Luang Prabang sits in a quiet valley on the edge of the Mekong River and is the highlight of most holidays to…
Although economically left behind by its neighbours following the Vietnam war, the people of Laos have rebuilt their lives and it has emerged as one of the most delightful countries in the Far East.
When the British departed Laos on independence they left behind an efficient, if somewhat bureaucratic, administrative system. When the French departed they left behind good coffee and delicious bread. It is slightly incongruous and unworldly sitting in a little cafe in Luang Prabang, gazing out across the Mekong as the morning mist rises off the water while you eat a delicious croissant. You have to try it!
Laos is a land of graceful temples and saffron-robed monks. Even the capital Vientiane has more of the feel of a rural town than a bustling metropolis. The infrastructure and accommodation in more remote areas remain limited but there you will find minority peoples, each with their own traditions, culture and intricate textiles for which the country is famous. A surreal cross between Sleeping Beauty and the King and I, Luang Prabang epitomises the easy-going, laid back atmosphere of Laos.
Our Laos experts have created and curated these holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something to spark ideas for a unique adventure.
A selection of activities and experiences you could consider including in your holiday to Laos.
Travel the Mekong from the comfort of a private traditional river boat.
Journey by river to the UNESCO city of Luang Prabang in Laos – a peaceful two-day Mekong sojourn.
Visit local river communities and experience the local way of life on the Mekong.
Search the Mekong River for the elusive Irrawaddy Dolphins.
Explore the Khmer Hindu temple complex of Wat Phu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Southern Laos.
Sample wonderful, local food, or learn to make some traditional Laotian dishes yourself.
Escape from Luang Prabang for a day and trek on foot or by horseback to Tad Sae waterfalls for a refreshing dip.
Access the hills of Northern Laos and visit some of the 20 plus minority tribes for an authentic experience and insight into their culture.
Journey past limestone karst peaks to Vang Vieng before jumping in a kayak to explore the Nam Song River.
Uncover the mystery of the giant stone jars scattered around this impressive archaeological site in Phonsavan.
Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.
Amantaka (taka meaning Tipitaka, the teachings of Buddha and Aman the well-known luxury hotel group), is housed in a series of beautiful French colonial buildings with high ceilings and shady verandas. Aman Resorts took possession of the site in late 2005 and after the painstaking restoration under strict UNESCO guidelines, have successfully provided one of Luang Prabang’s most beautiful properties. It houses 25 suites, some with pools and all beautifully decorated with Aman’s typical flair.
The Belmond La Residence Phou Vao sits at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, nestling on the Hill of Kites, overlooking the majestic Mekong and just a 10-minute walk from the centre of Luang Prabang. The design and decor of the spacious bedrooms and suites, in rosewood and cotton, reflect the style and heritage of Lao architecture. With a large swimming pool, views over the mountains and town and a small spa, the Belmond La Residence Phou Vao is one of the best hotels in the town.
Located in the heart of the city, the 31-roomed Satri House was built at the turn of the last century as a private residence. The house was completely renovated and is designed with a style inspired by Lao culture and set in a relaxed environment. Watch local everyday life unfold from your balcony, sit by the emerald tiled pool or take a cruise on the Mekong cruise.
The Green Park Boutique Hotel captures the sense of style and architecture of Laos beautifully. The 34 rooms have elegant interiors offering both historic and contemporary design and the hotel is full of original antique furniture and is rich in art collections. Located in the heart of Vientiane, just opposite the Nong Chank Park it is perfectly located for the sights of this capital city.
A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.
Paul is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Central Asia and the Silk Route.
Being from a family with Army connections I can from an early age remember travelling. From camping in Europe and then later being sent to boarding school when we lived in Germany at the age of eight, complete with shorts, long socks, a cap and my suitcase. In appearance not too dissimilar to the children evacuated to the countryside during the blitz.
It was my passion for languages that first encouraged me to leave the UK behind and grab my rucksack. Since then, it’s been a mixture of intriguing cultures, jaw-dropping landscapes and the wonder of seeing animals in their natural habitat that sees me continuously extending my travel wish list.
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