Laos things to do
flickr image by Geographikan

Laos things to do

Floating the Mekong

Floating the Mekong

flickr image by loupiote (Old Skool) pro

Take a leisurely 20 hour slow boat down the Mekong, kick back your feet and just enjoy the ride. The deeper into Laos you travelled the higher the hills began to seem. Jagged cliffs and overhangs loom on the banks of the raging river, carved from thousands of years of river erosion. Deep caves within the cliffs serve as housing and storage for the locals, including temples and shrines that are built firmly into the side of the rocks.

Tubing in Vang Vieng

Tubing in Vang Vieng

flickr image by oohlarock

Head to a section of the river outside Vang Vieng, where a variety of massive handmade water slides, zip lines, and rope swings awaiting the most courageous of traveller. At night enjoy one of the many clubs with DJs fueling late night dance parties that rage well into the morning hours.Vang Viang, is a notoriously rowdy town; specialising in late night parties, dance clubs, and tubing.

Collecting Tithe in Luang Prabrang

Pop out of bed a 6 am to catch the taking of alms by monks from the local temple that is perched high above the city. The bells of the temple  chime as a procession of saffron-clad monks silently accept donations from the crowds lining every major street The movement of the mild mannered monks is reserved and deliberate, and their vows limit their level of verbal communication with others and any sort of contact with women.


Hire a local guide to explore the many caves carved into the hills by the ragingrivers. Stop through Vang Viang to trek up steep hills to discover the deep caverns, rarely explored by tourists. Or poke your head inside the Pak Ou Caves outside Luang Prabang and discover the reverence of a cave strewn with thousands of gold Buddhas.


Laos plantation

flickr image by Khryselakatos

Travel the countryside in search of plantations of all varieties. Have a rich cup of java or tea along a soothing stream in a lovely colonial style villa or pick ripe mangos and pineapples from the various farms found in the rural outskirts of essentially every town or city. You can reach many of these sites through local buses or by motorbike.

Motor Biking the Bolvanen Plateau

On top of this ring of hillsides is a massive plateau, called the Bolaven Plateau, the home to many smaller villages, magnificent waterfalls, and coffee plantations. Feel the warm tropical air hit your face as you create your own adventure. With a map of the plateau in hand, head off on a motorbike tour of the Lao countryside, staying remote villages and discovering the unknown.


Water falls laos

flickr image by merah_pics

Rent a motorbike to explore the luscious green hills found in the lush countryside of Laos. The extensive river system,  high rainfalls, and steep cliffs create some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the world.  Wonder at the  rushing waters of Tad Saepha outside Ban Mai or check out the highest volume of flowing water at  Khone Phapeng in the Champassak Province.

Discovering Colonial Culture

French colony Laos

flickr image by MSW109

Fancy French restaurants can be found up and down the streets of Vientiane, located inside elaborately designed European buildings. As a former French colony, Laos has adopted many of the subtleties of French culture. Grab a baguette with every meal and venture the French neighbourhoods of the capital city, Vientiane.

Plain of Jars

Join a slew of archaeologists and historians in the pursuit of unravelling one of the biggest mysteries of South East Asian culture. Among the rolling meadows of North Central Laos is evidence of a prehistoric tribe of that is believed to be one of the earliest civilisations in the region. Over sixty sites throughout these fertile grounds are filled to brim with pieces of pottery, crude tools, and ancient burial grounds from a virtually unknown civilization.

Temples in Lauang Prabang

Buddhist temple at Royal Palace in Luang Prabang, Laos

image from from the Wikimedia Commons

As the former capital of Laos, before the communist takeover in 1975, Luang Prabang remains a cultural and religious centre. With over 30 temples throughout the city, their are many opportunities to explore this reverent city. Stick to the major sites if you are in a pinch for time. Come view the two storied Wat Xieng Thong with it’s massive internal columns, situated right where the Mekong and Khan rivers collide. Or swing by Wat Sop to enjoy the marvellous turquoise and gold stupa shooting into the open sky.


Take a walk through the gate memorializing the lives lost fighting the French to gain Lao Independence. The Victory Gate of Vientianne is an essential stop to understand this pivotal point in  history. A walkway lined with palms leads to the grand five towered monument. Each tower represents the five principle of coexistence and mirror the five principles of Buddhism; thoughtful amiability, flexibility, honesty, honour and prosperity

Hmong Market

Hmong Market

flickr image by Steel Wool

Stop through the Hmong Market in Luang Prahbang to enjoy the culture of this remote hill tribe. Purchase traditional hats, clothing, and souvenirs at extremely low prices. Enjoy the richness of Hmong needlework in intricately designed fabrics that features some deep symbolism and utilizes the art of story telling. Joke around with the elderly Hmong women and maybe they’ll cut a deal.

Snack on a Pastry

Delightfully delicate baked pastries are a delicious treat that you would not suspect to be found in South East Asia. Jelly rolls, crepes, and beignets are all delicious treats that you find simply irresistible.  Due to French Colonialism the  country has a tradition of recreating the delicious treats like those found in some of France’s finest bakeries. Wee-Wee!

Tak Lo

Venture to Tak Lo to visit a small rural town right on the river. A grandiose waterfall along one of the many rivers cutting through the countryside. Dine at the tree house restaurant overlooking the main waterfall or take a swim with local children in calm pools of river water.

Si Phan Dan

Si Phan Dan or 4,000 Islands, is actually a wide stretch of the Mekong that has carved thousands of islands out of rock. Cruising across the river one can see hundreds of patches of land and rock, carved  by the powerful river. The main island, is long narrow stretch of land. With the primary road dotted with a number of small hostels, bungalows, and open-air restaurants.

Learn the Craft

The Houey Hong Vocational  Centre provides impoverished women throughout Laos with opportunities to succeed. Open to the public, the centre aspires to teach women traditional Lao crafts which helps the women earn, while also carrying on the rich culture. A simple tour of the facility is available, but, if you’re really looking to dive into things try your hand at a bit of weaving or silk dying.

Take a Walk With the Divine

Buddha Park Laos

flickr image by JεffεrsφΩg

Travel to a large field near the Mekong just outside Vientianne to stroll through a garden of Hindu and Buddhist sculpture that span through the lengths of time. Elaborate, ornate, and peculiar pieces hold their own histories, making each sculpture unique and culturally important. Each statue tells a story, left for you to unravel.

Donate Books

Visiting a developing country such as Laos, it is hard not to give away the small luxuries we often take for granted in the West. However, instead of handing out sweets and small amounts of money (that are usually misused) try giving away a book or two. Stop by Big Brother Mouse in Luang Prahbang to pickup some literature that will encourage, teach, and bring a smiles to the faces of a young boy or girl.

Fly through the Jungle

Shoot through the thick canopy of the Lao jungle, whiz past turquoise lagoons, and rushing waterfalls. Catch a bird’s eye view of the dense wilderness, an untouched paradise teaming with life and beauty. Book a tour in Vientianne, Luang Prabang, and Vang Viang and feel the wind whip at your face as you glide through the forest of a tropical paradise. 

Shooting Range

Gun Fields

Ratattatata! Lao’s violent past, filled with revolution and war, has left behind a large number weapons that are now used as a bit of a tourist attractions. Under the safety of trained professional shooting enthusiasts can take aim with a variety of historical rifles and pistols for a minimal amount of money. 

Date posted: 24th January, 2014

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