Laos Travel Guide: Things to Do, Eat, Tour, Accommodation & Cost

Last Updated: July 14,2020

Laos at A Glance

Name of the countryLao People's Democratic RepublicMajor ReligionTheravada Buddhist
Official languagesLao, French (Recognised languages)Area
237,955 km2
Largest cityVientianePopulation7,123,205 (2019)
Capital cityVientianeCurrencyKip (₭) (LAK) 
Major citiesVientiane, Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Pakse, Si Phan DonTime zoneUTC+7 (ICT)
Flag
125px-Flag_of_Laos.svg.pngCalling Code+856
State Seal
85px-Emblem_of_Laos.svg.pngContinentSoutheastern Asia
UNESCO World Heritage Sites Megalithic Jar Sites in Xiengkhuang – Plain of Jars (2019)
Town of Luang Prabang (1995)
Vat Phou and Associated Ancient Settlements within the Champasak Cultural Landscape (2001)       
Temperature16 °C - 34 °C (i.e. 61 °F - 93 °F)
Traditional festivalsPi Mai(Lao New Year), Boun Suang Heua (Boat Racing Festival), Lai Heua Fai (Fire Boat Festival)Mejor River
Mekong River


Best Time to Visit

The best time to travel to Laos is from October to April. The weather in this country always keeps warm and dry all year round, although the annual temperature in the mountain areas are usually much lower than cities. These months are also the peak traveling season, so you can expect bigger crowds and surging prices.

April and May are the hottest months, with temperatures as high as 104°F (40°FC). During this time, the humidity will also be very uncomfortable.

Lao's rainy season starts from late May to October. It's still a relatively pleasant time for travelling. Rain usually come and go very fast, multi-times a day. Waterfall get heavier, wildlife gets more active and more clear air. Not to mention, there are fewer tourists.

Best Activities in Laos

Take a bicycle around Vientiane

Vientiane is a quiet and laid-back capital of Laos. Rent a motorbike or a bicycle and get around the city. There are a few temples worth checking out, such as the golden Pha That Luang, and the Wat Si Saket.

Visit UNESCO World Heritage Site in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is one of the most famous UNESCO World Heritage site in north Laos. This important charming town ranks very high, almost the must-see destination, in visitors' bucket list.

It features former royal palaces and more than 30 temples, ancient French colonial buildings and beautiful natural sites.

Early in every morning, attend the ceremony of alms to orange-robed monks, after that,  enjoy a leisure breakfast in lovely local cafe, and spend time exploring ancient buildings.

Explore Tranquil Mountains and Rivers in Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng is a charming mountainous town, located about four hours bus ride north of the capital. It 's particular popular with backpackers who come to enjoy the rural beauty.

This small, scenic town is surrounded by mountains, rivers, caves, limestone cliffs and rice fields, offering a long list of interesting attractions. The Nam Song River is where you can enjoy the infamous "tubing" rides – a very popular event in Vang Vieng.

Must-see & Famous Attractions

  • Luang Prabang - well-preserved architecture that blends traditional Laos and French colonial styles

  • That Luang (the Great Stupa) - the most sacred monument in the country and is even on Laos' official seal

  • Wat Sisaket - 10,000 Buddha sculptures of varying sizes and styles.

  • Bolaven Plateau - trekking and biking trails through rural Laos

  • Bokeo - home to around 30 ethnic groups who still preserve their traditional lifestyles and culture

  • Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan) - huge 40-metre-long reclining Buddha image

  • The Plain of Jars - the most distinctive and enigmatic of all Laos' attractions

  • Vat Phou - ancient Khmer temple complex which honored by UNESCO World Heritage site

  • That Ing Hang Stupa - The 16th-century tower is believed to house a bone of Buddha.

  • Huay Xai - the border between Laos and Thailand where you can cross from one country to the other.

  • Bokeo Nature Reserve - conservation for black-cheeked gibbons, give you a bird's eye view of the forest canopy and varies jungle activities

  • Nong Khiaw - amazing trekking and hiking opportunities

  • Tham Kong Lo(Kong Lo Cave) - a  6.5 kilometers long cave in Phu Hin Bun National Park

  • Luang Namtha - go trekking or biking into the surrounding mountains and visit the villages of the ethnic hill tribes in Laos.

  • Phonsavan(Hills of Paradise) - see real life Lao cowboys here who dress in Stetsons and rear cattle on the lush plains

How Many Days to Stay & Sample Itinerary

In-Depth Laos Tour
10 days Luang Prabang - Phonsavanh - Vientiane - Pakse - Khong Island - 4000 Islands
10 days | From $ 1599
3 reviews
Laos: Classic Tour via the Rivers
7 days Houay Xai - Pakbeng - Luang Prabang - Vientiane
7 days | From $ 2599
2 reviews
Laos Escape
8 days Luang Prabang - Nong Khiaw
8 days | From $ 1599
1 review
Essential Laos
7 days Luang Prabang - Phosavanh - Vientiane
8 days | From $ 1699
2 reviews
Timeless Laos with Vang Vieng Adventure
8 days Luang Prabang - Phosavanh - Vang Vieng - Vientiane
8 days | From $ 1069
4 reviews
Laos Impression: Vientiane & Luang Prabang
5 days Vientiane - Luang Prabang
5 days | From $ 999
6 reviews
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