Sharing borders with Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, Thailand to the west and China to the north, Laos with its 6.5million population, Vientiane as its capital and Theravada Buddhism as its predominant religion, is still considered one of the poorest nations in South-East Asia.
Officially known as the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, this tropical landlocked nation has plenty to offer to the curious traveller from Buddhist culture and French colonial architecture to trekking in the mountains and exploring its ancient Khmer temples.
Thailand promotes itself as amazing, Vietnam can well be described as bustling, Cambodia's Khmer temples are awe-inspiring, Myanmar's junta is barbaric... but the adjective most often applied to Laos is forgotten. Although there are a few grand (but relatively unheard of) attractions, visitors are drawn by the laid-back lifestyle that Laos has to offer, not forgetting their very own Beerlao!
This is the mountainous region of the country and is famous for the Ban Nalan Trail that takes you on a two-day trek through the Luang Namtha province.
Home to its capital Vientiane, central Laos is also visited for the Phou Hin Boun National Park, The Plain of Jars and the Konglor and Pathet Caves.
Home to the small cities of Champasak, Pakse and Savannakhet, here many travellers visit the Si Phan Don (four thousand islands) within the Mekong River that boasts beautiful sunsets for a day of utter relaxation.
Visit the many temples and stupas:
Apart from Buddhism, animism is also common among the mountain tribes. Some of the famous religious sites to visit are Wat Si Saket, Haw Pha Kaew, That Dam (Black Stupa), Pha That Luang and Wat Si Muang.
Get photographed at the Victory Gate:
Known as Patuxai, it’s a similar rendition of the Arc de Triomphe. Built in 1957 and completed in 1968, the gateway represents the memory of the Laotian soldiers who died in many battles during the country’s turbulent past.
The Plain of Jars:
Located in the Xieng Khouang Plateau, this megalithic archaeological landscape dated to the iron-age (500BCE to 500CE) is possibly associated with prehistoric burial practices.
Take a historical pilgrimage at Champasak:
Visit the ancient Khmer Hindu temple complex of Wat Phu set against scenic natural landscape. Today, this temple complex has become a common Theravada Buddhist worship site.
Stop by the Elephant Village & Resort:
A privately owned elephant camp and tour destination where visitors can enjoy long elephant rides through nature and experience memorable waterfall excursions.
Visit Buddha Park:
Began in 1958 and referred to as Xieng Khuan, find hundreds of Buddhist and Hindu deities that tower over you.
Shop for silks and handicrafts:
Visit the Saoban Village Handicrafts where travellers will find everything from ethnic jewellery and textiles to bamboo wares and trinkets.
Witness Kickboxing (Muay Lao) at the Sekhai Market:
Head to Kuanjai Sikhot Boxing Gym to experience the national sport of Laos firsthand.
Rafting, Kayaking & Swimming at Vang Vieng:
Lying on the Nam Song River, travellers can find fun filled activities to last for days!
Explore travel tips & travel diaries - For Travelers, By Travelers. Find hostels, backpackers, b&b's, hotels and other accommodations on Traveldudes.