Laos is becoming more and more interesting for travelers. No wonder, because the landscape and sights are unique.
From rice fields to turquoise, natural pools and waterfalls, Buddhist temples and the Mekong river.
Why Laos should be on your bucket list
Laos is still not as popular as Cambodia, Thailand or Malaysia, which is actually a good thing. The country settled between Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia is still a hidden gem.
People are friendly and open and nature is simply breathtaking.
THE 7 BEST PLACES AND SIGHTS IN LAOS
Laos is incredibly diverse and when you’re planning a trip to Laos, you shouldn’t miss these places:
1. CHAMPASAK – UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE WAT PHOU
The Wat Phou, a Khmer temple from the 6th century, was built before the Angkor period.
The temple is extensive and one of the highlights is the old stone staircase, as well as the view from the old temple to the surrounding terrain.
2. ALONG THE MEKONG RIVER
The best way of getting a feeling of Laos and its culture is by getting on a boat. When I was traveling around Laos I took a 2 ½ day trip along the Mekong river. We visited small villages hidden in the jungle, went to a market early in the morning and simply enjoyed the landscape passing by slowly from the long boat.
The boat trip ended in Luang Prabang and started with a sundowner in one of the restaurants along the Mekong river.
3. LUANG PRABANG
Luang Prabang in my opinion is the most beautiful city in Laos. After traveling around Laos for two weeks, seeing different cities, Luang Prabang is by far my favorite.
The city is situated along the Mekong river and has some of the most beautiful temples in Laos. One of these temples is on top of Mount Phousi. It can be reached easily from within the city. Along the way to the top different Buddha statues are displayed.
At the top you are rewarded with an amazing view over Luang Prabang and the Mekong river.
There is a lot to see and do in the city. You can read more about it here:
FASCINATING LUANG PRABANG – THINGS TO SEE AND DO
About 30 km away from Luang Prabang is another hidden gem you shouldn’t miss. The Kouang Si Falls, also known as the Tat Kuang Si or Tat Kuang Xi falls which turn into natural, turquoise pools. At the entry to the woods where you hike up to the Khouang Si waterfalls you will pass by the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Center. This rescue center is specifically for the Asian black bear or the moon bear. It is operated by Free the bears. The bears are able to enjoy their lives on hammocks, playing with tires and lay in the shades of the wood.
You can do a tour to the Khouang Si falls from Luang Prabang. Click here for the latest prices.
4. PLAIN OF JARS
Laos is known for its minefields. About a third of the country is still affected by mines. I experienced it at the plain of jars.
Next to the stone jars are signs like the one in the picture telling you exactly where you’re safe and where you shouldn’t go. A bomb crater is a warning that you better stay on the path.
Nevertheless, the plain of jars is a special place you shouldn’t miss while being in Laos.
There are three main sites you can visit the jars. They are called site 1, 2 and 3. All of them are at an altitude between 1000 to 1200 m. If you stay overnight in the area around the Plain of Jars it’s good to have some warm clothes with you. It can get chilly at night.
About the stone jars: No one knows exactly why they were built. Some believe the stone jars were used to bury people, others believe people used them to store food.
Vientiane is the capital of Laos and definitely worth to see. The symbol of the city (and Laos) is the golden Wat Pha That Luang. If you visit the Wat Pha That Luang there are some things to consider, especially for women.
I also recommend visiting the rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”Buddha park which is about 24 km away from Vientiane.
You find all the places and things to see and do here:
6. PAK OU CAVES
The Pak Ou Caves are close to the city of Luang Prabang. The caves are religious sites with a lot of different Buddha statues inside. As the Pak Ou Caves are next to the Mekong river you can only visit them by hopping on a boat.
From there you climb up the steep stairs. Inside the main cave there are thousands of Buddha statues varying in size and material.
You will also have a great overview over the Mekong river and the opposite countryside.
The Buddha Park is about 24 kilometers away from the capital Vientiane. It is also named Xieng Khuan or the City of Ghosts and was built in 1958. The Buddha Park has more than 200 Buddhist and Hindu statues. Some of them are huge.
Close to the entrance of the Buddha Park you will find the Demon’s Mouth. When you step inside you go through three floors which represent hell, earth and heaven. From the top of the building, which looks like an apple or a pumpkin, you have a great view over the park and all of its statues.
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL TO LAOS:
November and until mid December are the best months, especially if you want to do a boat trip along the Mekong. Later there is not enough water running in the Mekong.
The weather in November and the beginning of December is perfect. If you want to visit the Plain of Jars, don’t forget to bring warm clothes with you.In the evening it is pretty cold up at 1000 to 1200m.
For women: While visiting the golden temple in Vientiane you need to cover your shoulders and wear a skirt (you can rent a skirt outside the temple).
MORE HELPFUL TIPS AND INFORMATIONS ABOUT LAOS: LAOS
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