Laos is the hidden gem of SEA that many people pass over. It’s less travelled roads are a welcome sight after visiting the bigger cities in Thailand and Vietnam. The quaint city of Luang Prabang is reason enough to purchase a visa, but Laos has many other draws as well. Fulfill your sense of adventure by tackling the Gibbon Experience in Huay Xai, and enjoy the relaxing backpacker hot spots of Vang Vieng and Don Det. Everyone is so nice here you will want to push back your timeline a few weeks just to enjoy their company.
- Luang Prabang – Quaint little town on the Mekong river in northern Laos. An amazing night market shuts down the main street every night, where you can find hundreds of trinkets and cheap buffets. Climb up Mount Phou Si in the middle of town for fantastic sunset views or grab a tuk tuk out of town to explore the spectacular Kuang Si Waterfall. Luang Prabang is also home to tons of Buddhist temples which are fun to explore.
- Si Phan Don – Located all the way down in the southern tip of Laos along the Cambodian border, this collection of islands in the Mekong River is a paradise of waterfalls and backpacker hangouts. Don Det is the main backpacker hub, with countless cheap accommodation and enough chill bars to keep you relaxed for weeks. You can also make easy day trips to see pink Irrawaddy dolphins and down to Don Khon to check out the beaches and swim in the Mekong.
Worth a Trip
- Vang Vieng – A small town along the route from Luang Prabang to Vientiane with a big party atmosphere. The main attraction here is tubing down the Mekong, and getting pulled to shore along the way to try out all of the fun riverside bars all while enjoying amazing views of the countryside. Home to Sakura bar (you will see backpackers wearing shirts from there), it’s the perfect place to have a fun night out then spend the next day relaxing and watching Friends at almost any of the restaurants on the main road.
Just Pass Through
- Huay Xai – One of the main border towns between Thailand and Laos, Huay Xai is also home to the extremely popular Gibbon Experience. Other than that it’s one road with some bars and hostels. Do the experience then head over to Luang Prabang.
- Vientiane – The capital and working hub of Laos, but nothing exciting to do here. Also fairly expensive.
- Pakse – The gateway to Si Phan Don in the south. If you don’t want to take the marathon bus from Vientiane all the way down to Si Phan Don, rent a scooter here and spend the day chasing waterfalls in the Bolaven Plateau. You don’t need to stay here long.
Check out our posts on Laos here!