Laos is as a landlocked country of northeast-central mainland Southeast Asia, surrounded by Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, China, and Cambodia. Laos is a mountainous country especially in the north, and is known for intriguing and interesting history, vibrant culture and beautiful untouched natural scenery. We will show you our favorite instagrammable places in Laos in this blog post.
Laos is also one of the five remaining ‘communist’ countries in the world, along with North Korea, China, Cuba and Vietnam. Laos is considered as one of the poorest yet friendliest countries in the world. Most of the Laotians live in small rural communities near the river.
Mostly, people don’t have running water in their homes but the families put an effort on working really hard together to have enough food and water for their daily living. And these circumstances won’t stop them, since their Buddhist beliefs help them find the real meaning of genuine happiness through having a simple life. If you get to explore the beauty and culture of Laos, it will prove you that life and experiences you’ll have there will be utterly invaluable.
How to get to Laos
Easiest way to get there is by plane. Most of the travelers who visit Laos book a flight at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok and make their way up north into Laos through Vientiane. Air fares are cheap especially if you are from Thailand and Malaysia. A valid passport is required and it must have at least six months validity remaining from the date of entry.
Tourist visas are also required. Citizens of US, and other European countries must have visa to enter Laos. Tourist visas typically permit a stay in Laos of up to 30 days. You can get your visas upon arriving and it will cost you around $35-40 USD.
Best Time to Visit Laos
Wet season in Laos is from May to October and it will be the hottest between March to April. The best time to visit Laos is from November to April when daytime temperatures are warm and dry. If you are after the rivers, it is the best to visit from November and January, when high water levels make passage easy especially along the Mekong River.
If you want to sign up for Airbnb, we give you $30 USD credit with your first booking!
Instagrammable Places in Laos
1. Kuang Si Waterfalls
Kuang Si is ranked as one of the best places to visit in Luang Prabang. So putting it in your Laos itinerary would be the best decision. Along with Kuang Si falls natural mind-blowing beauty, you can swim in at the main areas where pools are turquoise blue in color. They also have ropes where you can swing and a tree you can jump off into the pools from. So, soak yourself in in some series of pool and vibrant blue waters!
2. Buddha Park
Buddha Park, also known as Xieng Khuan, is a popular sculpture park with a collection of hundreds of Buddhist and Hindu statues including a huge 40-meter high reclining Buddha image. The park tends to get busy with both tourists and locals, but everyone will enjoy fresh air and sun while wandering around the hundreds of bizarre statues, yet very interesting and worthy to take a look at! And it is also the best place for your thirst of photography.
3. 4,000 Islands
Along the windy section of the Mekong, you’ll certainly find scattered islands both large and small. Most of the islands are isolated, too tiny for roads, and the area has not long had electricity. Don Det and Don Khon are the most visited islands, which are actually next to each other and connected by a bridge, means you can ride a bicycle across two whole islands.
When you wander around the main street, you will notice how chilled out this place is, and there are lots of small cafes and restaurants, too. You can simply check out the scenic river views, beautiful waterfalls, and traces of French colonial architecture. Island life will be the best here!
4. Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng
The Blue Lagoon is one of the most instagrammable places in Laos and famous attractions in Vang Vieng. You can have a lot of adventures there since they have activities like rope swings and zip-lines that are actually cheap for an unforgettable experience.
It is often crowded with people trying to cool down from the Laos heat but still, it will be a great spot for you because it is an absolute paradise to chill with crystal blue waters, have some beer, enjoy the sun, be astonished by its beauty and relax!
5. The Alms Giving Ceremony
The sacred Lao tradition, the Buddhist Alms Giving Ceremony, is conducted in Luang Prabang. It became a tourist attraction because visitors are encouraged here to be involved as long as paying respect is kept throughout. The ceremony starts at 6 in the morning, so you should come 30 minutes or an hour before and find some place to sit around the roads, to witness the long lines of monks passing.
You will be fascinated with how well-organized it is by the city as a religion and cultural activity. And it will simply amaze you to witness how dedicated the children are, and it is also a pleasant way for them to see a different walk of life.
More Instagrammable Places in Laos
6. Hot Air Balloon in Vang Vieng
If you want to chill and have a relaxing day, take a hot air balloon flight in Vang Vieng. You can watch how balloons get set-up and be amazed to watch its process. And once you’re up above, you’ll get to see spectacular rural scenery, beautiful green mountains and incredible limestone formations.
You’ll simply spot a neat perspective of Vang Vieng. The flight will be smooth as well as the landing. A reservation will cost you $90-$100 but it will surely be worth it!
Vientiane is the capital of Laos. There are a lot of monuments in the city and one of them is Pha That Luang Tours which happens to be the most important monument in Laos since it was built during the 3rd century and is said to be holding a piece of Buddha’s breastbone. These Buddhist structures owe their survival to the French, who rebuilt and restored many of Vientiane’s old temples.
You can also grab a drink or beer and enjoy the sun’s ravishing show as it sets over the Mekong. And right after, you can go to the city’s night market, which is very lively, and has a friendly atmosphere. You can find lots of stall which sells cheap goods such as clothes, shoes, bags and souvenirs. You can bargain. You can walk along the Mekong riverside. And when you get hungry while wandering around, there are enough street food outlets and restaurants along the streets. Visiting Vientiane will probably one hell of experience!
8. Mekong River
Mekong River is considered as one of the world’s longest river at 4,350 km. The Mekong River has several names with different meanings. One of them is “Lancang Jiang” which means “Turbulent River” in Chinese. It is a very popular tourist spot so it can get overcrowded at time.
But it’s a must to take a cruise along the Mekong, row sampan through small canals while experiencing the calm of the waters, and have a historic ride within the river!
Champasak is one of the most visited provinces in Laos and has an estimated population of 50,000. There is an ancient Hindu temple complex in ruins called Wat Phu, which was even built before Angkor Wat and once was the most important economic and political center of the region.
If you want to witness the beautiful views from the top, it is quite a steep stairs to climb up but totally worth it because the scenes are stunning! The entrance to the park costs 50.000 Kip ($6 USD) which already includes the shuttle tram to the actual site, and a visit to the museum!
10. Sunset in Laos
With all the beautiful natural sceneries, culture, temples and cuisines that I have experienced, witnessing the sunset in Laos is one of the most spectacular moments for me, or I should say “sunsets” as I have seen it many from different spots, from the 4,000 islands, Mekong River, Pakse, and all are completely gorgeous and captivating.
Need Accommodation in Laos?
If you’re looking for a cheap place to crash, there are dorm rooms in Laos that only go for $10 or less. Another inexpensive lodging option is AirBnB, where you can get rooms for $15-25. Click here to get a $30 USD discount on your first booking when you sign up on AirBnB! Those who want to treat themselves can always book luxury hotel rooms starting at around €200 per night.
Best website to check prices and book in Laos your bus/boat tickets online with 12Go Asia.