Tell Me What To Do In Laos

LaosPhoto courtesy of Stephanie Yoder, Twenty-Something

For a while on LandLopers I had a regular feature called the Interactive Travel Guide. The idea was to throw out a destination and get you all to share your best tips and advice on what to do, see and eat. Some were more successful than others and after a while I just stopped publishing them. As I get ready for our big vacation in Southeast Asia though, I thought it would be a great time to bring this cool feature back and get some advice in the process.

I’ll post the full details of our trip next week, but an important stop is a new one for me, Laos. Specifically, we will be spending four days in Luang Prabang in the northern part of the country. Why are we going there? Well, I’ve never been and that’s almost always motivation enough for me to visit a place. But I was also influenced by a few travel experts. At the 2011 Travel and Adventure Show in Washington, DC I had the opportunity to interview several people, including Samantha Brown and the Lost Girls. In separate interviews I asked them for recommendations on cool new hotspots that aren’t on many people’s travel radar, and both named Laos. I was intrigued.

After some research and much waffling, we decided to add Laos to our itinerary. We both work full-time jobs, so we have to be frugal with our time but I really feel Luang Prabang will be a wonderful fit for us and our travel style. I have partnered with Orient-Express and their property La Résidence Phou Vao, in order to share their story of peaceful elegance in the city. The hotel looks stunning and I can’t wait to relax in this luxurious country retreat.

I’m not very good at relaxing though, so we’ll have to have plenty to do while visiting. I already know that one day will be spent visiting the Pak Ou Caves and surrounding countryside, a good way I hope of seeing more of Laos. But other than that, I really don’t know that much about Luang Prabang and could use your help.

I would love to hear what you have to say about the city and tell me what to do on our trip! Even if you haven’t visited Laos, what do you think would be a fun activity?

By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

11 thoughts on “Tell Me What To Do In Laos”

  1. Luang Prabang’s biggest attraction is its charm and laid back attitude. Wandering those old brick sidewalks its hard not to just soak up the atmosphere. But aside from the Pak Ou caves, there’s also a nice waterfall nearby (don’t remember the name) and there is no shortage of historic Wats to visit…some dating back over 500 years! There’s also the former palace, a nice (albeit very touristy) night market. And the thing to do is to get up at dawn and watch the monks collecting morning alms if you’ve never seen that before.

  2. The giving of the alms procession in the morning is definitely worth getting up at 6am, but make sure to follow some Do’s & Dont’s: We also took a cooking class at Tum Tum Cheng ( which was great & included a visit of the Morning Market which was very interesting (think fried rats and other culinary specialties ;-)..) We also loved the cheap steam rooms – ~$1.50 for as long as you want. We’d be happy to send some details if you’d like to go to one. And make sure not to miss the amazing sunsets over the Mekong River from Wat Chom Si ( Will you visit any other places in Laos?

  3. Luang Prabang is probably my favourite city in Asia. I just love it. My favourite thing to do is just walk around the streets and along the river fronts, it’s all you really need to do to experience the place. Definitely watch the sunset from Mt Phousi in the centre of town, check out Wat Xieng Thong and head to Kuang Si Waterfall.

  4. LP is great. Its an atmosphere that certainly takes a day to soak in- definitely check out the night market, watch the monks at sunrise and take a walk up Mount Phousi for the view. As for things to do, Tat Kuang Si (the main waterfall) is bloody cold but I really enjoyed it, wat xieng tong is good, theres the elephant village which is cool, or if you want to get involved in anything charity related, I’d recommend that a friend of mine coordinates a charity called Lao Project Group- give them a search on Facebook if interested! Hope you have an amazing time!

  5. This might sound overly simplistic but I would factor in a lot of time for just wandering and walking about. LP might be the most pedestrian friendly city in all of SE Asia with plenty of attractions to see and markets to visit.

  6. Thanks for all the great information everyone! It seems that taking it slow and not having an agenda is the best thing to do in Luang Prabang, and I can’t wait to try it out. :)

  7. Climb Phousi, go to Kuangsi Falls but also check out Big Brother Mouse which is a literacy project/bookshop – they have daily English classes and are always on the lookout for people to help out – we had great fun reading with locals. There’s also a Red Cross blood donation clinic in LP if you fancy doing your bit there as well/

  8. Explore this city on a hired retro push-bike. It’s easily the most ‘peaceful’ city I ve ever been to and this mode of transport suits it perfectly. Just make sure you tie down any bags you put in the front basket. We had a fellow traveller with us have his bag snatched from a passing motorbike, losing his diabetes insulin, passport and camera in one hit!

    I concur with the first comments recommendation of waking early and seeing the monks collect the morning offerings in a long single orange line- incredible photo opportunities…

  9. Kuang Si Waterfalls is a must and is just outside of LP. You can cycle there (a long-ish) ride or quite easily get cheap transport out there and is the perfect way to spend the day. At the beginning of the trailhead is an Asiatic Bear Sanctuary and as the trail goes along it follows these magnificent turquoise blue pools until reaching a very impressive waterfall. You can relax there for a bit or continue on to the top of the falls.

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