Things to do in Laos

Our top activities in Laos

Food glorious food

Lao’s native cuisine comes fresh and it comes spicy, playfully marrying ingredients and techniques from its neighbouring foodie nations. Heavy in freshly picked zingy herbs like mint and coriander with a fragrant flash of garlic and ginger and a proper kick of chili that tastes rather than burns, it’s as delicious as it is healthy and never gets boring.

Southeast Asian combination

Laos is the centerpiece of a captivating Southeast Asian cocktail; it’s position screams out for an adventure combining its equally enticing neighbours.

Landlocked Laos is often overlooked by travelers in favour of its more infamous neighbours Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand; each pushed to the forefront of people’s travel imaginations by their crowd pulling ‘wow’ factor. Laos might not have the historical grandeur of Angkor Wat, the sensational pace of Saigon, or a Bangkok China Town dripping with gold, but as Laotian locals themselves would exclaim: ‘baw pen nyang’ – no worries! What Laos does have, apart from seductive seclusion, a dreamy old world magic and an effortless sense of cool and calm that pervades its every pore, is the enviable position of lying long in the middle of them all. To not combine the country as part of an ultimate Southeast Asian adventure would be an incredible opportunity missed.

A slice of paradise

A country covered in huge swathes of forest, steamy dense jungle and undulating mountains licked only by a tongue of alluring mist, nature lovers can get utterly lost in the beauty of Laos. The astonishing Kuang Si Waterfall is one of our top things to do in Laos - an awe-inspiring vision of rolling aquamarine water that collects over three tiers in a series of smaller circular pools.

Step back in time

As an oft ignored Southeast Asian destination, Laos is in a prime position to surprise travelers with its historic lure, a charm that ranks far higher than luxury or modern convenience.

With a reputation as the land that time forgot Laos has been a blank canvas for heady imperial ambition since the lowland Khmers settled there in the 12th century. The entire city of Luang Prabang, developed architecturally in the French colonial era and home to over 80 much older temples, is a World Heritage Site. Going back further still, The Plain of Jars at Phonsavan dates back millennia and provides an invaluable insight into the prehistory of all of Southeast Asia. The Laotians themselves, an affable and easygoing people, have until very recently resisted the pull of the 21st century successfully and most exist with no need for electricity, let alone WiFi; watching them as they live their lives in an atmospheric time warp of river travel, Buddhist prayer and simple stilted huts is to witness an enviably mellow and centuries old lifestyle.
Photo credits: [Southeast Asian combination: Davidlohr Bueso] [Food glorious food: Amy Zirkle] [A slice of paradise: Miran Rijavec] [Step back in time: Allie_Caulfield]
Written by Polly Humphris
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