There are fewer places in the world more exotic than Laos. Better yet, this tropical wonderland doubles as the perfect honeymoon destination after your wedding! From hidden waterfalls and colorful village to lively, night-lit street vendors selling all kinds of textiles and every type of tasty food you can imagine, from mountaintop temples to edgy nightclubs, Laos is a paradise equally perfect where the romance begins.
Within 13-day Luang Prabang & Southern Laos, you can see all the best Luang Prabang & Southern Laos has to offer. From the never fading culture to the nature beauties; from the ancient city...More
Laos Endless Romance is part of our Laos Honeymoon tour collection. The journey throughout Laos from the North to the South, from river to river, from mountain to mountain. The journey of culture e...More
Within 9-day Luang Prabang Story, you can see all the best Luang Prabang has to offer. From the never fading culture to the nature beauties; from the ancient city to the amazing Kuang Si waterfalls...More
Southern Laos is the worthiest destination to visit in Laos. The area has its all to offer to tourists including the mountainous area of Bolaven Plateau with plenty of colorful hill tribe village,...More
If you fancy a honeymoon where you can explore the best of three countries, with lots of memorable off-the-beaten-track adventures thrown in along the way – look no further. On this action-pa...More
Embark on an oriental adventure to discover the hotspots of sleepy Laos, explore the rich culture of Cambodia and enjoy the contrast of Vietnam’s bustling cities and tranquil coastline. Stay...More
Let's start your day city tour in Luang Prabang with a visit to the Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. From there, you walk to the...
Sai Bat (Morning Alms) is a longstanding tradition in Laos Buddhist culture. In observing it, the devoted offer food to monks throughout the Luang Prabang every mornin...
An icon just outside the city, Kuang Si Waterfalls are stunning and SO worth seeing it in person (the water really is that blue!). If you are fairly confident and comf...
You can embark on a leisure cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives you a breathtaking view of the tranquil countryside, before reaching the mysterious P...
Also just on the outskirts of Pakse, Wat Phu is an impressive Khmer temple that reminds me of a miniature version of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, though it was actually bui...
Hidden among green-carpeted karsts and pockets of jungle, ruggedly beautiful Vang Vieng is no longer the party town that gave it its bad reputation, but a lot of fun c...
Formerly a French colony, charming Vientiane is South-East Asia’s answer to Paris. Visit Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple with thousands of miniature Buddha statue...
Head south to Si Phan Don, explore the local peaceful villages of Ban Khone, where you will see an array of relics from the French colonial era and retrace the old col...
No trip to Vientiane is complete without checking out the sculptures in Buddha Park. Also called Xieng Kuan, this family-friendly park on the banks of the Mekong is 15...
The Elephant Village Sanctuary in Luang Prabang is an educational facility dedicated to the rehabilitation and protection of Asian elephants in Laos. The facility also...
The organic farm of The Living Land Company not only grows food in Luang Prabang but provides an opportunity for tourists to work on the land like the natives. Located...
The Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden is a stunning display of plants and flowers that are native to Laos. This facility has a greater mission to educate visitors on the rel...
The Mekong River, which spans the length of the country from its northern jungles to the volcanic coffee-growing plains around Pakse, has been Laos’ lifeline for...
Every traveler should try one of Laos’ simplest but tastiest foods, khao piak sen. This savory tapioca noodle soup served in chicken broth is sold at every resta...
Laos’ namesake beer is as popular and widespread as water. In fact, sometimes it is easier to find than bottled water as you really can find it anywhere …...
Laos’ main cities are filled with a plethora of international dining choices and fine cuisine, but to truly enjoy the zesty flavors of Lao cooking, it’s be...
Have you ever been to Pakse if you haven’t taken the time to climb the staircase to the top of Wat Phou Salao? Doubtful. A moderate half-hour climb brings...
Baci Ceremony (also spelt Basi) is specific ceremony in Laos which has been practiced for hundreds of years. The term commonly used is “Sou Khuan” which me...
The Kamu Lodge is a beautiful eco-lodge in a remote location on the banks of the majestic Mekong River in northern Laos. Access to the lodge is by a private boat - a t...
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Bucolic Wat Phou (Wat Phu, Vat Phou, Vat Phu) sits in graceful decrepitude, and while it lacks the arresting enormity of Angkor in Cambodia, given its few visitors and more dramatic natural setting, these small Khmer ruins evoke a more soulful response. While some buildings are more than 1000 years old, most date from the 11th to 13th centuries. The site is divided into six terraces on three levels joined by a frangipani-bordered stairway ascending the mountain to the main shrine at the top.
Visit in the early morning for cooler temperatures (it gets really hot during the day, and on the lower levels there isn't any shade) and to capture the ruins in the best light. Make sure to grab a map at the entrance as there is little to no signage here.
