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Prayer Bells, Luang Prabang, Laos


Built on the banks of the Mekong, Vientiane is a charming capital city filled with decadent French mansions and bustling streets. Brimming with noodle stands and colourful bougainvillea.

Vientiane is often overlooked by passing travellers but it does have a lot to offer, from the several temples, or wats as they are locally known, Buddha park and the enchanting morning markets, offering treats from all over the country.

With Patuxai, Vientiane’s Arc de Triomphe, Pha That Luang – Laos’s most important monument to Buddhism and Wat Si Muang, there are some genuinely worthwhile sites to visit. That Luang is the most revered of all the religious sites and is the focus of a major festival held each February when the local people dress in their finest clothes and pilgrims come from miles around to worship. Vientiane may not have the vivid colours and offerings of Luang Prabang but it does offer a different perspective of Laos.


Tell us what you love doing and we’ll curate a journey that’s perfect for you.

Search for Irrawaddy Dolphins

Search the Mekong River for the elusive Irrawaddy Dolphins.

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Wat Phu Temple

Explore the Khmer Hindu temple complex of Wat Phu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Southern Laos.

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Mekong River Communities

Visit local river communities and experience the local way of life on the Mekong.

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Si Phan Don Islands

Explore the 4,000 Si Phan Don islands and dramatic waterfalls by traditional boat. Emerging out of the Mekong River during the dry months they come alive with rural life.

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Thailand to Laos by Boat

Journey by river to the UNESCO city of Luang Prabang in Laos – a peaceful two-day Mekong sojourn.

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COPE Visitor Centre

Give something back by visiting the COPE Visitor Centre in Vientiane, part of the National Rehabilitation Centre, offering help and support to land mine victims.

That Luang Temple

Time your visit to coincide with the annual Boun That Luang Festival which takes place every February in Vietniane – the most important Buddhist celebration in Laos.

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Visit Local Hill Tribes

Access the hills of Northern Laos and visit some of the 20 plus minority tribes for an authentic experience and insight into their culture.

Cruise the Mekong

Travel the Mekong from the comfort of a private traditional river boat.

Plain of Jars

Uncover the mystery of the giant stone jars scattered around this impressive archaeological site in Phonsavan.

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Meet our experts

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 Craven

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. Later, my father’s postings took us to Nepal where we had to transit Delhi and Kathmandu where we were sometimes stranded for days and Hong Kong from where I travelled in 1983 through China for two months.

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Deborah Brock-Doyle

My first journey for Steppes was in 1999 when I set off to explore Thailand to gather those little details that constitute Steppes Travel’s trademark knowledge. I have since been lucky enough to travel extensively in Southeast Asia, China, the Middle East and India. A few special memories include being joined at dinner by an otter in Laos, proudly being shown an illicit picture of the Dalai Lama in Tibet and diving with manta rays on Christmas day in Indonesia. I’m pretty sure I always leave a country wishing I had done more, seen more, learned more ….. but I also always hope to return …

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Why Choose Steppes?

These may be uncertain times but they are, without a doubt, still full of opportunity to discover the extraordinary safely. Through knowledge and expertise, we can connect you to those destinations embracing travellers with the added confidence of flexible booking and decades of insight.

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