Best Places to Visit in Laos

Best Places to Visit in Laos, Laos, one of the most stunning countries in Southeast Asia, is sadly overlooked by tourists. What a shame, because Laos has as much to offer tourists as Thailand and Vietnam, two far more popular destinations.

The tiny, landlocked country may not have any beaches, but its stunning limestone mountains provide excellent hiking and cave exploring options.

The country of Laos is not only renowned for its mountains, but also for its forests and waterfalls, and its exquisite cuisine, which draws inspiration from both Thailand and India.

Even in the capital city of Vientiane or the ancient city of Luang Prabang, a trip to Laos will feel like an off-the-beaten-path exploration of Southeast Asia.

Best Places to Visit in Laos

Best Places to Visit in Laos
Best Places to Visit in Laos

Wat Phu

Beautiful Khmer temple known as Wat Phu (or Vat Phou) in Laos’s Champasak Province, not far from Phu Kao Mountain.

Between the 11th and 13th centuries, this Hindu temple stood as a key outpost of the powerful Khmer Kingdom, which had its capital at Angkor in neighboring Cambodia.

Nowadays, you can discover Angkor-like temples, partially eroded by jungles, in Laos.


Phonsavan, whose name translates to “Hills of Paradise” in Lao, is a fantastic destination for anyone interested in seeing the agricultural side of the country.

Surprisingly, the culture of cowboys can be found in this part of Laos, and you may see real Lao cowboys in Stetsons while they herd cattle on the fertile plains near Phonsavan.

And from here, you can easily travel to other attractions like the Plain of Jars, a stunning natural formation whose pillars inspired the name because they look like jars.

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Muang Ngoi Neua

Once a small and little-visited town, Muang Ngoi Neua is now a famous destination on the fabled Banana Pancake Trail, which spans many Southeast Asian countries.

Backpackers are drawn here by the attractive riverbank location and the opportunity to visit popular destinations like Nam Ou Beach.

Several well-known caves and beautiful waterfalls are within hiking distance of the city, and you can also visit the nearby ethnic settlements.


One of the main attractions of Pakbeng is that it serves as an overnight stopover for travelers taking a Mekong River cruise between Luang Prabang and Huay Xai.

Though Pakbeng may not be a destination in and of itself, it is a nice place to spend the night in route to Luang Prabang or Xuay Xai.

You can enjoy a refreshing beer while watching the sun set over the gorgeous Mekong at one of the town’s many riverside eateries.

Muang Xay

The provincial capital of the larger Oudomxay Province, Muang Xay is also known by the names Oudomxay and Udomxai.

Nearby beautiful mountain ranges and the Nam Ko River Basin add to the charm of this town.

Many travelers pass through here on their way to other parts of Laos because it is the largest city in the region.

However, if you enjoy spelunking, you can easily spend a few days in this town because it is located near several notable caves.


Pakse is the largest city in southern Laos and the capital of Champasak Province.

In addition to the nearby Si Phan Don, Wat Phou, and Bolaven Plateau, visitors can also reach the Xe Pian National Protected Area and Lao Ngam from Pakse.

Despite this, there is a lot to see and see in Pakse proper, so if you’re passing through, it’s worth staying for a while.

The town’s location on the confluence of the Mekong and the Sedona rivers means it’s home to some of the best seafood restaurants in the country, as well as some of the best herbal saunas in the world.



Laos’s capital, Vientiane, is a delightful tiny city despite being the country’s official seat of government.

The charming old French quarter of Vientiane dates back to the city’s days as a French commercial post during the colonial era.

Walking about, you’ll also see a lot of architecture that takes inspiration from France, such Patuxai, a Laotian counterpart of Paris’s Arc de Triomphe.

Wat Si Saket, the oldest temple of its kind in Vientiane, is only one of many worthwhile sights.

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang, a city on the confluence of the Mekong and Khan rivers, is often described as the “serene heart” of Laos.

Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this charming section of the town is home to quaint cafes decorated in a European style and situated along the river’s picturesque banks.

All across town are stunning temples, and if you’re like hiking, you can venture out to the Kuang Si Waterfalls, where you’ll find breathtaking turquoise waterfalls with deep pools ideal for a refreshing dip.

Vang Vieng

Van Vieng is a popular stop for tourists between the capital, Vientiane, and the ancient city, Luang Prabang.

There was once a reputation for wildness and a very thriving nightlife culture in this section of Laos, but the city government has taken steps to clean up the area, and now it is a bit more sedate.

Van Vieng is a popular tourist destination in Laos because of the Nam Song River, where you can go tubing and take in the beautiful jungle environment.

The Tham Phu Kham Cave, famous for its lagoon and Buddha statue made of bronze, is only one example of the many attractions available.

Huay Xai

Many travelers stop in Huay Xai on their way between Laos and Thailand because of its convenient location on the border.

You may take a boat from Huang Xai to Luang Prabang on the Mekong River, and for many tourists, this is the highlight of their Laos vacation.

Bokeo Nature Reserve, home to the incredible Gibbon Experience, may be reached from here as well.

Si Phan Don Islands

Si Phan Don, which literally translates to “Four Thousand Islands,” is located in Laos, which is surprising given the country’s reputation for lacking a coastline.

Amazing small islets have been formed as a result of the Mekong River spreading at the boundary between Laos and Cambodia.

The islands fluctuate in size, which is wonderful because it means you may head to one with more amenities and a broader selection of places to stay, such Don Khon or Don Det.

If you’re looking for a place to completely disconnect from civilization, Laos has plenty of quiet, uninhabited islands like Don Khong.

Bokeo Nature Reserve

Bokeo Nature Reserve, located just outside of Huay Xai, is a well-known nature reserve that is well-known for its conservation work to safeguard black-cheeked gibbons, which were rediscovered in 1997 after having been considered to be extinct.

You can stay in tree houses that provide a breathtaking view of the forest canopy below, and enjoy other exciting jungle activities like zip lining while you’re there. As well as the world-famous gibbons, visitors to the park can also see elephants, bears, tigers, and buffalo, and countless species of birds.

Nong Khiaw

Nong Khiaw, often spelled Nong Kiau, is a picturesque location in Laos that is quickly becoming well-known as one of the top destinations in the country for those seeking solitude.

Great options for trekking and hiking exist here, and you can also spend time cycling among the picturesque towns that surround the main town.

As Nong Khiaw is located on the beautiful Nam Ou River, visitors can enjoy a relaxing boat ride while taking in the sights.

Limestone caves, such as the Pha Tok Caves, can be found in abundance in this region and are a fantastic destination for spelunkers due to the area’s proximity to stunning karst formations.


Tham Kong Lo

The Kong Lo Cave, also known as Tham Kong Lo, can be found in Phu Hin Bun National Park.

The park and cave are located on the banks of the Phu Hin Bun River, and the cave’s center chamber is often regarded as among the most breathtaking in all of Southeast Asia.

Jade-colored ponds, supposed to be the same color as the Hindu god Indra’s skin, are the cave’s claim to fame, and they help explain why it’s so long and deep (about 6.5 kilometers): 300 feet.

Seeing the cave’s rock crystals, stalagmites, and stalactites up close from a boat is the finest way to experience the cave.

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Luang Namtha

As the main city in the northwest of Laos, Luang Namtha is a major hub for travelers going between Laos and China.

Trekkers will love this area of Laos since they may explore the surrounding mountains and see the homes of the country’s many distinct ethnic minority groups.

Those who would rather not hike can instead rent bicycles or motorcycles and spend the day zipping between the many settlements and marveling at the stunning waterfalls that dot this region.

While in Luang Namtha proper, you can enjoy the town’s teeming local markets, tasty street food, and relaxing herbal baths.