When you think of Southeast Asia, long sandy beaches and clear blue waters tend to jump to mind. But unlike many of its neighbouring countries, Laos is one of the only landlocked countries in Southeast Asia. Here are our top 5 reasons why you need to visit Laos now.
Meander down the Mekong River
One of the best ways to travel around Laos is by boat along the Mekong River. Not only is it a completely unique experience, you get to take in the beautiful landscape as you go. You can opt to take a fast boat and complete a trip from Huay Xai (on the Thai border) to Luang Prabang in just 6 hours, but the slow boat will enrich you with the best experience. Split the two-day trip up by stopping off at Pakbeng Village, where you can sample the local delicacies like a Pakbeng sandwich. Watching the sun rise over as you quietly meander down the river might be just what the doctor ordered.
Tick a UNESCO World Heritage Site off your bucket list
Laos is home to one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the town of Luang Prabang. A visit to this northern town is an absolute must for anyone visiting the country. It’s renowned for its rich cultural heritage and well-preserved architecture. From shining Buddhist temples to French colonial influenced buildings, Luang Prabang has it all. Stop at one of the many cafes and treat your taste buds to a Laotian coffee or hit up the abundance of sandwich stalls that can be found at the Night Market.
Visit the breathtaking Kuang Si Falls
If a stroll around the town isn’t enough to tickle your fancy, then a 45 minutes tuk-tuk ride can get you to the Kuang Si Falls. The three levelled waterfall boasts a 60m drop and gorgeous turquoise pools, many of which are open to the public for a quick dip. Make sure to respect the “do not enter” signs, as a few of the pools are considered sacred by the local community.
For those looking for a relaxing afternoon activity, you can head down to the riverbank and take in the spectacular views. Small wooden platforms are available for hire along the water’s edge, providing the perfect spot for an afternoon nap, followed by a rejuvenating dip in the water.
Bathe in the Blue Lagoon
Just a short boat ride along the Mekong River can get you from Luang Prabang to the small town of Vang Vieng. Made up of just one straight high street, you might think it doesn’t have much to offer, but boy, are you wrong. Vang Vieng is perfect for both adventure seekers and the chill-out types. The beautiful Blue Lagoon is just a 30-minute scooter ride away, or even less if you opt to hire a tuk-tuk for around £3 per person. Here, you can dive into the blue waters from one of two branches of a conveniently perched tree or take a seat on the makeshift swing.
If you still have the energy for some more activities, you can have a go at the site’s volleyball net, try your hand at rock climbing or hire a dune buggy and explore the idyllic jungle backdrop.
Venture into the Tham Phu Kham Cave
Wait! Vang Vieng has even more to offer. Only 100m away from the gorgeous waters of the Blue Lagoon, you can find the Tham Phu Kham Cave. The cave features numerous Buddhist images, the most famous being the reclining Buddha. It’s a good idea to pack some sturdy shoes with you, as the walk can be quite slippery. You can hire a LED head torch for just £5, and you are all set to venture as deep into the cave as you dare.
Feel inspired to explore all that Laos has to offer? Want to visit all the above places? You’re in luck! Each and every one of our top 5 reasons to visit Laos is part of our Southeast Asia Tours. Check out our 31-day Southeast Asia Circuit, 13-day Thailand & Laos tour or 20-day Vietnam & Cambodia tour. Or get in contact with any questions.