Rugged beauty meets ancient traditions
Historic streets, beautiful landscapes and welcoming people are just part of what makes a Laos vacation so unforgettable.
On a Laos vacation, discover a captivating country where age-old traditions continue as they’ve done for centuries. As you’ll find when you wander streets lined with crumbling French architecture, the colonial chapter of Laos’s history has done little to diminish the country’s own way of doing things.
Plunge yourself into Laotian culture by experiencing its many facets, whether it’s drifting down the Mekong through dramatic limestone landscapes, uncovering local legends on a plateau strewn with prehistoric stone jars, or meeting friendly local people over a game of petanque, a national pastime left behind by the French.
At the joining of the Mekong and Khan Rivers, surrounded by the jungle, lies the charming town of Luang Prabang, where golden temples mingle with faded French colonial buildings in what feels like a meeting of cultures. Explore this sleepy town on foot and breathe in the fragrance of exotic flowers as you discover its secrets. Witness local life at Phousi market, and gain an insight into the country's religious history by watching a dawn alms ceremony performed by monks in robes of striking saffron.
Plain of Jars
Very little is known about the ancient civilization that left thousands of megalithic stone jars strewn across the Xieng Khouang Plateau, but local legends more than compensate for the knowledge gaps. It's thought that the jars date back as far as 500 BC, and they were probably prehistoric burial urns. Take a tour with a local guide and discover the colorful tales that bring this mysterious landscape to life.
Once a backpackers' enclave, the appeal of Vang Vieng has widened considerably in recent years thanks to the exceptional beauty of its soaring limestone peaks. Explore the area at your own pace, absorbing the atmosphere on a tranquil Nam Song river cruise, or indulging your sense of adventure by trying out adrenaline-pumping activities such as ziplining.
For a capital city, Vientiane has a surprisingly friendly atmosphere that makes it feel more like a small town. Fading French buildings are a lasting reminder of the colonists who rebuilt Vientiane after it had lain ruined for hundreds of years. After a day spent discovering interesting places like Pha That Luang, take up your station in a riverside bar and sip a cool Beer Lao while you watch the sun go down over the Mekong.
This quiet town by the Mekong River is your base for adventures in Southern Laos, though it's worth setting aside some time to enjoy the town itself; wander round the local market and enjoy a cocktail by the river. Beyond Pakse, the coffee plantations and majestic waterfalls of the Bolaven Plateau are waiting to be explored.
Lose yourself in rural Laos with a languid waterborne foray into the 4,000 Islands of the south, where you might be lucky enough to spot the elusive Irrawaddy dolphin. Hop on a bike to explore the three main islands, and take the opportunity to relax by lying back in a gently swaying hammock to enjoy a good book.
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The Night Market in Luang Prabang
Laos' royal capital, Luang Prabang is home to the region’s most authentic night market, where local hill tribes sell textiles, handmade silver jewellery and delicious regional snacks.
Walk the Plain of Jars
See the mysterious Plain of Jars, steeped in legend, and spend a couple of hours walking between two of the sites.
Cruise the Mekong
Soak up the laid-back charms of the upper Mekong on an overnight slow boat journey from Thailand or cruise for a few hours near the Cambodian border to try and spot the elusive Irrawaddy River Dolphin.
Kayak in Vang Vieng
Kayak amidst the dramatic limestone scenery on the Nam Song River in Vang Vieng, made even more magical by the colours of the setting sun.
Cooking class in Luang Prabang
Learn how to make delicious Lao cuisine in a hands-on cooking class at Tamarind in Luang Prabang.
Cycle Done Khone in the 4,000 Islands
Visit the remote 4,000 Islands region in Southern Laos for untouched beauty and rare flora and fauna, then cycle the quiet lanes amongst crumbling architecture and coconut palms.
Alms ceremony in Luang Prabang
Rise early and join locals on the streets of Luang Prabang offering rice and other alms to the line of hundreds of monks, with saffron robes stretching as far as the eye can see.
Sample coffee on the Bolaven Plateau
Sample Robusta and Arabica coffee straight from the grower at a small organic coffee plantation on the Bolaven Plateau.
A game of Petanque in Luang Prabang
A remnant from the country’s French occupation, Petanque is a national pastime in Laos. Join the locals for a game and make a new friend.
Stay at Kamu Lodge
Stay in a sustainable eco-lodge and learn about traditional activities with your Kamu hosts, trying some of the activities yourself before falling asleep amongst the surrounding tranquillity.
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