Laos family holidays

Family holidays in Laos take you off the average tourist trail for exciting yet accessible adventures in Asia’s gentle hidden gem.

Get hands-on with daily Laos life on a working rice farm, or trek to treehouse nests deep in the jungle. Walk with rescued elephants, or visit picturesque waterfalls where the skies are full of butterflies. Play petanque with the locals in Luang Prabang, or wander in wonder through the city’s gleaming temples.

Laos is an ‘outside the box’ option for family travel, combining the excitement of new experiences with the space to really savour your time together away from the crowds.

Highlights of a family holiday in Laos

  • Stride through the jungle with rescued elephants at the inspiring MandaLao sanctuary
  • Rise early in Luang Prabang and find a discrete spot to watch Buddhist monks receive alms
  • Spend the night swaying above the forest floor in a rustic treehouse nest, and fall asleep to the sounds of the jungle 
  • See buffalo, butterflies, and even rescued bears, near a beautiful fairytale waterfall
  • Snack on tasty treats as you weave by tuk-tuk through Vientiane’s evening markets

With a UK based team of Destination Specialists with offices and partners across Asia, ensuring we focus on staying really local in our approach.  Our specialists have travelled extensively in Laos and throughout Asia, many having also lived in the region.Along with enjoying great travels, the team regularly inspect the best hotels, seek out new activities and 

design new routes – for inspiration we’d suggest taking a look through some of their Favourite Journeys. The weather during any of the kids holiday dates is always an important consideration and we have that covered with our best time to visit Laos section.

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Things you’ll all love in Laos

What to do in Laos: Discover more with our hand-picked experiences & highlights
Paddle through the waters of the mighty Mekong in a kayak Laos Luang Prabang

Paddle through the waters of the mighty Mekong in a kayak

Luang Prabang is the chilled out cultural mecca of Laos, but around it lies countryside of extraordinary beauty. Through this runs the broad Mekong River, flowing all the way from Tibet, and essential to much of South-East Asia. Combine the two, and you have a fantastic way to explore rural Laos - quietly, without making much of an impact, as you paddle your kayak through tropical jungle.

Be part of the team for a day at the inspirational Mandalao Elephant Sanctuary

Be part of the team at the Mandalao Elephant Sanctuary

A day spent at MandaLao Elephant Sanctuary is one you won't be forgetting anytime soon! Get a feel for what makes these creatures so special as you gently bathe the elephants, and trek alongside these majestic creatures whilst learning about their individual personalities, and the pioneering elephant conservation work that is being carried out here.

Get hands-on experience of rice farming life at the Living Lands Organic Farm

Hands-on experience of rice farming life

Everybody will get hands-on at the Living Land farm, where you’ll get involved in every aspect of this sustainable agriculture, learn about the rice's life-cycle and be able to appreciate the hard work that goes into growing their organic produce.

 
 

Laos with kids: what to expect?

Luang Prabang is a magical city of gilded temples, rainbow colours, green hills and chilled out cafe culture - perfect for family exploring. Make use of the kids’ early morning wake-ups and watch saffron-robed Buddhist monks receive alms at first light, or investigate the city’s French influence as you scout out the best bakery for a breakfast baguette.

Head up river by boat for a taste of rural life, then kayak back downstream. Make your own rice noodles for lunch at a local farm, or take a daytrip to the gorgeous Kuang Si Falls for picnics, followed by butterflies, and buffalo milk ice cream.

Laos’ capital, Vientiane, has some key treasures to offer families passing through. Explore its big(ger) city vibes with a tuk-tuk streetfood tour through the night markets, make a meal of dinner with a traditional Sin Dat bbq, or laugh along with the locals as you play petanque

Laos is a long distance country, and every moment of family holiday time is precious, so your toughest decision will be narrowing down which bits to visit! Get knee-deep in a working rice paddy at one of our favourite Laos family experiences, the Living Lands Organic Farm, or stay at a coffee plantation and swim in clear waterfalls on the fruitful Bolaven Plateau. Run around the extraordinary megalithic cylinders on the Plain of Jars, or wander between colonial architecture and grand wats in Champasak

Take your young wildlife enthusiasts to walk in elephants’ footsteps at the inspirational MandaLao sanctuary, or make an intrepid overnight stay with older kids at the Sayaboury Elephant Conservation Centre. Go wild with a trek through Laos’ northern jungle to sleep in swaying spherical nests, or stay in zipline-accessed treetop chalets in the south.


If you thought that beach time was off the cards just because Laos doesn’t have a coastline, then think again! Riverside ‘beach’ bliss, and peaceful island vibes await in Si Phan Don (the 4,000 islands), the perfect spot for essential family downtime and boat trips on the mighty Mekong. Though once infamous as a party destination, Vang Vieng has shed its wild reputation and become a prime location for adventure sports, such as kayaking, caving and tubing, making it a perfect stop-off for restless teens. The Vieng Tara hotel, set against a dramatic backdrop of misty and forested mountains, is a peaceful place to recharge your batteries between activities and take some much needed relaxation time. 

Where to rest your head..

Three of our favourite family-friendly hotels in Laos

Responsible Travel in Laos

Whilst Laos has long appeared to be a regional leader in its commitment to reusable energies, in reality much of the power generated is exported to China. The reality is that for projects of this scale, Laos must usually rely on the expertise and wallet of its neighbours. Income from tourism, however, helps show glimpses of a brighter more self-sustainable future, when Laos can rely on its own income to drive such progress forward.

Back on dry land, the country is home to a number of lodges with serious Eco credentials and some inspiring wildlife conservation projects such as the Nam Et-Phou Louey Protected Area. The project protects species includes clouded leopard, gibbons, and an incredible array of birdlife and a very threatened population of tigers. The area was once used by locals as a hunting ground, however villagers are now encouraged to protect the wildlife, generating revenue for the community from tourist's wildlife sightings.

Laos’ commitment to retaining its cultural heritage is also to be applauded - and enjoyed – with the country boasting a healthy number of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Whether experienced whilst residing in a traditional Old Town residence in Luang Prabang or in the villages surrounding Muang La Lodge, you can be sure that a healthy percentage of your travel spend is working in a positive manner.

Find out more about Selective Asia's Responsible Travel policy and our innovative One Bottle at a Time initiative.

Our Laos Specialists' top tips for families

With quite a few parents among our well-travelled Destination Specialists, we know how important it is to get the finer details sorted before travelling with kids, and we always go the extra mile to make sure they are. We want everyone to enjoy each moment without sweating the small stuff.

If you have any questions, or want to have a chat about planning your family holiday to Laos, we'd love to have a chat. In the meantime, here are a few FAQs to help you get started…