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Laos Tour, Vacations, Travel Packages & Experiences


  • Monks in Luang Prabang
  • Umbrellas at a typical market in Luang Prabang
  • Buddhist Statues in Vientiane
  • Patuxai in Vientiane is always a popular photo opportunity while on your Laos tour.

Laos is a landlocked nation located in the middle of the Southeast Asian peninsula. The population 6,803,699 is divided into seventeen provinces and one prefecture and shares borders with Myanmar, Cambodia, China, Thailand and Vietnam. The northern border with China is quite mountainous and shares part of the Mekong River with Myanmar. The western border is dominated by the Mekong River which flows through Laos for 1,500 km (932mi) of its course. The eastern border with Vietnam runs for 2,130 km (1,323.52 mi) along the Annamite Chain which extends approximately 1,100 km (680mi) through Laos, Vietnam and a small part of Cambodia. The small southern border is shared with Cambodia.

Why consider a visit to Laos?

Laos is another destination which has opened its doors in recent times to tourism. It is a country of only 6.5 million inhabitants and has developed fairly quickly to provide the visitor with suitable hotels and infrastructure on a Laos tour. It offers Southeast Asia’s most pristine environment and intact cultures. This land-locked country, of which more than 70% is comprised of highland area, has stunning natural beauty with lush jungles, limestone forests, rivers and waterfalls. With a rich culture and history, this peaceful country boasts numerous historic sites, beautiful temples, and strong spiritual traditions all of which are a testament of its long history. Along with a multitude of celebrations and festivals, Laos also offers great opportunities for a variety of outdoor adventures, including trekking, kayaking, cycling or caving. It is not just the beauty of the country but also the kindness, friendliness, hospitality and generosity of its people along with unique and attractive crafts and arts that make a stay in Laos an unforgettable experience.

Rapidly emerging from its arduous history, its still enigmatic and relatively undeveloped, with perhaps the most charming, laid back people on earth. Book one of our Laos tours today and experience it for yourself.

What are the top places to see in Laos?

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang, the historic former royal city, encircled by mountains, is the jewel in the crown in Laos. Here are so many architecturally interesting and different styled temples and centuries old monasteries to satisfy the most enthusiastic visitor ona Laos tour.

Click here to learn more about tours to Luang Prabang 

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace was built in 1904 during the French Colonial era. The site was chosen so that official visitors to Luang Prabang could disembark from their river voyages directly below the palace and be received there. In 1975, the monarchy was overthrown by the communists and the palace was converted into a national museum with some rooms preserved as they were. The architecture of the building is a mix of traditional Lao and French Beaux-Arts styles. There are a variety of royal religious objects on display in the Entrance Hall. In a separate building is a display of the Royal Palace car collection.

Wat XiengThong Temple

This is a Buddhist temple and one of the most important of Lao monasteries. There are over twenty structures on the grounds including shrines, pavilions and residences plus its gardens. Laos is known for its outstanding Buddhist temples and Wat Xieng Thong is one of the best with intricately carved walls and rare Buddhist deities. The building has carved gilded wooden doors depicting scenes from Buddha's life. Also known as the “Golden Tree Monastery”, it is famous for the coronation of Lao kings and as an important place for annual festivities. 

Mount Phousi

Mount Phousi is almost in the centre of the town and rises above the downtown area. This small mountain is located on the river peninsula between the Mekong and the Nam Khan Rivers. From the top, you have a panoramic view of Luang Prabang and the surrounding countryside. One truly amazing thing to do here is to watch the sunset as it goes down on the majestic Mekong River. On top of the mountain are a small Buddhist temple and a golden stupa. About halfway up to the top is a small grotto shrine called Wat Tham Phousi with a number of Buddha images and a big-bellied statue and a reclining Buddha image.

Luang Prabang Night Market

This exceptional night market should not be missed. It takes place in the town centre every late afternoon until late in the evening. The main street is closed off to vehicles to allow pedestrians to shop at leisure. The merchandise is sold by local hill tribe people who come into Luang Prabang from the nearby countryside. It includes ceramics, bamboo, lamps, blankets, bed covers, handicrafts, bags, purses, shirts and silk scarves as well as typical souvenirs for visitors.

The Parade of the Monks

One highlight in Luang Prabang is to watch the parade of a long line of saffron-clad monks who each morning walk the length of the main street accepting food and provisions from the locals. This is a highly revered Lao tradition and visitors are encouraged to watch or even get involved. This takes place at sunrise beginning on the main street before heading down the side streets. You should buy your offerings (usually food) in advance and arrive with plenty of time to spare as it is considered very offensive to disrupt the ceremony once it has begun. The most common gifts include rice, fresh fruit and traditional sweet snacks. The idea of giving is for the Buddhist monks to make merit and also to collect food for their one meal of a day.

