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Towns & Cities

View of Luang Prabang from Mount Phousi

Luang Prabang

The georgeous city of Luang Prabang, once the capital of Laos and still considered to be its spiritual heart, breathes a rich mould of French Indochinese architecture, Theravada Buddhist temples and a magical atmosphere. Situated on a peninsula formed by the confluence of the Mekong and the Khan rivers, the town is simply beautiful and oozes a chocolate box like charm. Its palm-lined riverbanks, terracotta roofs, golden stupas and saffron-robed monks all come together to form a picture postcard, which is increasingly difficult to find in Southeast Asia. No visit to Laos is complete without visiting Luang Prabang and when you do you will be sure to want to return to experience the feeling of this town again and again.

Area Highlights: Traditional Alms, Markets, Architecture, Mount Phousi, Pak Ou Caves, Kamu Lodge, Kuang Si Waterfall, Golf

Area Activities: Kamu Life Experience, Kuang Si Waterfall, Laos Elephant Safari, Learn to play Petanque, Luang Prabang City Tour, Golf, Morning Alms & Market Tour, Pak Ou Caves & Whisky Village


Pak Beng Town

Pak Beng

Pak Beng sits midway between Huay Xai and Luang Prabang to the west on the Mekong River. As the river was once the only major transport route in the country, Pak Beng has developed in to an overnight stop for both cargo and passenger ferries. This route down the Mekong river, is absolutely spectacular and it remains a popular transport route; meaning Pak Beng town is flourishing. Set in a particularly scenic spot, where the Nam Beng flows into the Mekong (Pak means mouth, and Beng is the name of the river) Pak Beng is also the stopping point for river cruises starting from Huay Xai on the Laos and Thailand border.

Area Highlights: River Cruises, Local Riverside Life


Muang La Resort

Oudomxay

Oudomxay is a province in Northern Laos, consists of several villages (called “ban”) and two bigger towns: Muang Xay (the provincial capital) and Pak Beng. The province is home for several ethnic groups which you can experience in villages, where people still live their traditional life. There is not a huge amount to see in Oudomxay and the town is used as a stepping stone to getting back to Luang Prabang after a Nam Ou river adventure. The town offers one good hotel option but many travellers that can afford to treat themselves have the option of staying at the lovely spa hotel in Muang La.

Area Highlights: River Cruises, Local Riverside Life, Hot Springs, Walking, Cycling, Cooking


Phonsavan's Plain of Jars

Phonsavan

The bustling town of Phonsavan is the capital of Xieng Khuang province and is famous for being the most heavily bombed in Laos. Today the region remains littered with unexploded ordinance (UXO) and the evidence is everywhere. The resourceful locals use bomb casings and other remnants for every purpose imaginable: as fences and parts of their housing, as tools, vegetable planters, decorations and barbecue fireplaces. The province is also the site of the incredible and mysterious Plain of Jars; which are literally huge stone vessels, believed to be ancient funerary urns. The origin of these enormous jars is unclear and the area has 3 of these mysterious sites for you to discover.

Area Highlights: Plain of Jar sites 1, 2 & 3, Tham Piu Caves, Tham Xang Caves

Area Activities: Plain of Jars & War Caves Tour


Nam Ou River

Nong Khiaw

Nong Khiau is a small picturesque and rustic town that lies on the crossroads of the bridge that leads to Sam Neua and the Nam Ou River. This little settlement is blessed with probably some of the most attractive natural settings in Northern Laos, with stunning vertical limestone mountains that fall in to the river below. The town is used as a one or two night stop on our Non Khiaw river adventure and is a wonderful place to sit back relax and fine oneself.

Area Highlights: Local Massage, Sunset Hill, Riverside Viewing


Sun setting on the Nam Tha river

Luang Namtha

Nestled in the north of mountainous Laos, just a hop, skip and a jump from the Chinese border, Luang Nam Tha has a remote, cowboy town feel to it but makes an excellent base for exploring the many natural wonders of the province of which it is capital. Formed by three long, straight and flat roads, the town and its life centres around its two markets. Trekking, mountain-biking, rafting and kayaking are among the growing number of ways to enjoy the stunning scenery surrounding Luang Nam Tha. As many argue, tourism here can help send a message to locals that their culture and forests are important and valuable in their own right. Money you spend on access permits goes to wildlife and forest conservation projects.

Area Highlights: Trekking, Mountain Biking, Kayaking


Laotian girls clad in traditional clothing

Sam Neua

Sam Neua lies in a small picturesque valley and is a town of white concrete houses topped with red roofs, surrounded by the vibrant green of rice fields and the grey-green of the mountains. The town is famous for two major reasons. Firstly, for the locally-woven fabrics, which are sought after across Laos and considered the most eye-catching and beautifully crafted pieces in markets and shops. And secondly, Sam Neua is the perfect base for those wanting to explor the nearby Vieng Xai Caves. A number of the caves are open to visitors, giving you an insight into the dark and damp conditions that the Pathet people lived to avoid being bombed by the Americans between 1944 and 1975.

