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Travel in Laos

An introduction

Lionel, tailor-made travel specialist

'Always a team favourite, Laos offers exactly the type of Asian travel experience that saw us all falling in love with the region 20 years ago.'

Lionel - Laos tailor-made specialist

Swapping sea for river, Laos is the complete package

Vastly untapped travel potential, eco-awareness, deep cultural heritage and some of the friendliest people on the planet all combine to make any visit to Laos an outstanding experience.

Many people will associate Laos with just one destination – Luang Prabang. This incredible UNESCO-protected city has won numerous travel awards, and is certainly worthy of every accolade. However, anyone considering a holiday in Laos of more than three of four days should be looking to venture beyond just one city, as incredible as it is!

Where to travel in Laos

Many will fly into Luang Prabang, spending three or four days exploring its incredible temples and enjoying the wonderfully relaxed pace of life. 

The mysterious Plain of Jars lies a full day's drive south from Luang Prabang. Certainly one of Laos’ best kept treasures due to its remoteness, this megalithic site is yet to be fully explained by archaeologists, and spreads for miles over the Xhiangkhoang Plateau near Phonsavan.

To the south of Luang Prabang is Vang Vieng. Having repelled an invasion by the backpacker brigade in the late 20th century, Vang Vieng's authorities have happily returned the visitor focus to the region's extraordinary natural setting, and opportunities for great caving, kayaing and trekking.

The big question for many is Vientiane and whether to visit, with plenty being been put off by its ‘inferior' status to Luang Prabang. Amongst our UK sales team we all agree it’s definitely worth a night or two if you have the time. It’s a remarkable capital city, and a visit helps you truly understand what makes Laos tick… London at rush-hour this is not!

Most people travelling to the far south of Laos will board a flight to Pakse (you can also fly directly from Luang Prabang or Vientiane) with only the more intrepid travelling by road, passing through Savannakhet and visiting such sites as the recently discovered 'Buddha caves'. Pakse is considered the gateway to southern Laos, an area that has only recently come onto the tourist map. The list of highlights is long and impressive, ranging from Si Phan Don, aka the 4000 Islands, to Wat Phou and Champasak and lying further east Tad Lo and the Bolaven Plateau

Travelling in or out of Laos by land or the Mekong River

As well as flying into Laos you can enter the country through one of its land and river borders such as Huay Xai in the far north west, exiting Thailand at Chiang Khong. From Huay Xai you can either start a two day river journey south to Luang Prabang via Pakbeng onboard the Luang Say Cruise, or you can travel directly east via Muang Sing (a trekkers delight) to the Luang Namtha Region. Base yourself at the wonderful Boatlanding Guest House and explore the surrounding area on foot or bike, visiting local Akha communities.

Population:
6.5 million
Capital:
Vientiane
Currency:
Kip
Language:
Lao
Religion:
Buddhism

Geography class

Laos is a landlocked, mountainous country, widely covered by largely unspoilt tropical forest. Less than 5% of the land is suitable for subsistence agriculture, which nevertheless provides around 80% of employment.

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (LPDR), one of the world's few remaining communist states, is one South East Asia's poorest countries. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Lao has struggled to find its position within a fast-changing political and economic landscape.

Tourism in Laos

Whilst travellers have been visiting for a number of years, tourism is still very much in its infancy and it's refreshing to find such a responsible approach being taken by the Lao authorities. 

In addition to this, the vastly improved infrastructure in Laos has meant that a 12+ days holiday in Laos can now easily include four or five destinations, and only need one or two internal flights. But it is the improved roads that have made the biggest difference, with some journeys times being cut by as much 25%.

Find out a little more about Laos

Laos from our blog

Laos from our blog

Land-locked Laos has no beach, however that's no excuse for not taking some time out from all the hard travel to kick back in southern Laos...

Visit our Laos blog