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.
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.
Every captivating tailor-made itinerary needs a perfect base. Our team has handpicked this collection of properties to give you luxury options in styles to suit any adventure.
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 Traveler 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.
Laos is seven hours ahead of GMT.
There are no direct flights to Vientiane, the capital city, or Luang Prabang. Flights via Bangkok to either Vientiane or Luang Prabang take around 13 hours.
Travelling with Steppes Travel is a wonderful chance to experience a stunning array of cultures, landscapes, ecosystems and activities. At the heart of this experience are the differences between our respective ways of life. You should understand that this means that standards of health and safety will not be the same as in the UK and may often be lower. Please refer to our full health and safety information on our website under Traveller’s Code.
When visiting markets, such as the daily Night Market in Luang Prabang, keep an eye open for the local textiles and weavings with patterns unique to the country. Mulberry silk and mulberry paper are also a famous produce of the country, with many different objects made from them.
You can photograph the monks, although do so in an unobtrusive way. Respect them as the locals do and do not photograph or interrupt them when they are praying. A long lens is a great way to capture them close up without being intrusive.
Laos, like a lot of its neighbours, has a very low crime rate. However, always be careful with your belongings, especially when out in crowded areas and leave your valuables at home.
Roaming agreements exist with a few international mobile phone companies with coverage good in the cities, less so in more rural areas. Sim cards are available to purchase and can be topped up throughout your trip.
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