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  • Writer's pictureIne Vandenwyngaert

Laos Travel: 10 Beautiful Places To Visit

Laos is a landlocked country situated in the center of Southeast Asia. It’s a hidden gem compared to its more popular neighbors of Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. But with its remote lush landscapes, laid-back atmosphere, and rich cultural diversity, Laos stands out as a unique destination with an enchanting charm like no other. We spent a month traveling around the country and absolutely loved it. In this travel guide, we share 10 beautiful places to visit in Laos as well as a map with great places to stay, eat, and drink.


thakhek loop laos
Thakhek Loop

 

Check out our video about Laos to see these fascinating places to visit through our camera!




Places To Visit In Laos



10. Vientiane


At number 10 we have Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, which is located on the banks of the Mekong River. Unlike the usual hustle and bustle of other capital cities, Vientiane boasts a more relaxed and slower-paced experience. You can stroll through the streets, savor the local cuisine at the night market, and marvel at the city’s beautiful temples. Make sure to visit Wat Si Saket, the oldest Buddhist temple in the city. Another highlight is Patuxai Monument, also known as the Victory Gate. And if you have more time, head to the Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan) just outside the city. Vientiane is a great jumping off point for visiting the rest of Laos, but we don’t recommend spending too much time here! 


  • Where we stayed: Sailomyen Hostel ($) - basic but clean, modern, and comfy rooms to choose from, both private rooms and dorms, breakfast was included



9. Bolaven Plateau


Located in southern Laos, the Bolaven Plateau sits on a volcanic tableland. Known for its beautiful natural landscapes, this destination is home to a number of majestic waterfalls, Tad Fane, Tad Yuang and E-TU among the most beautiful ones. In fact, Tad Fane is the highest waterfall in the country with 120m or 394ft. But the area is also famous for its authentic villages and lush coffee plantations, where you can learn about the coffee-making process and indulge in a freshly brewed cup. The easiest way to explore this plateau is by motorbike loop or guided tour from the city of Pakse, which sits just to the west.


  • Where we stayed: ANOU Hostel ($) - new and clean dorms and private rooms with comfy beds


tad fane bolaven plateau laos
Tad Fane waterfall


8. Luang Namtha & Nam Ha National Protected Area


Located in the Luang Namtha province of Laos, Nam Ha National Protected Area is the perfect destination for adventurers and nature enthusiasts. Sprawling across an area of about 2,224 square kilometers, this park is a treasure of biodiversity. Here, you can find lush forests, exotic wildlife, and traditional tribal communities. The best way to experience this area is by trekking, kayaking, or mountain biking. We opted for a guided day hike through the dense jungle, which was a little over 15 kilometers and had 975 meters of elevation gain. It was a challenging hike, especially with the humidity, but we enjoyed all of the lush tropical plants along the way. We stopped at a local Khmu village for lunch.



Nam Ha Khmu village laos
Khmu village in Nam Ha

7. Muang Ngoi


Muang Ngoi is a sleepy little village located in the north of Laos. Tucked in a peaceful valley between lush green mountains, this town feels remote and isolated. There are only a few gravel streets with a dozen guesthouses and restaurants. As you would expect, most travelers come to relax and enjoy the riverside setting. But we also recommend taking the opportunity to explore the surrounding area. You can hike to three nearby local villages (Ban Na, Huay Sen, and Huay Bo), kayak down the river, or visit the nearby waterfall (Tad Mook). As this town is mainly accessible by boat, there is no quieter place than Muang Ngoi. Stay a few days here to fully embrace the slow pace of life. 


  • Where we stayed: Sunset Bungalows & GH - riverside bungalows with large comfy bed and delicious breakfast (paid), owner was very friendly


6. Nam Kan National Park (Gibbon Experience)


Nam Kan National Park is located in western Laos near the border of Thailand and Myanmar. With 1,360 square kilometers of pristine forest, this park is home to diverse wildlife and plant species. What makes Nam Kan National Park different is the unique way that you explore it. The Gibbon Experience, a world-renowned eco-tourism initiative within the park, gives travelers the chance to zipline above the jungle canopy, observe wild gibbons in their natural habitat, and sleep in uniquely designed treehouses. This, all while contributing to the local community and forest conservation efforts. We embarked on a 3-day journey, starting in the town of Huay Xai. We have a full video all about this wild experience that you can find on our channel as well.






