13 September 2018
The mountainous, landlocked country of Laos is one of Southeast Asia’s greatest tourist destinations: an unassuming, friendly land full of natural beauty and interesting cultural sites. The sleepy, languid nature of Laos’ capital Vientiane is symbolic of the easy-going, relaxed atmosphere that permeates the entire country. Unmissable tourist sites in Vientiane include Pha That Luang, a gorgeous Buddhist temple, and Buddha Park, housing a wonderfully bizarre collection of both Buddhist and Hindu religious edifices. However, the number one tourist destination in Laos remains the UNESCO World Heritage city of Luang Prabang. A mixture of authentic culture and modern convenience, in Luang Prabang monks in orange robes stroll past a curious mixture of traditional wooden houses and French colonial architecture, while a bustling cafe culture plays out on the banks of the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers.
Best time to visit Laos
Laos has a tropical climate, characterised by high temperatures all year round. The Monsoon Season (May to October) is slightly cooler, but very wet. The best time to visit Laos is between November and March, although this is high tourist season and so accommodation prices may be higher than they are at other times of the year. Between March and May Laos experiences a very hot season, with daytime temperatures often reaching 104°F (40°C).
Recommended length of stay: 4-10 days to experience the diverse landscapes of Laos
Local currency: Laos Kip (LAK)
Top three experiences
Cooking experience at Vanvisa, Luang Prabang
Just a few hundred metres from the Kuang Sy waterfalls, take part in a cooking class that will allow you to discover the authentic taste of Lao cuisine. The class will take place in a lush green area overlooking a small waterfall of turquoise water, and after the preparation of four different dishes, the lunch will be shared together with your host.
Artist in residence, Luang Prabang
Tiao Nithakhong Somsanith is a descendant of Vang Na, in the line of Viceroys proceeding from the former Luang Prabang monarchy. Learn more about the life, culture and traditional arts of Luang Prabang, including flower arrangement, embroidery art work, stencilling and water colour painting.
Baci Ceremony, Luang Prabang
Attend a Baci “Soukhouan” ceremony, one of the most popular traditions in Laos and an integral aspect of many important life events. This solemn ceremony will allow you to better understand the local beliefs, and can be followed by a dance show accompanied by traditional music instrumentation or a dinner in the local house for a more immersive experience.
Where would you like to visit on your next adventure? Contact your local Travel Counsellor for a tailor-made holiday, or read our Authentic Encounters brochure for more inspiration.