Laos Travel Itinerary: 5 Things You Can’t Miss

April 16, 2020

Laos boasts a wealth of dramatic mountainous scenery, ancient religious artifacts, unique Frech colonial architecture, and breath-taking World Heritage Sites.

With so much to see and do, those traveling to the country for a short stay are advised to plan their Laos travel itinerary well in advance, to ensure they don’t miss out on any of the top attractions during their stay.

Before departure, foreign visitors are also advised to ensure they meet the visa requirements for their nationality and organize a travel document for Laos in advance, if necessary.

This process has been significantly streamlined with the introduction of the Laos electronic visa, which eliminates the need to queue at the border. Apply here.

Highlights of Laos

If you’re planning a long stay in Southeast Asia, you may want to consider a  2-week Laos holiday plan, which will allow you to explore everything the country has to offer, including the town of Vang Vieng and its striking limestone caves, the impressive Kuang Si waterfall, and the gorgeous Tham Poukham blue lagoon.

However, if you’re only planning a short trip to Laos, you should make sure to include the following experiences on your itinerary.

Visit Vientiane, the Capital of Laos

The majority of tourists who travel to Laos will begin their journey in Vientiane, Laos’ capital, located on the banks of the Mekong River close to the border with Thailand. The broad, tree-lined boulevards make for many pleasant strolls, and there are a number of striking temples and shrines to visit in the city.

These include the golden Buddhist temple, Pha That Luang, which dates back to the 

16th century, and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Phra Kaew, now a museum containing historic Lao objects.

Take a Mekong River Cruise

Laos is often considered one of the best places to relax in Southeast Asia, and this is never more evident than when taking a soothing cruise on the Mekong, the 12th largest river in the world.

Most Laos boat cruises start in the town of Huay-Xai, close to the Thai border, and operate on a 2-day itinerary, which will take you to the Lao city of Luang Prabang. If you have longer to spend in the region, consider taking a cruise further downriver into neighboring countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia.

Sample the Fantastic Food in Laos

One of the best reasons to visit Laos is undoubtedly the variety of Lao cuisine available in the country. Similar to Thai food, some of the most popular dishes in Laos include green papaya salad, sticky rice, and laab, a local staple made from minced meat combined with herbs typical of local cuisine, such as paedek, farang, dill, and coriander. 

Much of Lao cuisine is prepared with freshly foraged vegetables such as mushrooms and bamboo. if you are brave you may be tempted to try some of the more adventurous delicacies such as pickled baby crabs, ant larvae, grasshoppers, and caterpillars.

Explore the World Heritage Sites

Although it doesn’t boast as many UNESCO-certified monuments as neighboring Vietnam, there are 3 incredible designated world heritage sites in Myanmar that are all well worth visiting during your stay. 

The city of Luang Prabang was declared a UNESCO site in 1995 for the incredibly well-preserved architecture across the region, including the French-colonial Royal Palace Museum and a huge number of Buddhist monasteries and temples.

Located in southern Laos, the Ancient Settlements within the Champasak Cultural Landscape are an arranged geometric pattern of temples, shrines, and water features that extend over 10 square kilometers and date back at least 1,000 years.

Finally, don’t travel to Laos without visiting the Megalithic Jars of Xiengkhuang, also known as ‘The Plain of Jars’. Located close to Luang Prabang, this World Heritage Site is made up of over 2,100 large tubular-shaped stone jars that date back to the Iron Age, and are thought to have been used for funerary practices. 

Trek through North Laos

Laos is also a great place for a solo vacation, and those looking for a relaxing escape to natural surroundings should consider trekking one of the routes through northern Laos.

Hikes in Laos typically last between 1-5 days and can take in a variety of levels of difficulty. If you are interested in visiting some of the traditional hill tribes in Laos and discovering their unique culture, consider booking a hiking tour from either Luang Prabang or Vang Vieng.

Author Bio: Susan Noel is an experienced content writer. She is associated with many renowned travel blogs as a guest author where she shares her valuable travel tips with the audience.