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Get involved with Community-Based Tourism in Laos

Take the opportunity to really get to know Laos through its people, challenges and history by getting closer to those who are making a real difference. Support vital community-based projects and humanitarian work and gain a much deeper understanding of the country.

The UN classifies Laos as one of the 50 least-developed countries in the world. It is also the most heavily bombed per capita; nearly a third of the 1.3 million tonnes of bombs dropped during the Vietnam War did not detonate, and many of them now litter the agricultural land that provides a living for most of Laos. This deadly legacy still kills and maims, and acts as a massive impediment to development.

Selective Asia partners and supports several NGOs and social enterprises in Laos, allowing you to get closer to the people and projects that are helping to build a sustainable future in the country.

The community-based tourism projects you can get involved with in Laos include:

Mag Laos
Mag Laos
Lone Buffalo


MAG works in the Xieng Khouang and Khammouane provinces to clear community land of unexploded bombs. Fifty years after being dropped, these continue to kill, injure and hinder development in Laos and remain a persistent threat and daily reality for thousands of communities.

Development experts have long recognised the links between unexploded bomb contamination and poverty levels. Our founder, Nick, ranks MAG as one of the most important NGOs working in Indochina today. At MAG’s centre in Phonsavan, you’ll see why, as you learn about the scale of the problem and the projects that reduce risk, support development and clear the mines.

Lone Buffalo

Another organisation based in Phonsavan, also doing inspirational work to improve opportunities for young people from rural backgrounds, is Lone Buffalo. We have sponsored a class here for many years, and you can hear about how the free English tuition, sports and creative skills programmes are transforming lives. 

By nurturing leadership, the school increases confidence, knowledge and ambition and opens the door to more opportunities - 92% of the students who complete their studies with Lone Buffalo have gone on to further studies at university or college​.

Nam Ou Riverside Homestay 

Situated in the heart of verdant rice paddies and bordering the gentle roll of the Nam Ou River, the village of Ban Muang Soune is home to the Kham family. Spend time in their 100-year-old family home, and enjoy the chance to chat about their life with them over shared meals.

The family will introduce you to local weavers and organic farmers, and even share Lao fishing and cooking secrets with you. Early risers can also witness the sunrise alms-giving procession of monks that starts every day in rural Laos.

Community-based opportunities in Luang Prabang:

Buffalo Dairy

We love this - and think you will too. It’s the first ever buffalo dairy in Laos and operates as part-commercial enterprise and part-social enterprise, helping underprivileged farmers to supplement their income by renting out their buffalo during milking season.

What’s more, there’s yoghurt, mozzarella, ricotta, ice cream and cheesecake all waiting to be tasted after your guided tour.

Big Brother Mouse

Very few books are available to those living in rural Laos, but Big Brother Mouse is out to change that. As a locally run project, it publishes books that will appeal to the communities it serves by making them fun and easy to learn to read. On a visit to the Big Brother Mouse shop, you can select and purchase some books that will then be shared with local communities. 

Living Lands Organic Farm

Get muddy and have fun discovering how rice is cultivated and harvested in Laos, trying your hand at using the basic tools that remain at the heart of farming. There are over 500 varieties of rice grown locally and, at your tasting session after you’ve got in amongst it all, you can try and distinguish between some of these different grains. A brilliant experience for the whole family.

We think you may like this journey…

Laos Unlocked

A two-week journey through Laos’ laid-back cities and rural landscapes, exploring the country’s rich cultural heritage, meeting the friendly locals and going on an adventure or two.

Price from: £3,590 US$4,090
Ideal length 16 days
Take me there
Laos journey culture light adventure

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