Buddhist Lent Day (Thailand Wan Khao Phansa, Laos Boun Khao Phansa) is the start of the three-month period during the rainy season when monks are required to remain in a particular place such as a monastery or temple grounds. Here, they will meditate, pray, study, and teach other young monks. In the past, monks were not even allowed to leave the temple, but today, most monks just refrain from traveling during this period. You will still see them out during the day.
It is said that monks started remaining immobile in a temple during this time because they wanted to avoid killing insects and harming farmland. Apparently, traveling monks were crossing through fields, thus destroying the crops of villagers and farmers. After catching wind of this, Buddha decided that in order to avoid damaging crops, hurting insects, or harming themselves during the rainy season, monks should remain in their temples during these three months.
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Initiated in 2006 by an NGO working for years with the elephants, this annual meeting of Laos Elephant Festival became one of the big festivals of Laos, followed by thousands of Laotians who move to attend a number of exercises, parades, and elections of the most emblematic animal of Laos. Fifty elephants are walking around for 3 days in the streets of the small provincial town. A large market takes place for the occasion with all kind of local (or Thai) products.
Home to the country’s largest pachyderm population, Xayabouly Province is the natural choice to host this growing event that also aims to raise awareness about the need to protect the endangered Asian elephant, which has played such a vital role in Lao people’s livelihoods, culture and heritage.
The highlight of the year in Wat Phu Champasak is the three-day Buddhist festival, held on Magha Puja day on the full moon of the third lunar month, usually in February. The ceremonies culminate on the full-moon day with an early-morning offering of alms to monks, followed that evening by a candlelit wéean téean (circumambulation) of the lower shrines.
Throughout the three days of the festival Lao visitors climb around the hillside, stopping to pray and leave offerings of flowers and incense. The festival is more commercial than it once was, and for much of the time has an atmosphere somewhere between a kids' carnival and music festival. Events include kick-boxing matches, boat races, cockfights, comedy shows and plenty of music and dancing, as bands from as far away as Vientiane arrive. After dark the beer and lòw-lów (Lao whisky) flow freely and the atmosphere gets pretty rowdy.
When the three months of Buddhist Lent come to an end in October, it is the perfect time to visit temples and celebrate the end of the rainy season. In Laos, this is called Boun Awk Phansa (Sometimes translated as Boun Ok Phansa or Boun Ock Phansa) and various religious and local traditions can be observed during this time. Moreover, there are plenty of festive activities are organized throughout the country with floating flower boats, candles, fireworks, lavishly decorated wats and an old-time carnival … all make for a magical Boun Awk Phansa festival in Laos.
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Let's start your day city tour in Luang Prabang with a visit to the Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. From there, you walk to the nearby Wat Mai, which is one of Luang Prabang’s largest and most richly decorated temples.
Continue your tour seeing the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture.
Continue your visit to the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre to learn about Laos’ many ethnic cultures.
You can take a short walk around the small roads of the city center, watching the life of local people, and visiting the traditional house of Heuan Chan, the Chantal wooden house dating back to 100 years old.
Late afternoon, you can climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a panoramic sunset view of the city and the Mekong River.
Sai Bat (Morning Alms) is a longstanding tradition in Laos Buddhist culture. In observing it, the devoted offer food to monks throughout the Luang Prabang every morning.
Starting from early morning around 05:30 to 06:30 am in March to October and 06:00 to 07:00 am in November to Febuary.
Held on the main street in every morning, there are many places through the town and inside every temples. Here just give the main procession: in front of Xiengthong temple, Luang Prabang Primary School and Natonal Museum.
Observe the ritual in silence and contribute an offering only if it is meaning for you and can do so respectfully. If you do not wish to make an offering, please keep an appropriate distance and take care not get in the way of the monk procession or those making offerings.
An icon just outside the city, Kuang Si Waterfalls are stunning and SO worth seeing it in person (the water really is that blue!). If you are fairly confident and comfortable on a motorbike, you could rent one and get there on your own.
Minivans and Tuk-Tuks are also available to take you there. From the entrance, it is a small hike up to the waterfalls that will take you past rescued black bears hanging out at the sanctuary. It will only be a few minutes before you start hearing the water. The area is packed with tourists for most of the day, so consider going early in the morning and try to be the first person in if you want to avoid the crowds. To get a panoramic view of the waterfalls from high up, continue your hike to the (not so) secret waterfalls.
You can embark on a leisure cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives you a breathtaking view of the tranquil countryside, before reaching the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims.
One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to see the elaborate interiors of the Pak Ou caves is to book a guided caves tour, where you will be able to get detailed information on the site.
Also just on the outskirts of Pakse, Wat Phu is an impressive Khmer temple that reminds me of a miniature version of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, though it was actually built in the 7th century, way before Angkor Wat.
