3m, having lots of rain…
Picturesque and tranquil, Hin boun is located in the Khammouane district of central Laos, right in the heart of an eponymous nature reserve known for its natural wonders.
Luang Namtha, at the crossroads between China, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, is a quaint town along the Nam Tha river in Northern Laos.
Luang Prabang is considered the jewel of Indochina, and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
At the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers, lies Luang Prabang, 3kms north of Vientiane.
Luang Prabang / Mekong
One of the very best travel experiences I have ever had. We even got updates once at 3 am! He also made one change in one day’s itinerary to accommodate our wishes which was very wonderful. For business, I have traveled to Europe, Russia, all over Asia and South Africa but was blown away by all the beautiful sites in Argentina and Chile.
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This was my first adventure as a solo traveler. But while I may have traveled on my own, I was never alone. I was well taken care of by a superb team of planners, trip coordinators, guides and drivers.
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