Pak Ou Caves

The Pak Ou Caves just outside of Luang Prabang are one of the most respected holy sites in Laos and have a long history. They are full of over 4,000 Buddha icons. The caves, a shrine to the river spirit and Lord Buddha are set in dramatic limestone cliff along the Mekong River. There are two caves to visit both full of miniature Buddhist figures mostly made of wood. The upper cave is home to the majority of the Buddha statues and you will need to find your way in the darkness to the thousands of hidden icons. The statues are believed to have been left in the caves by local people for hundreds of years.

Kuang Si Falls

This is a waterfall not far from Luang Prabang. It is made up of three levels leading to a 50 metre/160 foot drop into spectacular blue pools before they flow downstream. The pools also make great swimming holes and are very popular with both tourists and locals. The pools also have cascades of cold water due to the shade given by the surrounding lush tropical jungle.

Vientiane

Vientiane, belies its title as the capital. It is unhurried and relaxed as normal day by day activity quietly proceeds. It is situated on the banks of the Mekong River and looks across at Thailand on the opposite bank.

Click here to learn more about tours to Vientiane

Wat Sisaket

Wat Sisaket is a famous temple with beautiful architecture. It is known for its cloister wall which houses thousands of tiny Buddha images and rows of hundreds of seated Buddhas. These images mainly date from the 16th and 19th Centuries and are made from wood, stone and bronze. Early in the morning, many locals come here to pray and make merit as well as offer food to the monks. Among the many other interesting features are its lovely surrounding verandas, an ornate five-tiered roof, a drum tower, a small library building with a Burmese-style roof and the flowered ceiling of the ordination hall.

That Luang

That Luang means Great Stupa and is a national symbol and also the most sacred monument in the country. From the outside, it looks like a fortress surrounded by high walls. Inside are two temples. The main stupa is covered with gold leaf and is fairly tall. It was supposedly built in the Third Century AD to house a breastbone of the Lord Buddha brought to Laos by an Indian missionary. However, the current structure was built in 1566. Every November when the Boun That Luang Festival is held in Vientiane, a large crowd comes to Vientiane from all over Laos and even neighbouring countries. The festival is considered the most important Buddhist celebration in Laos with many activities going on for three days and three nights. This colourful event includes parades, live music and religious ceremonies.

Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan Park)

This is a sculpture park with more than 200 religious statues including a huge 40 metre/130 foot high reclining Buddha image. It was built in 1958 by a monk who studied both Buddhism and Hinduism and this explains why there are some Hindu gods as well as demons and animals. The most outstanding ones include Indra, the king of Hindu gods riding a three-headed elephant, a four-armed deity sitting on a horse and an artistic deity with 12 faces and many hands.

The Plain of Jars

The Plain of Jars is considered the most distinctive and mysterious of all attractions in Laos. A large area around Phonsavan is dotted with stone jars which no one really understands why they are there. The jars were carved from both sandstone and granite in various sizes from very small to large. They are thought to be more than 2,000 years old. Legend has it that they were made to store rice wine while some believe they were for storing the dead.

Vieng Xai

Vieng Xai is a town in Hua Phan Province. The biggest attraction of the town is the caves which sit in a valley of fertile hills and limestone cliffs riddled with caves, several of which were used to shelter the Lao officers during the second Indo-China war in 1962/1973. Laos became caught up in the conflict between the US and the North Vietnamese. These caves were a “Hidden City” which supported around 20,000 people. During nine years of almost constant bombing, they sheltered in the caves and the surrounding jungle. Schools, hospitals and markets as well as government ministries, a radio station, a theatre and military barracks were all hidden in the caves.

Best time to visit Laos

Laos is a land-locked country. The weather is at its best between October and April when it is warm and dry. Because of Laos’ topography, cool weather can be found in the higher ground. Between late May and early October, this is the “green season” when it rains. The heaviest rains are between June and August. However, it consists of short, sharp downpours. This is when the scenery is at its best. Comparing Vientiane and Luang Prabang, it is cooler in the evenings in the latter destination but otherwise, similar.

Click here for more information on the best time to visit Laos

What types of tours are available in Laos?

You can decide on your own independent itinerary covering the highlights of Laos or you can consider a combination of stopover packages for Vientiane and Luang Prabang. If cruising is your thing, you can take a boutique cruise along the Mekong River and still see the highlights of Laos. This destination is easily combined with Vietnam and/or Cambodia.

"Globetrotting with Goway" blog articles

For some additional reading, the following articles are from our blog “Globetrotting with Goway”….. a great source of information for those people who are, or who want to be, world travellers!

Cruising Unexplored Regions of the Mekong on a Laos Vacation

Consider Laos On Your Next Trip to Indochina

Culinary Delights of IndoChina

The Top 5 Must-See Items for a First Time Visit to IndoChina

Laos Travel Information

At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to a Laos tour.

Learn about the history and culture of Laos, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Laos's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Laos for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Laos tours today!

Extend Your Trip

After your Laos tour, consider taking the time to visit other destinations. Goway offers exciting China vacation packagesIndia tours and Thailand vacation packages plus a comprehensive selection of vacation packages in many other Asian countries.

 

 

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Laos

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