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Wat Phou

Things to do in Laos

The diverse scenery and rich culture in Laos provide a wealth of activities to experience. A journey along the Nam Ou River lets you explore limestone cliffs and caves as well as meet local hill tribes, while witnessing the daily alms-giving in Luang Prabang offers an insight into sacred traditions.

One of the top things to do, however, is a visit to the UNESCO site of Wat Phou where ancient temple ruins lie among tropical foliage. Alternatively, you could cruise, cycle or walk around the picturesque 4,000 Islands region or take the Nam Nern Night Safari to spot some of Laos’ rare wildlife such as slow loris and wild dogs.

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Audley Travel specialist Ian

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Ideas for experiencing Laos

Experiences you have as you travel often hold the longest memories. As part of their research trips, our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know Laos, and the best local guides. These activities reflect some of their best-loved experiences.

  • Pak Ou caves

    Nam Ou River Adventure

    Luang Prabang

    The Ou River is a tributary of the Mekong and its valley has some of the most stunning scenery in the whole of Laos. You will take longtail motor boats to cover the distance through the valley back to Luang Prabang, stopping en-route to visit some of the local hill tribe villages and the holy Pak Ou Caves.

  • Kayaking, Vang Vieng, Laos

    Caves & kayaking around Vang Vieng

    Vang Vieng

    The day begins with a short road transfer to the Kamu village of Vieng Samay, roughly 6 miles (10 km) north of Vang Vieng. After an introduction to the basics of kayaking you will head off, with the Nam Song offering various small but fun rapids on the way to the first stop at the Tham Sim cave.

  • Vieng Xai Caves

    Vieng Xai Caves Excursion

    Sam Neau

    Approximately 30km from Sam Neua town are the fascinating caves of the former Pathet Lao Headquarters. Vieng Xai was home to the leaders of the Communist led revolution during their struggle against the French Colonial regime and later the American government.

  • Kuang Si Waterfall, Luang Prabang

    Kuang Si Waterfalls

    Luang Prabang

    Kuang Si Falls are thirty kilometers from town. The excursion leaves Luang Prabang in the morning and heads towards Ban Ou by boat.

  • Village scene, Northern Laos

    Ikho Tribe Village Visit

    From the resort you take a 4 x 4 transfer to one of the most intriguing villages in the area, the road runs parallel with the Nam Phak river and the journey to the Ikho villages is incredibly scenic.

  • Temple, Luang Prabang

    Luang Prabang Discovery

    Luang Prabang

    The day is spent with your guide discovering the magical temples and ancient crafts practiced in this beautiful city in the mountains. Exactly what you choose to do on this day is up to you and can be discussed with your guide.

  • Tum Tum Cheung cookery course

    Tamarind Cooking Class

    Learn about fascinating local ingredients and Lao culinary customs on this one-day course. Vegetarians are also very easily accommodated, and a full recipe list will be given to you to take home.

  • The Akha village of Ban Nam Yang

    Ban Nam Yang Trek

    In the morning guests are taken to the 'Green Discovery' office in town to meet your guide and be debriefed about the local area, wildlife and culture and customs within Ban Nam Yang, an Akha village located two hours walk inside the national park.

  • Pha That Luang, Vientiane

    Vientiane City Tour

    Vientiane

    The first stop of the tour is the National Museum, where you can follow the history of Laos from pre-history to the present day.

  • Nam Nern Night Safari

    Nam Nern Night Safari

    Nam Et-Phou Louey

    Located in the only accessible area of the remote Nam Et-Phou Louey National Park in north eastern Laos, the Nam Nern Night Safari provides one of the few opportunities in Laos to view rare wildlife. This tour has been designed to create a direct link between conservation and tourism so that the money you pay has a positive impact on encouraging local people to protect endangered tigers and other wildlife.

  • Vat Phou Cruise in the 4000 islands

    Vat Phou Rice Barge

    4,000 Islands

    This sympathetically converted rice barge cruises between Pakse and the Four Thousand Islands area of southern Laos.

  • Traditional dress

    Evening Baci Ceremony

    Luang Prabang

    The Baci ceremony is a mix of Animism and Buddhism. These ceremonies are common to Laos. Their purpose is to call back your own spirits to your body because they sometimes escape.

  • Nong Khiaw, Laos

    Explore Around Nong Khiaw

    Nong Khiaw

    Beginning with a leisurely boat ride up the Nam Ou to Muong Ngoi, a remote and extremely beautiful mountainous area north of Nong Khiaw, you then take a light trek through the fields and forest.

  • Workers at the Living Land Rice Experience, Luang Prabang

    Living Land Rice Experience

    Luang Prabang

    This is a great opportunity to experience the hard life of a farmer and try your hand at some of the activities, such as working with Suzuki the water buffalo, in knee-deep muddy rice paddies. Enjoyable and very educational, you will learn about the 13 steps and various methods involved in planting, growing, harvesting and cooking rice.

  • Khone Papeng waterfall

    4000 Islands Tour

    A private tour with your guide and driver around the 4000 Islands area, exploring this fascinating region by car and boat. The whole day will give you a wonderful insight into this unique region and a chance to soak up the laid back atmosphere of this remote part of the world.

  • Phasouame Waterfalls, Bolavens Plateau

    Exploring the Bolaven Plateau

    This fertile area of southern Laos is renowned for the high quality coffee that it produces, a practice that originated with the French during their time in the region.

  • Ou river scenery

    100 waterfalls trek from Nong Khiaw

    Nong Khiaw

    Walking through small streams and rice paddies you arrive at the bottom of the 100 waterfalls which were only first explored by non-locals in late 2008. The next few hours you will encounter only water and jungle and hear the sound of the waterfall cascades as you physically work your way up through the various levels which stretch upwards for around 1.2 miles (2 km).

  • Pak Ou boat, Luang Prabang

    Luang Say Cruise

    One of the best ways to enter Laos is by river from the Thai border. The journey takes you through surprisingly varied scenery, from remote 6,000 foot mountains to lunar rock faces and sandbanks.

  • Plain of Jars near Phonsovan

    The Plain of Jars

    The Plain of Jars

    Spend around half a day visiting the main sites where the mysterious jars are located. You can discuss the various theories about their origin but you will have to make your own decision because nobody knows the reason for their existence for certain!

  • Wat Phou

    UNESCO site of Wat Phou

    Dominated by the vast expanse of the Mekong River, this sleepy tropical region is home to the temple ruins of Wat Phou, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.

  • Chillis and Kaffir Lime Leaves; Phonsavan Market, Laos

    Culinary delights tour of Vientiane

    Vientiane

    Visit Lam Pai-Bay Tong, a rustic restaurant/cooking school close to the Mekong River where you will learn how to create three local dishes using traditional ingredients and techniques.

  • Daily river life, Hin Boun, Laos

    Hin Bun River Trip

    Guests are collected from their hotel and driven into the stunning National Biodiversity Conservation Area of Phu Hin Bun. Covering over 1500 sq km of stunning countryside, this is an unspoilt wilderness of bubbling streams, primary monsoon forests, striking karst limestone outcrops and isolated rural villages.

  • Alms Giving Luang Prabang

    Alms Giving

    Luang Prabang

    Each morning at dawn in Luang Prabang the local Buddhist monks form a procession around the streets of this charming town, collecting alms of rice and vegetables from the local population.