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.