On my way of participating in Multi countries Asia tours, I fell in love with Laos. The country itself offers tourists with splendid untouched nature and a long interesting culture. Laos serves as a perfect location for various traveling experiences. You can ride on a boat along the Mekong River, trekking through the untouched forest, explore natural caves and grand waterfalls or admire beautiful pagodas. There are so many different things to try in Laos no matter what you prefer, so check out the list of top things to do in Laos below to plan your trip here.
Best Things to Do in Northern Laos
Explore the Bokeo Nature Preserve
The Bokeo nature preserve locates in Bokeo province, Northwest of Laos. In this special preservation site, the key feature that attracts hundreds of visitors every month is the herd of Black-cheeked gibbons – an endangered kind of animal like a monkey, with long arms and no tail. With the Gibbon Experience complex opened in 2007, tourists will have the chance to see elusive animals, hike through the jungle, visit series of 40-meter-tall treehouses and fly above the forest on zip lines.
The purpose of the project is not only to develop tourism but also to conserve the forest and endangered animals from poaching, destructive agriculture, and logging. This is done by donating profits to educational projects and creating jobs for locals.
Visit the Heart of Northern Laos – Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang is the name of a province and its capital city in the center North of Laos. UNESCO listed the city as a World Heritage site because of the beauty of traditional Laos, European colonial and modern architectures.
Luang Prabang is a perfect destination to unwind your mind and nurture your imagination with Laos distinct cultural gems. Feel free to choose from a variety of joyful activities to explore the city that was once the royal capital of an ancient Kingdom name Lane Xang. You can take a boat tour along the Mekong river, ride a bike out of the city center to find pristine Kuang Si or Tad Sae waterfalls or explore the tasty local cuisine. We also highly recommend visiting elaborate pagodas and temples here, such as the Wat Long Khoun or Wat Wisunarat to gaze upon the unique architecture of Laos religious monuments.
Go on an Adventure to the Mysterious Plain of Jars
In Xiang Khuang Province in northeastern Laos, there are hundreds of square kilometers of upland valleys scattered with numerous stone jars, creating such an interesting site. There are so many mysterious things about those megalithic jars. First, they are really ancient, with the oldest one date from 500 BC. Second, nobody knows exactly about the origin of the stone vessels and the people who created them. Some believed that it was the traveling Indian tribes that made these jars more than twenty centuries ago. And lastly, there is not enough evidence to show what the ancient people used them for. The most popular theory is that they were made for burial rituals, which makes this archaeological site even more thrilling!
Tourists are advised to explore the site with guided tours as nearby unestablished routes could contain unexploded ordnances.
Sightseeing at the Beautiful Tad Ka Waterfall
In Xieng Khouang province, near Ban Tajok, there is an excellent destination for travelers who like to explore the nature of Laos in an “off the beaten track” way. Tad Ka waterfall is a multi-tiers splendid waterfall that has not been exploited much. The path to get here is not that easy and does require you to hitchhike down some difficult roads. But the scenery along the way really offers much in return. The trails are filled with untouched lush green jungle and absolutely no crowds of tourists. It is definitely a pleasant experience for those who seek for an adventurous time in nature.
Things to Do in Central Laos
Take a Ride into the Wilderness of Phu Hin Bun
Phu Hin Bun National Protected Area, a travel destination in Central Laos that is famous for dreamy turquoise streams, prolific forests and striking limestone cliffs. The perfect picturesque scenery is guaranteed to take your breath away on just a day trip.
With well-kept rainforests, the natural park is home to many endangered and rare animals like tigers, deer, and elephants. It is also the home of the self-sufficient Laotian villagers, a good place to get a taste of authentic rural life in Laos. Unlike in big touristic destinations, people here still maintain their original lifestyle. grow their own food and build their own home from natural materials.
Visitors to Phu Hin Bun should not miss the Khoun Khong Leng Lake – a mesmerizing lagoon with clear turquoise water. A cruise along the underground part of the Hin Boun River with huge caves full of impressive formations of stalactites and stalagmites is also available. With these magnificent sceneries, a trip to Phu Hin Bun National Protected Area will always be an unforgettable sweet memory in your mind.
Pray at the Sacred Ing Hang Stupa
Also known as That Ing Hang, the Ing Hang stupa is located in Ban That, Savannakhet. The story about the stupa’s origin is that Buddha once visited the place and took a rest under the Hang tree. That is why the stupa’s name literally means “leaning on a Hang tree”. The monument was built more than 400 years ago and is registered as a National Treasure. That Ing Hang is considered a very sacred religious site because it is believed that a relic of the Buddha’s spine is kept here.
Like other religious sites, tourists must wear appropriate clothes to show respect. Women are required to wear Lao traditional skirts, which are offered next to the entrance. It is quite easy to get here from Savannakhet, you only need a 30-minute-ride with a tuk-tuk or a motorcycle.
Sail Through the Long Kong Lor Cave
One of the most incredible caves in all of Southeast Asia, Kong Lor offers tourists with a memorable ride along the 7,5 km part of the Hinbun river that runs under a mountain. The widest part of the cave can reach 100 meters and the ceiling of the cave can be as tall as 50 meters. With various limestone formations that look magical and unreal, visitors are free to let their imaginations run wild. The scenery outside the cave is just as astonishing with soaring karst mountains and tall trees proliferating.
You should choose a pair of shoes that you don’t mind getting us. Bring a flashlight or use your smartphone to see more clearly and wear your swimwear underneath your clothes to relax in the river.
Best Activities to Do in Southern Laos
Visit Laotian’s Angkor – Wat Phou
For most top famous tourist destinations, loads of tourists could be something irritating, especially for an ancient historical site where the peaceful atmosphere of the lost world is preferred. Lucky for us, Wat Phou is the place to go with no worry about the crowds of people. Once a thriving center along the Mekong River built by the Khmer, Wat Phou shares the same architectural style as the famous Angkor Wat. Although time has left much damage on the complex, visitors can still see the grand dimensions of Wat Phou. The complex creates a three-level cascade on a hillside with a total area of more than 39,000 ha. Wat Phou possesses some temples that are very well preserved, along with pristine carvings all over the complex.
If you have had the chance to see Angkor Wat or Sukhothai in person, Wat Phou would not be as majestic as them. But on the other hand, it is still a highly recommended site thanks to its peacefulness.
Waterfall and River Dolphin Watching in 4000 River Islands
As the most well-known destination in southern Laos, visiting 4000 islands in the Mekong River is a must-do in Laos. Groups and groups of tiny dunes and big islands create a distinct scene for the region. The most famous spot is Don Dhet, where travelers can experience a vacation without much worry about the cost. With accommodation price starting from $3 a night, Don Dhet is the paradise for backpackers and budget travelers. After a night in Don Dhet, head over to the next island Don Khone, which can be accessed by passing a railroad bridge. Here, visitors can see the splendid Li Phi Falls (also known as Tat Somphamit Waterfalls) or take a boat tour to watch river dolphins. Come quick and claim your spot before the destination becomes more crowded.