Wat Phu does not see as many tourists, though, so it’s a nice change of atmosphere. This will make a nice day trip from Pakse, just make sure to pile on sunscreen as there’s very little shade!
Hidden among green-carpeted karsts and pockets of jungle, ruggedly beautiful Vang Vieng is no longer the party town that gave it its bad reputation, but a lot of fun can still be had here. For full-on adventure, kayak down the Nam Song at white-water rafting speeds. Pull up at the river’s edge and swap paddles for a harness for a zipline experience taking you above the tree-tops, finishing with a steep descent that makes you certain you’ll plunge into the river below.
If you prefer being underground to flying through the air, explore Vang Vieng’s best caves. Tham Xang (Elephant Cave) is home to ancient Buddha statues, a Buddha footprint and an elephant-shaped stalactite. Tham Hoi and Tham Loup also house Buddha statues along with the names of 100 people who hid in the cave during the wars. To explore Tham Nam (Water Cave), jump in a rubber ring and tube through the dark, water-filled cave with only a headtorch and rope for guidance.
Continue the adventure at the Blue Lagoon on the slides, swings and jumping platforms erected around the sparkling turquoise waters. If you need a break, Vang Vieng offers many relaxing locations, including riverside hammocks where you can watch the world go by with a Beer Lao in hand.
Formerly a French colony, charming Vientiane is South-East Asia’s answer to Paris. Visit Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple with thousands of miniature Buddha statues, and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image.
Enroute to Lao’s national icon, the precious and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, you will have the opportunity to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph.
For an insight into the tragic history, visit the COPE centre. More bombs were dropped on Laos per capita during the Vietnam War than any other country in history. Many bombs failed to detonate, and still injure Laotians today, hence the importance of COPE. This organisation educates visitors on the problem, and provides victims with prosthetic limbs and rehabilitation.
Head south to Si Phan Don, explore the local peaceful villages of Ban Khone, where you will see an array of relics from the French colonial era and retrace the old colonial past, including old French colonial buildings and the remnants of the first Lao railway with its locomotive.
Continue to discover the 4000 islands area by tuktuk and visit the marvelous Liphi waterfall, also called the ""Corridor of the Devil"" one of the most beautiful waterfalls marking Lao border with Cambodia.
If you are lucky, you may even see the rare freshwater Irrawaddy Mekong dolphin at Ban Hang Khone.
Then visit Khone Phapheng, which is considered the largest waterfall by volume in South East Asia. Khone Phapheng is an impressive spot near the Lao-Cambodian border, set within an area which is teeming with wildlife, making this area one of the most breathtaking destinations in Laos.
No trip to Vientiane is complete without checking out the sculptures in Buddha Park. Also called Xieng Kuan, this family-friendly park on the banks of the Mekong is 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) from downtown Vientiane. Over 200 Buddhist statues are on display in the park, including a giant domed structure that visitors can climb inside to view the park from above. The Park is full of sculptures that reflect the religious interests of the founder, Luang Pu Bunleau Sulilat, who began the work on the park in 1958. He was interested in merging the beliefs of Buddhism with those of Hinduism, so you’ll find concrete sculptures of the Hindu gods, demonic figures, zoomorphic creatures, and many of the Buddha, including a 40-meter-long reclining Buddha. There’s also a huge pumpkin sculpture, which can be entered through the mouth of a demon leading to three floors representing earth, heaven and hell.
The Elephant Village Sanctuary in Luang Prabang is an educational facility dedicated to the rehabilitation and protection of Asian elephants in Laos. The facility also provides employment to villagers. Elephants at the sanctuary are rescued work elephants that are protected.
A day tour through the Elephant Village lets you interact with the large animals. You can try your hand at being a mahout with an experience designed to let you learn how to care for and bathe the elephant. This is one of the most comprehensive, hands-on experiences in the country and a rare chance to get up close to these magnificent animals.
The organic farm of The Living Land Company not only grows food in Luang Prabang but provides an opportunity for tourists to work on the land like the natives. Located in the countryside, you can don a conical hat and learn how to harvest a rice patty, plough a field using livestock, and learn the skill of threshing in a real farm environment.
Be forewarned that the experience is authentic and it is difficult manual labor. If you prefer to not get your hands dirty, you can simply observe the locals performing their daily chores in the fields.
The Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden is a stunning display of plants and flowers that are native to Laos. This facility has a greater mission to educate visitors on the relationship between Laos people and their natural surroundings, so you will see that theme throughout the gardens and information. Examples of this include exhibits that showcase plants that were traditionally used in medicine or for ceremonial purposes.
The plant collections include hundreds of varieties of orchids, ferns, bamboos, and more. There are several types of gardens and collections to visit on the grounds.
