Experience tranquility in the rugged beauty of enchanting Laos
Intriguing landscapes and charming culture are waiting for you to explore, and they’re just part of what makes a Laos holiday so unique.
Travel to Laos and plunge yourself into a captivating land with a pervasive sense of magic. It’s there waiting for you to uncover in the beauty of its mountainous coffee plantations, in the mighty Mekong river, and in the legends of the mysterious archaeology-strewn plains.
Explore charming hilltop towns where monks clad in saffron robes still walk the streets, collecting alms as they’ve done for centuries. Observe how French architecture still mingles with local styles, a reminder of the country’s colonial past and strikingly at odds with the signs of Buddhism all around you. The charms of this truly rewarding country and its gentle people will quickly beguile you on your unforgettable Laos holiday.
Surrounded by mountainous jungle, Luang Prabang was built where the Mekong and Khan rivers meet. Its languid atmosphere makes this charming town remarkably relaxing. The faded grandeur of its colonial buildings contrast photogenically with gold-encrusted temples, best seen on foot or by bike in this virtually car-free place. With the heady aroma of exotic flowers, the vivid saffron of the monks' robes as they perform their ancient alms ceremony, and the sounds of the bustling Phousi market, it's an unforgettable feast for the senses.
Plain of Jars
High up on the Xieng Khouang Plateau you'll find a puzzling landscape dotted with thousands of megalithic stone jars. The Plain of Jars, as it's known, is all that's left of a mysterious ancient civilisation thought to date 3,000 years back to the Iron Age, and the 2,500 or so surviving jars are thought likely to be part of prehistoric funerary traditions. Nobody really knows what they were for, however, so they're an abundant source of local legend.
No longer just a backpackers' haunt, Vang Vieng is becoming popular with travellers of all ages, who come to experience the area's outstanding beauty. The Nam Song River, set against the serene limestone karsts that Vang Vieng is famed for, makes for uniquely dramatic scenery. Explore it sedately with a river cruise, or up the adrenaline with activities such as ziplining and kayaking.
Dating back to the 11th century, the delightful capital of Laos was reincarnated by the French after lying in ruins for centuries. These days, its small-town vibe and tranquil temples make it an enjoyable starting point for a Laos holiday. Its colonial buildings have seen better days, but that's all part of the charm - and they're a great introduction to the legacy of the French. The sun setting over the Mekong River is an unmissable sight, made even better with a beer Lao in hand.
The gateway to some of the most memorable experiences in Southern Laos, Pakse is a sleepy town nestled by the Mekong River. Before you venture off to explore the waterfalls and coffee plantations of the nearby Bolaven Plateau, leave some time to relax in Pakse with a saunter around its lively market followed by a riverside cocktail.
Look out for the famously shy Irrawaddy dolphin when you take a relaxed cruise through the renowned 4,000 Islands area of southern Laos. When you make dry land, soak up the peaceful atmosphere with a good book on a breeze-rocked hammock before climbing on a bike to explore the tranquility of the area's three main islands.
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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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