Is Laos Worth Traveling To?
We always love exploring new places and countries when traveling but sometimes, it can be a bit difficult for anyone who’s afraid that they might feel disappointed.
After all, if you’re spending your precious vacation time, effort, and hard-earned money for an out-of-country trip, it has to be worth it.
A lot of travelers know Laos probably because it’s part of the Indochina tour along with Thailand and Vietnam.
But, the difficulty of traveling within this country and the higher cost of living as a traveler compared to the other two might turn you off from visiting this amazing country.
So is Laos worth traveling to? Absolutely.
Here are some reasons why you should visit this Southeast Asian country:
Unparalleled Natural Beauty
Because of Laos’ long and rich history, many of the destinations in this country are well-preserved, showing their ancient beauty. Laos is a perfect place for you to get in touch with nature.
Since this is a landlocked country, there are no beaches, but they are blessed with rich jungles and forests.
If you’re looking for a place to swim and appreciate the water, there are a lot of alternatives in Laos that we can argue is even better.
Laos is home to many of the waterfalls and arguably, they have the most beautiful waterfalls in Southeast Asia.
You’ll always see something peaceful when you’re in Laos. Whether it’s their pastoral beauty or the rickety bamboo bridges when you cross a small river watching water buffalo graze in the rice paddies.
There’s so much beauty and subtlety in Laos that if you want to take a vacation to take your time and reconnect with yourself, this country is definitely the place to go.
Endless Adventure Sports
If you’re an adrenaline junkie and you just love outdoors, then Laos will literally be your paradise.
There are so many things to do in this country where nature and outdoor activities meet. Ride a zip line through the rainforests where you’ll explore several tree houses in between.
You can choose to spend a chill canoeing session by the Mekong River or go with the current with a kayak.
How about exploring the limestone karst mountains and challenge yourself with a little rock climbing session?
There are also lots of caves to explore and if you love biking, whether causally or off-road, there are a lot of dirt bike tracks to ride. You can even join a biking tour around the cities.
Of course, Laos will definitely mix adventure sports and their many waterfalls and rivers. While they don’t have the advantage of other Southeast Asian countries where they’re surrounded by seas and oceans, you can still go diving and snorkeling in Nam Ngum, the largest river in the country.
The Legendary Laos Tubing
This is another adventure sport that you can do in Laos, but this deserves a little category of its own. You can’t leave Laos without trying Vang Vieng’s most popular and famous attraction: tubing.
Tubing is an experience and a destination of its own.
The whole thing will take you about four hours to complete — that means four hours of intense, adrenaline-rushing, and sometimes calm floating along the Nam Song River.
That’s not counting the number of pit stops you can do at the numerous riverside bars!
Before, tubing was actually banned at Vang Vieng because it became a total party zone for tourists.
Since there are a lot of bars at the side of the river, people would be completely drunk by the time they finished their ride!
But now, it’s much safer since the government regulates it and there are only four riverside bars for the travelers to indulge.
Crazy New Year’s Eve
If you want to experience how other countries celebrate their New Year’s but you’re on an ongoing tradition of attending New York’s midnight ball drop or you just want to stay at home with your family and have a nice dinner, then don’t worry — Laos has your back.
The Lao New Year locally called as Pi Mai or Songkran is a crazy festival celebration done from April 14-16. The festival is technically just three days long, but the celebration will last easily up until a week.
So if you’re around Luang Prabang and Vientiane, definitely don’t forget to bring your water gun. Expect huge water fights happening, and the locals will definitely douse everyone in the vicinity.
They also throw flour everywhere for tradition and will definitely be the highlight of your Laos trip.
Join everyone in the streets where people would dress in costumes and traditional masks to retell the history and folklore of Laos and how Buddhism shaped their country. There will also be beauty pageants and loads of dancing involved.
Laos as the Gateway of Southeast Asia
The reason why travelers and tourists visit Laos because it’s the perfect country to start with your Southeast Asian trip. Its borders are connected with other Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia so it’s super easy to visit other countries while you’re in there.
Northern Laos is also connected with parts of China and Myanmar.
While is why if you’re planning your ultimate Southeast Asian trip, head straight to Laos since it’s at the heart of Southeast Asia.
Since you have the option to travel to other countries by bus instead of taking a flight, it’s generally way cheaper.
Great Laotian Food
If you want to get a taste of Asia, Laos is definitely the place to go. Since Laos is literally beside other Asian countries, its cuisine is influenced by Thailand and Vietnam. More so, they were a former colony of the French, so their food is definitely a melting pot of cultures.
Their food is unbelievably cheap too. Plus, locals will definitely tell you that the most authentic Laotian experience you can have is to eat a Khao Ji Pate on the side of the road. Surely enough, you can’t pass a block in Laos without seeing Laotian baguette sandwiches sold at sidewalks.
So if you’re a foodie, definitely check out their street food. Night markets at Savannakhet, Luang Prabang, and Vientiane are your perfect destinations for a Laos food crawl.
If you’re looking for a new experience that you can take back home with you, why not participate in a Lao cooking class?
Find out how to balance the right flavors in your papaya salad, learn the traditional technique of steaming fish wrapped in banana leaves, and just how much skill and attention to detail it takes to make a perfect bowl of sticky rice.
Top Three destinations in Laos
Now that you absolutely know that Laos is a destination worth visiting and traveling to, there are just so many activities that are waiting for you.
Check out this list for your top three Laos destination that you definitely shouldn’t miss:
1. Luang Prabang
This place in Northern Laos is the country’s most popular attraction for travelers and tourists and there’s no question why.
The town is considered to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site and definitely an architectural and historical dream.
Take a full day to explore this quaint, laid-back town, and visit their many Buddhist temples, riverside settings, and French colonial buildings.
There are also a lot of activities to do here. Definitely don’t miss a visit to Kuang Si Waterfalls which is a beauty to behold.
You can also explore their caves, go on a hike, or take a boat cruise along the river.
2. Champasak Province
The Champasak Province in Southern Laos should be your must-visit destination if you’re a nature lover. Visit the Tat Fane Waterfall in Bolaven Plateau, Champasak which is definitely one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country.
Take a trip to Si Phan Don which literally means Four Thousand Islands. People are often surprised that Laos has a clutch of islands because it’s a landlocked country, but the Si Phan Don is part of the Mekong River.
It’s a series of small islands that you should definitely check out. Plus, it’s not a tourist trap so you’ll definitely experience the culture and way of life of a local in Laos.
Of course, before you go anywhere else, you have to explore the capital of Laos which is Vientiane. This place used to be a French trading post so you can expect a lot of preserved historical and religious sights.
Just walk around the city and you’ll find a lot of architecture attributed to the French. Visit the Patuxai which is the Laotian version of the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
There are a lot of other attractions that you can visit in Vientiane like their local markets to get your local food and souvenir fix, the Wat Si Saket which is the only temple in Laos that survived the Siamese occupation, and a whole lot more.
It’s absolutely satisfying as a traveler to find a travel destination that is enjoyable in a place where it’s not the first thing that comes into everyone’s minds when they think of vacation.
Laos is definitely worthy of your time, effort, and money to visit and if you still have a bit of skepticism, it’s always great of an adventure to see Laos for yourself.