Compared to its Southeast Asia neighbors, Laos is still very much off the beaten path. Thanks to its status, this country is brimming with authentic charm and traditions spanning thousands of years.
With so many interesting attractions, lush nature and fun festivals, Laos certainly deserves a chance to be your next destination! Still not convinced? Here are just some of the reasons why you should get your visa (check the Laos visa requirements here) and book a ticket immediately.
Jaw-dropping and Varied Attractions
From mysterious ancient jars to gilded temples, Laos is chock-full of impressive places to visit. Here are a few to get you inspired:
Luang Prabang is the most visited city in Laos thanks to the numerous temples sprinkled everywhere. In fact, there are more than 30 temples here, from old to new, gilded and wooden, large and small, each decorated in its own unique style.
Although this city was once the capital of the Kingdom of Laos, it is now a small provincial town with 50,000-some inhabitants. Perfect for a quiet escape!
See the Alms Giving Ceremony
Also known as Tak Bat, the almsgiving is a sacred ceremony for boths locals and the monks, who depend on these daily offerings. Witnessing the Tak Bat is truly magical as Laotians gather in the morning to give food (usually sticky rice) while the monks form a line.
The Plain of Jars
The Plain of Jars may just be one of the most mysterious places in Laos. Located at the Xiangkhoang Plateau, the territory of the plains includes more than 60 sites where groups of huge jars are located — the largest jar weighs about 6 tons!
Perhaps the most interesting fact about this UNESCO World Heritage Site is that the type of stone from which these jugs were created is not found anywhere near this area. Therefore, the secret of these jugs — how they got there, why they were made, and who made them — is still unknown.
Take in the Peaceful Atmosphere
If you want to get away from the busy city life (or just want a relaxing holiday without noisy streets and crowds of tourists), Laos should be on your list.
A trip to this serene country, even if it’s just for three or four days, will show you a new type of rest and relaxation away from the bustle of the city. Choose between authentic places like Vang Vieng or Si Phan Don, where the main river of the country, the Mekong, rushes throughout the many islands found nearby.
Enjoy the Wildlife
The majority of Laos is covered in tropical forests and mountains. In fact, more than 600 species of trees and flora grow within the perimeter of the country, the most valuable of which is the famous mahogany tree. Due to its almost untouched natural beauty, Laos has become a favorite place for lovers of nature, eco-tourism, and even adventure travelers.
Some of the most popular nature activities in Laos include rock climbing on the cliffs of Nong Khiaw, exploring the Tham Kong Lo cave hidden in the wild limestone mountains of central Laos, or simply relaxing near a waterfall.
Try Delicious Local Food
Local food in Laos includes a mix of different cuisines that is fairly similar to neighboring countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
Most dishes start off with a base of rice, vegetables and seasonings, after which fish and meat are added. Laotians have honed their culinary style for generations, and even food made from simple ingredients might surprise you with their taste and ingenuity.
Looking for an afternoon pick-me-up? Try a delicious cup of coffee from Paksong, which is considered the best city in Southeast Asia for growing coffee beans.
Festivals are one of the best ways to get to know the local culture and customs while enjoying a fun experience at the same time. Thankfully, Laos has plenty of festivals all year round.
One of the main festivals in Laos is Bun Pi Mai, the traditional Laotian New Year celebrated in April. A whole series of festive events lasts anywhere from three days to an entire week, during which Laotians pour water on each other, release birds, hold festivals and concerts and visit the temple on the first day of the new year.
Another festival, one of the oldest in the country, is the Bun Bang Fai Rain Festival or “Rocket Festival” which takes place in May. During this festival, people celebrate by launching rockets and firecrackers to remind the gods that the earth needs rain. Throughout the festival, you can admire the explosions of thousands of fireworks and rockets, as well as watch the float parade and various dance performances.