5. Si Phan Don (the 4,000 Islands)


The 4,000 islands (Si Phan Don in Lao language) is an archipelago in the south of Laos right next to the border of Cambodia. It’s a unique landscape, consisting of countless land patches scattered throughout the Mekong River, most of which are too small to be inhabited. The most famous islands are Don Det and Don Khon. While Don Det is a backpacker’s paradise known for its affordable bungalows and captivating sunsets, Don Khon boasts a number of waterfalls (Li Phi & Tad Khone). No matter which island you decide to stay on, you can visit both of them since they’re connected by a French Colonial Bridge. Both islands offer a laid-back vibe and have a number of superb restaurants.


  • Where we stayed: Moon by night (Don Det) - one of the only bungalows with AC, also comfy beds and a nice helpful owner

don det laos
Don Det landscapes

4. Thakhek Loop & Kong Lor Cave


Stretching over two provinces (Khammouane & Bolikhamxay Province), the Thakhek Loop is one of the most authentic areas to explore. It’s not exactly a destination, but rather a scenic motorbike loop that starts and ends in the city of Thakhek. This 450 km or 280 mile journey features steep karst mountains, lush forests, refreshing springs, and numerous caves. The loop also passes through remote villages, providing a glimpse into authentic Lao culture. The main highlights include the majestic Kong Lor river cave, the Dragon Cave viewpoint, the Cool Springs, and The Rock limestone forest, where you can zipline over deep valleys. We have another full video about this loop where you can find more specific details on how to do it.


  • Where we stayed: Inthira Thakhek - A bit more upscale, elegant rooms in a very old building, lovely comfy bed and good shower, breakfast included



cool springs thakhek laos
Landscape on the way to the Cool Springs


3. Vang Vieng


Vang Vieng is a small town located in the heart of Laos. Situated on the banks of the Nam Song River and surrounded by stunning limestone mountains, the town is renowned for its unparalleled views and range of adventures to choose from. You can indulge in thrilling activities like tubing or kayaking down the river, exploring the vast cave systems, hiking up to one of the steep viewpoints, or flying in a hot air balloon to take in the stunning vistas from above. One of our favorite things to do was to explore the beautiful countryside and attractions by motorbike. There are a few different Blue Lagoons on the outskirts of town that offer relaxation after a day of adventures.



vang vieng laos
Vang Vieng as seen from a hot air balloon


2. Nong Khiaw


The charming town of Nong Khiaw is situated on the banks of the Nam Ou River in the jagged northern region of Laos. Known for its stunning mountain scenery and laid-back atmosphere, Nong Khiaw is rapidly gaining a name for itself as one of the best places to visit in the country. There are tons of hiking and outdoor opportunities here, whether you like to soak in the sunset views from the Som Nang Viewpoint, hike the challenging Pha Daeng Peak, kayak down the river, or discover the hidden caves and surrounding countryside. With buses running from Luang Prabang multiple times per day, it’s easy to get here as well. Check out more details on things to do in this area in our other full video about Nong Khiaw.


  • Where we stayed: Meexok River View ($) - new riverside accommodation a bit outside the center - beds were on the harder side but the room was bright and modern




nong khiaw laos
Nong Khiaw view from Som Nang Viewpoint


1. Luang Prabang


Finally, we have one of our favorite destinations in all of Southeast Asia. Luang Prabang is located in northern Laos at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. The old town is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site that blends incredible natural beauty with historical charm and a rich cultural heritage. This is where most of the attractions are located, including the night market, the Royal Palace, Haw Pha Bang Temple, Mount Phousi viewpoint, and the streets filled with well-preserved architecture. But the best thing to do in our opinion is to venture beyond the old town. Take a sunset cruise on the river, learn how to harvest rice at the Living Land Farm, or marvel at the cascading Kuang Si Waterfalls.



  • Where we stayed:  Villa Phathana Royal View Hotel ($) - accommodation right in the heart of the city, next to the Royal Palace! Beds were comfy and rooms spacious, breakfast was included



phousi hill sunset luang prabang laos
Sunset from Phousi Hill


Map Laos


Find all the places to go, eat, drink, and stay in Laos on Google Maps. To follow and save the list, do the following:

  1. Tap on the link to open it (click button below)

  2. Tap Follow. This list will now be added to the group of lists you follow.

  3. Optional: To unfollow a list someone shared with you, tap the list Saved.

If you follow the list we made, all our saved places of Cambodia will show up in Your Places. The places will also appear as suggested locations in Google Maps.



map laos places to visit


 

Use These Websites To Save Money On Your Trip To Laos



 

Are you having a hard time planning your trip to Laos? Get our Interactive Travel Planner to keep it all organized.


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Need more travel inspiration? Check out our other destinations and articles about Laos:

World Wild Hearts

Hi! We are Ine & Zac. An international travel couple from Belgium and the US. We created World Wild Hearts to inspire new adventures and help you plan your next trip. Use these tips, stories, and guides to inspire your next adventure of a lifetime!

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