If you are interested in additional eco-treks in Laos, the experts at the botanical garden can direct you to reputable guides.
In order to get to the botanical garden, you must take a boat from Luang Prabang. The boat returns to the city every hour until 5:30pm, and the cost is included in your admission ticket.
The Mekong River, which spans the length of the country from its northern jungles to the volcanic coffee-growing plains around Pakse, has been Laos’ lifeline for centuries. And even if some of it is no longer navigable because of recently built hydroelectric dams, the stretch from the Thai border at Huay Xai down to Luang Prabang remains the most popular way to experience the slow lifestyle of local river communities. The trip takes two days, with an overnight stop in the village of Pak Beng, before boats moor at Luang Prabang’s jetty. If coming from northern Thailand, you can buy tickets and board the slow boat in the border town of Houay Xai. In Laos, book your tickets in Luang Prabang: Shompoo Cruise offers luxurious river explorations on charming wooden schooners that ply the route between Luang Prabang, Pakbeng, and the Thai border, stopping at popular sites like the Pak Ou Caves along the way.
Every traveler should try one of Laos’ simplest but tastiest foods, khao piak sen. This savory tapioca noodle soup served in chicken broth is sold at every restaurant, stall, and bus station, and served in every home across the country. Be sure to make use of the fresh herbs, soy sauce, and bean sprouts that every seller will add on your table next to your steaming bowl. But be cautious with the chilies, as they really burn. A popular place to eat khao piak sen in Vientiane is the Phim Phone Noodle shop in Dongpalane Road, just south of the Morning Market.
Laos’ namesake beer is as popular and widespread as water. In fact, sometimes it is easier to find than bottled water as you really can find it anywhere …including in the middle of nowhere. Look for it at remote street stalls catering to locals and in the packed touristy bars of Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang. Beer Lao is a smooth, savory, and light brew, and it goes down well with any meal. It is somewhat of a national obsession, so feel free to sample it at every opportunity.
Laos’ main cities are filled with a plethora of international dining choices and fine cuisine, but to truly enjoy the zesty flavors of Lao cooking, it’s best to hit the street and eat like a local. From tapioca noodle soups to barbecued meats and sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves, Laotians are masters of street food. You are in for a culinary treat.
Have you ever been to Pakse if you haven’t taken the time to climb the staircase to the top of Wat Phou Salao? Doubtful. A moderate half-hour climb brings you next to the giant golden Buddha that sits at this vantage point. From here, you can look out over the town and the junction between the Mekong and Sedone rivers.
Baci Ceremony (also spelt Basi) is specific ceremony in Laos which has been practiced for hundreds of years. The term commonly used is “Sou Khuan” which means “spirit enhancing or spirit calling”. The ceremony involves the tying of white cotton strings around person’s wrists and the prayer saying or well wishing for the person that the ceremony is intended for.
Lao people believe that a human being is a union of thirty-two organs, each has a spirit or Khuan (Lao word for spirit) to protect them. These spirits often wander outside the body causing unbalance of the soul which might lead to an illness. The tying of the white string represents tying of the 32 spirits to the body putting them back in harmony as well as bringing good luck and prosperity.
The Kamu Lodge is a beautiful eco-lodge in a remote location on the banks of the majestic Mekong River in northern Laos. Access to the lodge is by a private boat - a two and a half-hour ride upstream through glorious scenery from Luang Prabang.
Accommodation is in luxury safari tents, mounted on semi-permanent bamboo platforms with thatched covered roofs. All are fitted with solar-powered electricity and hot water. Beds are comfy, and the rooms are well located, with private balconies surrounded by forest and the river banks.
Several excellent excursions are included in the price. In-house activities include rice farming, fishing, gold panning, Laos archery and tours of the local village. More adventurous excursions include treks to caves and waterfalls and tribal communities. The staff will also teach you how to find medicinal plants in the forest if you are interested.
The lodge is built next to a small Kamu village with close and harmonious ties between the two. The lodge is run in a sensitive and eco-friendly way, protecting and enriching the village people. The area around the lodge is spectacularly pretty, with lush paddy fields, a dramatic mountainous backdrop and the mighty river below.
The lodge would suit anyone interested in getting a flavour of life in rural Laos or a voyage on the mighty Mekong River. It is a very peaceful place, ideal for relaxing and taking it easy. Food is served where you choose, either on your balcony or in the riverside restaurant. All meals and soft drinks are included in the price made with organic ingredients. Staff are vital to the success of the lodge. Sourced from local villages, they inject their warm and friendly personalities to give a very welcoming and engaging atmosphere to the entire project.
Kamu Lodge can also be visited as an extra night stop on the Luang Say cruise following the initial night stop in Pak Beng.