With its landscapes still preserved from mass tourism, Laos has managed to preserve all its authenticity. Less famous than its neighbours, and despite the lack of access to the sea, the country of a million elephants does not lack assets. Bordered by Thailand, Vietnam, Burma and Cambodia, this country of only seven million inhabitants extends over more than one thousand six hundred kilometers from North to South, over an area of two hundred and thirty-six thousand kilometers. square.
Marked by the Khmer civilization, Hinduism then Buddhism, and finally French colonization, Laos offers a rich and fascinating culture, in a luxuriant nature, which covers nearly seventy percent of its territory. In Laos, each of your discoveries will take place in a serene, warm and gentle atmosphere. This is an Asian country that will undoubtedly satisfy your desire for adventure, nature and calm.
Your backpack is ready? Come and discover the 15 most beautiful places to visit in Laos.
1. Pha that Luang
To get your trip off to a good start, head to Vientiane, the country’s capital, to admire one of the most beautiful places to visit in Laos: Pha That Luang . This huge Buddhist monument is forty-five meters high and sixty-nine meters wide. Entirely covered with more than five hundred kilos of gold leaf and precious metals, this symbol of the past splendor of Laos dates from 1566.
Do not hesitate to visit the interior and stroll through the surrounding gardens. You will be amazed!
2. Wat Phra Keo
Wat Phra Keo is also located in the city of Vientiane. Destroyed several times by the Siamese invasions, then rebuilt, this temple for a long time housed the Emerald Buddha, who is now in Bangkok . For that alone, Vat Phra Keo is worth the detour!
3. Luang Prabang
The city of Luang Prabang is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Laos. This colonial city and former royal capital is located in the hollow of the mountains, on the banks of the mythical Mekong. You will be charmed by the atmosphere that reigns in this small town.
Take the time to stroll through the pedestrian streets, and look up to admire the colonial architecture and the colorful houses. Night market, charming stalls, processions of monks, everything in Luang Prabang invites you to marvel at the senses.
And then, take a detour to the temples of the city. Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham will amaze you with its sumptuous decorations and impressive dimensions. Built in the 18th century, it is located very close to the Royal Palace. The elegant Wat Xieng Thong temple is also worth a visit. This Buddhist temple was founded in 1560 by King Setthathirat of Lan Xang.
If you want to enjoy a panoramic view of the city, climb the three hundred steps to reach the top of Phu Si mountain . At the same time, you can admire That Chomsi, a white and gold stupa, surmounted by seven royal umbrellas, caves and Buddha statues.
4. Nong Khiaw Village
Take a small boat from Muang Khua and peacefully reach the small village of Nong Khiaw , one of the most beautiful places to visit in Laos.
You can admire the white limestone cliffs, caves and a lush tropical jungle. Every year, boat races are organized. Sliding sports enthusiasts will undoubtedly appreciate this place conducive to nautical sessions.
5. The Mekong
Almost all life in Laos is organized around this legendary river. By taking one of the many cruises at your disposal, you can admire the floating villages, the desert islands, the green rice fields and better understand the life of the Laotians. A trip along the water not to be missed!
In some places, it is possible to swim in the Mekong, but beware of the current which can sometimes be strong. For safe swimming, find out beforehand and do not stray far from the shore.
6. Vang Vieng
Welcome to Vang Vieg , by the Nam Song River, not far from Vientiane.
You will fall in love with this little paradise. So take out your camera, the landscapes are absolutely splendid! Kayaking, climbing, trekking, sports enthusiasts will also be delighted by the discovery of one of the essential places to visit in Laos.
7. The Bolaven Plateau
Are you looking for a virgin and heavenly destination? Take the direction of the Bolavens plateau . In the lush jungle, you will be amazed by exceptional waterfalls. Do not miss that of Tad Champee or the magnificent twin waterfalls, Tad Fane and Tad Katamkok.
A little heatstroke? Immerse yourself in the crystal clear waters of the surrounding rivers. A magical place out of time. For the record, this is where one of the best coffees in the world is grown: don’t miss tasting it!
8. Wat Phou
Want to discover one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Laos? Take the direction of Wat Phou , which will undoubtedly make you think of the famous temples of Angkor. Located in the middle of nature, at the foot of the sacred Phu Kao mountain, just eight kilometers from Champassak, this huge temple was built between the 9th and 12th centuries. It was not until the 16th century that it became a Buddhist temple. Built on more than eighty hectares and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the temple is considered a representation of paradise on earth.
For the bravest, take the direction of the top of the sanctuary to admire a breathtaking view. Amazement guaranteed!
9. Kuang Si Waterfalls
Without hesitation, the Kuang Si Falls are one of the most beautiful places to visit in Laos. Very close to Luang Prabang, in the middle of a bamboo forest, in a turquoise blue basin, flows a multitude of waterfalls in which you can refresh yourself.
You will, for sure, be dazzled by the nature that surrounds these fabulous Kuang Si waterfalls.
10. Kong Lor Caves
Photo credit: Shutterstock / Tong_stocker
Embark on a canoe for a cruise by the light of your flashlight, and discover the Kong Lor caves . The visit extends over seven kilometers and the discovery is impressive. An experience not to be missed. Claustrophobes, abstain!
11. Muang Ngoi Neua
Built on the edge of the Nam Ou tributary, between mountains and karstic cliffs, the small village of Muang Ngoi Neua will charm you with its authenticity. Here, life flows slowly and modernity still seems a long way off. Eight hundred inhabitants still live here, mainly thanks to fishing, agriculture and tourism.
12. Buddha Park
Only twenty-five kilometers from the city of Vientiane, along the Mekong, you will discover the Buddha Park, a public park, created in 1958 by a shaman-priest-yogi, whose objective was to merge philosophy, Hindu and Buddhist mythology and iconography. The idea, somewhat absurd, gives an astonishing result. But shh, we won’t tell you more and we’ll let you discover, for yourself, one of the most surprising places to visit in Laos.
13. Bokeo Nature Reserve
Do you like jungle treks? In the north-west of Laos, not far from the Thai and Burmese borders, is the Bokéo nature reserve , developed in 2004, in order to preserve the one hundred and twenty-three thousand hectares of virgin forest and its incredible biodiversity.
It is an ideal place to observe many insects and birds, but also monkeys, elephants or buffaloes. You might even spot tigers and bears!
14. Si Phan Don or the 4000 islands
Here is a real corner of paradise, which you will soon consider as one of the most beautiful places to visit in Laos. In reality, there are not four thousand islands, but only a hundred islets spread over the Mekong River, on the Cambodian border, in the province of Champasak .
Only three of them are inhabited: Don Det, Don Khong and Don Khone. To visit them, take one of the canoes that leave regularly from the city of Pakse. You will spend a day of relaxation with the family, cycling in a fabulous environment. Know that it is possible, if you wish, to stay several days in bungalows, arranged on the island of Don Det.
15. Khone Phapheng Falls
On the island of Don Phapheng, you will most certainly be captivated by the Khone Phapheng waterfalls, which culminate at twenty-one meters high. Know that these are the largest waterfalls in Southeast Asia and the longest rapids in the world, since they extend over more than ten kilometers. Impressive, isn’t it?
Have you ever visited this beautiful country? Share in comment your most beautiful places to visit in Laos!