Traveling in Laos with kids

What does responsible travel recommend?

The idea of traveling in Laos with kids fulfils every parentís romantic notion of showing their little ones how others live happily, but modestly, thus filling them with a newfound respect for material wealth. But the clue is in the word Ďideaí Ė the reality is that although the Lao people and their values are perfect for a family vacation, their healthcare is hard to reach and ill equipped, and a lot of travel is done by boat, or bus: not fun with a sick or squirmy toddler. Kids eight years and up will doubtless reap all of Laosís cultural rewards and make loads of new friends, but any younger might be a step to far for any parentís patience.

Activities for families in Laos

What to do with little ones


There are dozens of intricate cave systems dotted across Laos. The Pak Ou caves are filled with hundreds of carved Buddha statues and images to which locals pay their respects, while the Tham Kong Lo, is an underground lair that extends for 7km and can only be chugged along in small motorised boats.

Cookery classes

Half the battle of getting picky kids to embrace the fragrant Laotian cuisine can be won with a local cookery lesson. Theyíll be swept away by the enticing array of colourful and unusual ingredients before them and be requesting extra lemongrass with their larb in no time.

Adrenaline sports

The Mekong River isnít just a lifeline for locals, itís a playground for their kids too and you can try river rafting and stand-up paddle boarding on its still surface. Bikes can be hired for less than £1 a day, so if you prefer land to water, head out for an exhilarating exploration on two wheels.

Traveling in Laos with kids

responsible travel asks the experts

Lesley Schofield from our supplier, All Points East shares her advice on traveling in Laos with kids:
ďI think Laos is a great family destination if youíre traveling with kids aged 8 and over. Itís a very unspoilt place, so if you want your children to experience a very back to nature look at SE Asia as it used to be, Laos is very good for that. There are some great physical activities such as mountain biking that kids can get involved with and thereís a treetop canopy hotel you can stay at within an hourís drive from Pakse that you only access via zipline. To travel with kids under the age of 8 from one place to another might be problematic, although kids do vary tremendously Ė some are exhausted after one lap of a park and some will happily hike to the top of Snowdon, but thereís not a lot of small child-orientated activities and itís probably better to visit Laos with children that can ride a bike, who are stable on their feet and have enough patience to sit on a bus and be happy looking out of the window because you are going to be traveling quite a lot.Ē

Sarah Allard from our supplier, Lost Earth Adventures shares her advice on traveling in Laos with kids:

ďI would say that absolutely Laos is a destination for families. The people are really friendly and approachable and itís a safe country to go to; culturally the region is very family-oriented. I think, due to the traveling involved and the experiences available, itís perhaps better suited to kids of 10 years and upward, you could take younger kids but the time spent traveling can be long and the facilities are few and far between Ė you have to do a lot of peeing behind trees. If youíre a really intrepid family who doesnít care then go for it, you would be welcomed with open arms, but for most people changing nappies by the riverside probably isnít ideal. Thereís an awful lot to do and see just by being out and about that would grip any kids imagination and interest.Ē
Photo credits: [Laos style school bus: Paul Stevenson] [Caving: Paul Arps] [Cookery classes: Neil Conway] [Adrenaline sports : andrewvitale] [Sarah Allard : Dee Deedee]
Written by Polly Humphris
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