Area Highlights: Vieng Xai Caves

Pakse Airport

Pakse

The town of Pakse itself offers the visitor a scattering of French colonial style buildings and beautiful Wat Poratana Sadsadaram (Wat Luang Temple) which is located in the centre of Pakse district. In all honesty there is not a lot on offer in Pakse and we mainly just get guests in and out of the airport as it is the gateway to the countries south. However saying this there are some great festivals that take place, such as a boat racing festival and a parade of big Mark Beng (folded banana leaves) which is held during Ork Pan Sa day (Buddhist day) in mid-October.

Area Highlights: Wat Luang Temple


Wat Phu Temple

Champasak

Only a short distance from Pakse, Champasak is the true travellers gate way to the Souths magical 400 0Islands. The town itself which lies on the banks of the Mekong river is extremely sleepy but simply oozes with charm and nostalgia. The area is the perfect start or end point to discover the regions beautiful waterway and also boasts the most stunning of hill side temples. The highlight in the area is the majestic Wat Phu temple; this beautiful temple is unique as it rests on the side of a hill which is pretty uncommon. Making it a favourite amongst visitors to the area.

Area Highlights: Wat Phu, 4000 Islands

Area Activities: Wat Pho Temple Tour


Bolaven Plateau waterfall

Bolaven Plateau

The Bolaven Plateau is located in an ancient volcano that erupted millions of years ago, with the area spaning 50 km of Southern Laos most vegetated area. From an altitude of 800 and 1350 metres (Paksong area) it is green all year round and cooler than the rest of Laos. Surrounding the plateau there are a number of protected national parks, dramatic waterfalls, remote hill tribes, dense jungle and a taste of some of the world’s best coffee beans. Paksong is the heart of the plateau, the small but charming town branches off into the vast areas of Saravan or Attapeu, known for its rich coffee, relaxing climate and friendly citizens, it is an area full of tranquillity.

Area Highlights: Waterfalls, Elephants, Coffee


St. Teresa Catholic Church

Savannakhet

Savannakhet Province is situated in the middle of the country and the largest province, bordered by Vietnam to the East and Thailand to the West. 60% of the land is covered by forests and the area consists of 15 districts namely. The province is also the most populated province in the country with a population of about a million. A wide variety of ethnic groups are found in the province: Lowland Lao, Phoutai, Thai Dam, Katang, Mangkong, Vali, Lava, Soui, Kapo, Kaleung and Ta-Oi. In addition, many Vietnamese and Chinese descendants live in the province as well; this fact makes the province rich in cultural and gastronomic diversity.

Area Highlights: Colonial Architecture


Elephant walking through a field

Ban Khiet Ngong

The quaint, out-of-the-way village of Ban Khiet Ngong is a good example of how the Lao government is trying to develop a smooth-running, ecologically friendly tourist infrastructure that brings much-needed income to remote regions of Laos. As you enter the village, you’ll see an elephant platform on the left, which makes it possible to get on and off the beautiful creatures. The only tourist friendly place in town is peaceful Kingfisher Eco Lodge, which is highly recommended to enjoy elephant treks, walks and a place to really conect with nature.

Area Highlights: Elephants, Trekking


4000 islands Laos holiday

4000 Islands

The Four Thousand Islands has three main destinations that we concentrate: Don Khone Island, Don Daeng and Champassak. The area is perfect to explore by traditional boat and there are endless things to see on your journeys between the islands. Once you are on dry land the islands themselves are fascinating to explore. On Don Khone, discover the island by bike, tracing the route of the old abandoned railway and admire the old French Colonial buildings as well as the beautiful Liphi waterfall. Don Daeng offers a rich heritage of many culturally important sites, including an ancient brick stupa, a collection of stone Buddha images, and the nearby ruins of Tomo Temple. The main sightseeing point in the area is the magnificently situated Wat Phu that lies on the side of a steep hill. An ancient religious complex dating back to the 5th century and is a highlight of any holiday to Laos.

Area Highlights: Waterfalls, Boat Trips, Cycling, Wat Phu

Area Activities: 4000 Islands & Waterfall Tour

Patuxai Monument in Vientiane

Vientiane

Situated on a curve of the Mekong River, Laos’s Capital has a recorded history that stretches back to around 1,000 AD. The area was originally settled because of the fertility of the surrounding alluvial plains, and Vientiane became the capital city of Laos around the mid 16th century. Compared to the hectic, bustling capitals in other South-east Asian countries, Vientiane’s deliciously relaxing atmosphere makes it feel like the small town it is.

Home to the most significant national monument in Laos: That Luang (Great Stupa), which is the symbol of Lao sovereignty and an icon of Buddhism in Laos. Of the many beautiful Wats in Vientiane, a visit to Wat Sisaket is a must; built in 1818, this is one of the oldest temples in Vientiane. Other Buddhist holy places are Wat Ong Teu Mahavihan, known for its 16th century bronze Buddha sheltered by a carved wooden masterpiece and Wat Si Meuang home to the guardian spirit of the city. Spend a morning in the Lao National Museum, which displays an interesting mixture of revolutionary and contemporary exhibitions. The main sights in Vientiane are only a short walk or bicycle ride from most hotels. Wat Xieng Khouan, better known as the Buddha Park, should not also be missed.

