Laos is a country with a long history and has been the scene of important moments in the past. The colonization of the French in the 19th century, or the bombardment by the Americans in the Vietnam War are the most remembered. For this reason, western visitors are not very popular in these areas. This caused it to be a destination very little known by travelers, something that has changed in recent years. Now, many people look for what to see in Laos, because despite lacking great resources, it is still incredibly beautiful, full of friendly and receptive people. Join us at El Viajero Feliz to learn more about this little-explored site.
What to see in Laos: 10 places you cannot miss
The former capital of the country is one of the main sites to see in northern Laos. It is the first destination for those who enter the country through the northern border with Thailand, and what better way than to start this adventure with this historic city.
Luang Prabang is the heart and soul of the country, even though it is no longer the capital. It could be said that it is its flagship city and that it is characterized by being a mixture of cultures where the best of each one is taken for a totally diverse result full of history. For this reason, it is common to find modern cafeterias in the middle of Buddhist temples, cars from ancient times that slip between the noisy tuktuks. In addition, markets that offer paper lanterns, handicrafts or liquors with snakes.
2. Tat Kuang Si Falls
Taking advantage of the fact that you are in Luang Prabang, One of the places to see in Laos that you cannot miss is the Tat Kuang Si waterfalls. To get here, you can take an excursion considered the most entertaining in the city, made up of a 45-minute journey in a public van that will cross abundant nature until you reach the incredible waterfalls.
Once you arrive at the site, it is normal to be surprised by the beauty of its turquoise waters, endowed with an incomparable purity. Perhaps your first instinct is to take a dip, but be patient, because the tour continues. Indeed, you will get to know the different levels of the river that will offer many natural pools where you can also hang out. Once you have seen everything, you can go back and enjoy the beginning.
3. Wat Phu temples
One of the things to see in Laos is Wat Phu, located in the province of Champasak, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2001. It is an essential site for its history and the cultural richness that it houses inside. It is a type of “Angkor Wat” of Laotian origin.
But, it is still an incredible and beautiful Khmer religious and cultural complex, located at the foot of the Phu Kao mountain. Here, there are ruins that are waiting for you to be discovered, made up of up to 6 levels of height wrapped in a 2-kilometer route. You will be able to find many temples, sanctuaries, natural pools, stairs consumed by nature and a combination of Hindu and Buddhist samples that show the history of the place.
4. Kong Lor Underground River
The Kong Lor underground river is among the main reasons for tourists to travel to Laos due to its immensity. Many people resist the endless hours of bus travel to reach this highly visited site, both by locals and travelers. It is an underground river it passes through the entire Kong Lor cave, being one of the longest in the world.
In fact, its length is approximately 7 kilometers, which makes it necessary to rent a boat to explore it. The experience is almost similar to the entrance of a huge mountain, with the difference that it will be inside the earth.
5. Thakhek Loop
Kong Lor is one of the best places to see in Laos, so you should extend your tour by venturing into the famous Thakhek Loop. It consists of a circular route that reaches 450 kilometers, so you must hire the services of a motorcycle or special transport. The good thing is that they will take you to the depths of Laos, where you will witness the history and culture of the place by seeing large villages, huge waterfalls, rice fields, lagoons and many magical corners. Without a doubt, an experience for the most adventurous.
Known as the quiet capital, it cannot be missing in the places to see in Laos. Although it bears no similarity to the capitals of its neighboring countries, such as Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam, it is still a point that can be part of your tour. It houses several temples full of culture that are worth visiting. Its promenade stands out along the Mekong whose best moment is at sunset. Also, it has interesting monuments such as the Patuxay.
However, the most sought after in the capital is a tour of Buddha Park, located just under 30 kilometers from the city. You will come across a complex full of large sculptures that reflect Hindu, Buddhist culture and mythology. You will also be able to appreciate a giant reclining Buddha and discover a huge gourd full of particular stone shapes.
7. Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng has become one of the things to do in Laos by being revamped as a destination for all the public, contrary to how it was before. One of the main activities is tubing, which It is a journey along a road in an upstream direction to later return to the town sailing on the Nam Song Rivera tributary of the Mekong.
Then, you can go hiking in the area, where you can explore it by bike or rented motorbike. once here, one of the main places to see in Laos is the Bluee Lagoon. You will witness its crystalline waters that will serve you to cool off and to spend time with your family. Also, you can visit one of the busiest caves in the area, the Tham Phu Kham Cave. Without a doubt, it is one of the best places for sightseeing in Laos.
8. 4,000 Islands
A short distance from the Cambodian border is one of the best things to see in Laos in 3 days. It is about the 4,000 islands, which are not really 4,000, but the truth is that there are two that you cannot ignore: Don Det and Don Khon.
Since Laos does not have a beach, this site is the closest you can find. Indeed, They are small coves where you can sit down to relax on the banks of the great Mekong river. But, be careful with the current, since there are areas where it is so powerful that it could take you away if you decide to take a bath.
Crisscrossing from the highest point of the Tibetan Plateau, through the Chinese province of Yunnan, and spanning the length of Laos and Cambodia before settling in a delta in Vietnam, is the Mekong, the longest river in Southeast Asia, flowing through some of the most diverse and extraordinary areas of the region. It is possible to take a cruise on the Mekong, which lasts approximately 2 days, where the nights are spent in Pak Beng.
10. Bolaven Plateau
Among the best things to do in Laos is to visit the Bolaven Plateau area. The best way is to rent a motorcycle in the city of Pakse to start this journey full of adventures. It is located in the southern region of the city, and is well known for its immense waterfalls, abundant forests, its coffee fields, and various groups of villages. Get ready, because you will be prone to totally unpredictable experiences.
How safe is Laos?
Although it is one of the poorest countries in the world, Laos is a safe enough nation to visit. The most that can happen to you is to suffer a small robbery, especially in the capital Vientiane where it is common for these incidents to happen.
But while violent crime that is targeted at tourists is rare, there is still a chance that it can happen. Therefore, pay attention to your common sense, control your emotions, and if you find yourself involved in a strange situation, seek to get out or ask for help.
What is the best time to travel to Laos?
After knowing what to see in Laos, it is necessary to know the best time to travel to this Asian country. Many travelers agree that the best season is from november to february, especially since the weather is much cooler than in april or may, added to the fact that there is not much rain. The only bad thing is that it coincides with the time when more people travel to the nation.
How to get to Laos?
If you are wondering how to get to Laos, you should know that it does not have a railway, nor many roads in good condition, much less access to the sea. For this reason, The most used means of transportation to visit this nation is the plane. For this, it has two entry points, Luang Prabang to the north, and the capital, to the south.
Normally, when we talk about Southeast Asia, the first thing we highlight is Thailand. Some remember Cambodia with its famous Angkor temples, or Indonesia with legendary Bali, or historic Vietnam with its Ha Long Bay. But, few know the infinite options to see in Laos, being a tourist attraction that has nothing to envy to the previous destinations. What do you think?