10 things to do absolutely in Laos

Traveling to Asian countries is an experience hard to describe: with a landscape more magical than one might imagine, it was really hard to choose just 10 things to do in Laos among the many experiences this country has to offer. From magnificent landscapes to street sights, everything in Laos must be seen.

Enjoy the Kuang Si waterfalls

Kuang if falls

Hidden in north-central Laos, the Kuang Si waterfalls are located about 45 minutes from Luang Prabang, the neighboring town accessible by plane, bus, car and even by motorbike if you have a permit.

What is astounding about these waterfalls is that, although they are wonderful, the area is not so touristy so you can enjoy the view in peace. Tourists are asked for a participation of 1 and 1.50 € to enter the park, which helps the inhabitants to keep the green spaces clean and in perfect condition.

You will come across some waterfalls and small ponds in which you can take a dip and continue your way to the top. You don’t really need a guide for this natural attraction, but watch your feet, it’s rocky and muddy trails up there.

The Vat Phou World Heritage Site

For those inclined to visit spiritual places, the temple of Vat Phou is the remains of a 5th century complex. You will find many small temples, some still in operation today, so it won’t be hard to find Buddhists celebrating their rituals at Vat Phou.

On the full moon of the 3rd lunar month (usually in February) you will be able to enjoy one of their traditional festivals: on this date you will come across dozens of Buddhist celebrations, there are also at the 10th month, on Makha Bucha Day which is the second most important festival in Laos, you will see thousands of locals celebrating it with incense, candles and flowers.

The site is considered part of the world heritage thanks to its extremely old structures and the harmony between the green spaces and the temples.

Meet Tat Kuang Si Park Bear Rescue Center

Nowadays, more and more people prefer to go to rescue centers than to zoos to protest against the caging of animals. This is why the Bear Rescue Center is one of the popular activities in the country.

Many exotic animals native to the region are held against their will, trained, sold to circuses or abused by humans for entertainment or medical reasons. Bear Bear Rescue Center is an initiative of Free The Bears, an Australian organization that fights for bear rights.

In this park you will find dozens of bears rescued from hunters and slavers, who now lead happy and healthy lives at the center. Located about 30 km south of central Luang Prabang.

We recommend that you arrive at the center between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to see how the bears are being fed. Entrance costs between € 1 and € 1.50, and all the money they receive is used to pay for bear food and workers’ wages.

You have to go to Bokeo Province

When asked what to do in Laos, this province comes up in everyone’s mouth.

Although it is the smallest province with only 6,200 square meters, Bokeo is recognized as the most populous, home to dozens of fascinating temples and many attractions such as old trading ships, stunning landscapes, and of course, sightseeing. the gibbon center and the opportunity to see the small chimpanzees up close.

The inhabitants are warm and welcoming, they will lead you through the jungle and the small villages around. Also, are you really going to turn down the possibility of hiking, kayaking and biking in one place?

Travel to Laos across the Mekong

Flowing through Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia before ending in Ho Chi Minh, the Mekong River is one of the coolest ways to cross villages. As you go from village to village, you will witness the local way of life.

With prices ranging from € 4.50 to € 25, you can choose from high-end and luxury tour operators offering boats of different sizes, with up to 30 passengers per trip. The duration will depend on your choice, ranging from a few hours to four days. If you prefer to travel with a group of friends, do not hesitate to ask for the luxury package which includes VIP service and a private boat.

Visit the elephant village sanctuary

The Elephant Village Sanctuary is a place where you can find dozens of elephants that have been rescued from abusive labor and dangerous places.

In this sanctuary you will have the opportunity to interact with elephants that have been rehabilitated and are now forming new families in the jungle. You will have the opportunity to touch them, see them in the wild, and learn how the sanctuary saves and supports them.

This visit takes at least one day, which generally lasts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The more expensive packages include lunch and access to the VIP pools after the tours. The standard price for this attraction is € 115, which is a higher budget than the other activities presented above. However, the experience is unique and the money is reinvested in the sanctuary.

Go visit the Buddha Park

Monks in Laos

Here is an outing for those with a spiritual side and for those who like to take breathtaking photos. Buddha Park in Laos is a spacious park with small lakes and green spaces home to more than 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues, some over 130 meters high.

The entrance ticket is more than affordable at € 0.90, and you can schedule around an hour to cross it entirely. If you want to take the best photos of each statue, be aware that you will have to walk a lot in the sun. With temperatures over 30 ° C, you’ll want to finish quickly and rest in the shade.

A little history about this park

Originally called “Xieng Khuan”, which translates to “Spirit City”, the park was built in 1958 by Luang Pu, a popular shaman who wanted to integrate the traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. While not exactly a temple, it has an interesting vibe and aura.

Visit the Mystics Pak Ou Caves

Once you’ve spent a few days in Luang Prabang and on the Mekong River, we recommend a short stop at the Pak Ou Caves. Set in a limestone cliff and filled with images and statues of Buddha, this place harbors a mystical aura. You will need a small backpack and comfortable shoes to fully enjoy this hike.

Tourists feel a bit like Indiana Jones, just light a torch and stroll through dark and damp hallways to discover thousands of hidden statutes. These caves are considered to be small temples and many Buddhists in Laos come to pray every day and show their respect with the help of meditations and incense.

The statutes of Buddha are made of rock and wood, most of them being attached to the structure of the caves. History says that villagers in the surrounding area regularly made new Buddha statues for their homes and left the old ones in the caves to rest for eternity.

If you are visiting Pak Ou Caves as part of a Mekong River tour, you can take a small boat and guide to visit the caves. The boat will cost between € 3.50 and € 6 and depending on where you are, it can take between 45 minutes and an hour. Entrance to the caves costs 0.90 €, which is still a very affordable activity.

Climb Phousi Hill

Laos is full of sacred places and Phousi Hill, is located in the heart of Luang Prabang. This place would be the home of Naga, a human deity of the serpent with Buddhist and Hindu beliefs.

The upper temple, built in 1804, rests at the top of a climb of 328 steps. Entrance costs € 1.70, a tourist guide will cost you the same. You can hike easily and take great photos.

Once you reach the top, you will not only be captivated by the temple, but also by the breathtaking panorama of Luang Prabang from the clouds. The summit will feel like an endless walk, but you will be rewarded with one of the best views in Laos.

Shop at Luang Prabang Night Market

In another style, you can spend an afternoon shopping and buying some souvenirs for your friends and family at the Luang Prabang Night Market.

On the road to Sisavangvong after 5 p.m., you will see dozens of small tents lit with small lamps. They are filled with traders, hill tribes, and although there are a lot of tourists, it is quite pleasant.

Here you will find exclusive souvenirs from Laos, Buddha figurines to take home, t-shirts, fashion accessories, traditional souvenirs, paper lanterns and even ceramics.

The prices are not high, but some sellers will try to overestimate things for tourists a bit. Our recommendation for a group is to go with a tour guide to negotiate better deals. If you are going alone, feel free to negotiate yourself, just be gentle enough and explain that you are about to leave the country and try to spend the little money you have left.

This market is also a place where you can taste great local food, coffee and drinks. However, sometimes with special religious celebrations, alcoholic beverages are prohibited.

Laos is a mythical country that deserves at least a one week trip. If you have the chance and the money to come back or stay longer, don’t hesitate.

Every corner is loaded with history and interesting facts, but beware of the weather! It is essential to have an umbrella or poncho and never leave your sunscreen at home. Always wear comfortable clothes and always have water with you.

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