Shopping for handicrafts is easy in Vientiane; visit the Talat Sao (morning market) for a wide range of colourful textiles including silks, wall-hangings and other decorative pieces. Keep your eyes open for traditional wood carvings, mulberry paper and a variety of basketry made from bamboo.

Area Highlights: Patuxai Monument, Wat Sisaket, Wat Prakeo, The Golden Stupa of ‘That Luang’, COPE Centre, Buddha Park, Laos Disabled Women’s Centre, Thongkhankham Market, Wat Si Meuang, Wat Ong Teu Mahavihan, Laos National Museum

Area Activities: Golf, Vientiane Evening Food Tour, Quirky Buddha Park, Vientiane City Tour


Canoe on the bank of the Nam Song river

Vang Vieng

The small town of Vang Vieng located 150km north of the Vientiane Capital is place of dreamlike landscapes, bizarre limestone mountain peaks and scenic cliffs, with the Nam Song (Song River) bisecting the town. A highlight of the area hidden amougst the limestone mountains are a network of caves waiting to be discovered. There are a variety of well-developed tourism services in Vang Vieng and a wide range of accommodations. Water sports such as kayaking and tubing are popular and rock climbing is also a growing pastime. Nearby you can visit some 16th & 17th century monasteries, traditional Hmong villages and a small man-made reservoir known as Nong Nok near Ban Sivilay. This is a great bird watching site but you can also see some ancient Vang Xang Buddha images and sculptures that have been carved into the side of a sandstone escarpment.

Area Highlights: Kayaking, Canoeing, Caving, Climbing, Bird Watching

Area Highlights: Canoeing & Kayaking Tours, Rock Climbing & Caving

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang

Pak Beng

Pak Beng

Oudomxay

Oudomxay

Phonsavan

Phonsavan

Nong Khiaw

Nong Khiaw

Luang Namtha

Luang Namtha

Sam Neua

Sam Neua

Pakse

Pakse

Champasak

Champasak

Bolaven Plateau

Bolaven Plateau

Savannakhet

Savannakhet

Ban Khiat Ngong

Ban Khiat Ngong

4000 Islands

4000 Islands

Vientiane

Vientiane

Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng

Towns & Cities in Laos

Have a look at all the cities and towns of Laos

Laos has no shortage of captivating destination to visit on your holiday. Refer to our Towns & cities guide to plan the perfect trip.

Essential Laos Travel Information

(Check out our helpful travel information before leaving home)


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Our Favourite Hotels in Laos

View our recommended hotels for your next Laos holiday

There are so many beautiful hotels to choose from in Laos. So we have selected a few of our most favourite and characterful hotels; giving you a taste of what you can expect.

Our most popular Activities in Laos

Browse through our Laos Activity suggestions and get some inspiration.
We can then add any activity you want and tailor-make a Laos holiday just for you!

Our most popular Laos Holidays

Browse through our Laos holiday suggestions and get some inspiration.
We can then tailor-make a Laos holiday just for you!

Laos Golf Tour

Laos Golf Tour

8 Days / 7 Nights
Price from: $999 per person

Laos Vietnam Tour | From One Million Elephants to 2000 Islands

Laos Vietnam Tour | From One Million Elephants to 2000 Islands

14 Days / 13 Nights
Price from: $2,699 per person

Following the Nine Tailed Dragon (Cambodia, Laos & Vietnam)

Following the Nine Tailed Dragon (Cambodia, Laos & Vietnam)

18 Days / 17 Nights
Price from: $3,499 per person

Heritage of Indochina (Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia)

Heritage of Indochina (Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia)

15 Days / 14 Nights
Price from: $2,999 per person

Laos & Thailand Boat Cruises

Laos & Thailand Boat Cruises

3 to 11 Day Cruises
Price from: $499 per person

Hill Tribes & Highlands of Laos

Hill Tribes & Highlands of Laos

12 Days / 11 Nights
Price from: $2,399 per person

Cultural Laos and the 4000 Islands

Cultural Laos and the 4000 Islands

10 Days / 9 Nights
Price from: $1,999 per person

Explore Laos

Explore Laos

11 Days / 10 Nights
Price from: $1,999 per person

Laos Heart, Soul & Spirit

Laos Heart, Soul & Spirit

7 Days / 6 Nights
Price from: $1,299 per person

Northern Laos Explorer (Starting in Thailand)

Northern Laos Explorer (Starting in Thailand)

10 Days / 9 Nights
Price from: $2,599 per person

4000 Islands, Elephants, Wild Coffee & Waterfalls

4000 Islands, Elephants, Wild Coffee & Waterfalls

8 Days / 7 Nights
Price from: $1,549 per person

Luang Prabang Uncovered

Luang Prabang Uncovered

5 Days / 4 Nights
Price from: $699 per person

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