Backpacking Guide to Laos

The Best Backpacking Guide to Laos

Laos is one of the socialist states in Southeast Asian officially called Lao People’s Democratic Republic and commonly known for their wonderful mountainous terrain, Buddhist monasteries, and Hill tribe outpost. This is the only country in Southeast Asia that is landlocked. The capital of Laos is Vientiane in 1563 this city had 820,000 population as of 2015 census. Lao is the official language here and they recognized the French language. They also have spoken languages like Hmong, Lao, French, and Khmu. This backpacking guide to laos will get you started on a great trip.

Not sure about Laos? Check out our backpacking guide to Sri Lanka here.

Most visited places in Laos

Laos is making its name known for its amazing and wonderful tourist attractions that are becoming more accessible by many tourist visitors. This will surely capture your heart to come back and experience a mind-blowing and a breath of fresh air.  

  • Luang Prabang

This is one of the most visited tourists’ attraction. It has shrines and Buddhist temples or “Royal Buddhist Image”. There are 80 temples in the city that you can visit, in addition to that two waterfalls are available when you want a great swimming experience in the country.

Other choices you can visit at Luang Prabang

  • Tad Sae Waterfalls
  • Tamarind Cooking Courses
  • Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre
  • Royal Palace Museum
  • Tak Bat
  • Pak Ou Caves
  • Luang Prabang Night Market
  • Mount Phousi
  • Wat Xieng Thong
  • Kuang Si Falls


  • Mekong River

A river that has 4,350km or 2703 mile estimated length. This river serves principal transportation in Laos. This is known for its stunning journey in the entire river. You can enjoy the marvelous scenery using a boat from the border of northern Thailand to Luang Prabang or to Huay Xai vice versa.

  • Vang Vieng

This is a riverside town and the street is very full of bars, tour agencies, guest houses, restaurants, tourist and even internet cafes. The main attraction of this area is the dramatic karst hill landscape that surrounds the Vang Vieng. It is also popular for the Limestone Mountains and rock climbers and you should explore and experience the caverns and tunnels that are very spelunker’s heaven. However, you’re just simply floating on the inner tube of the Nam Song River.

  • Si Phan Don

This is a set of beautiful islands of the Mekong River. Done Kong, Don Det, and Don Khon are the three main principal islands that have the simplest family lodging bungalows. They have rented kayaks and bikes for you to explore the surroundings.

Si Phan Don has 4,000 islands that you will surely enjoy and be captivated on its natural beauty.

  • Plain of Jars

This is the largest area that extends over the Phonsavan’s town where you can see gigantic jars with an unknown origin which are scattered on the area. These stone jars appearing on the cluster is ranging on a few several hundreds of jars with a diameter and height of 3 and 1 meter and all made out of rocks. These jars are intended to prehistoric burial practices.

  • Wat Xieng Thong

This is the most impressive and spectacular magnificent temple in Luang Prabang. This was built under the royal patronage throughout the Laos Kingdom in 1560. It contains a few reclining the Buddha statue.

  • Pha That Luang

This is Laos’s most significant monument that has several platforms and each of the platforms represents the different period of the Buddhist enlightenment. The tip level will represent the world of nothingness and the bottom part or the lowest represents the world of materialism.

  • Wat Phu

This is located in the province of Champasak. Hindu temple was created from the 11th to 13th century. The small Wat Phu is contrasting with the Angkor-era Monument in Cambodia but the crumbling triumph, mysterious crocodile stone, and the largest trees that winding sheet the site gives more mystical atmosphere to Wat Phu.

  • Pak Ou Caves

These caves are known for the Buddha Miniature sculptures. There are hundreds of tinny and destroyed wooden figures that are put over the shelves. They get a lot of different arrangements, which includes meditation, peace, teaching, reclining (nirvana), and rain.

  • Vieng Xai

Vieng Xai is the extensive caves that serve as the hidden city on the Vietnam War. The place was the shelter of the communist army who fight against the royalist forces in Vientiane and was bombed. There are 23,000 estimated people who reside on the caves, which hold a military barracks, shops, hospitals, and a theatre. By the help of the Lao government, they hope to develop the caves that will serve as a tourist destination.

Backpacking Tips for Visiting Laos

The first thing you will consider is there cultural don’ts and dos; this will help you to avoid conflict with them. Laos is one of the smallest population density in Asia, over 5.4 million estimated people believe that Laos is the place for around 68, unlike ethnic groups. These will fall under the three categories, based on traditions, language, and climate.

  • Understand a bit of the Language. Family language: Tai, Lao-Phuti, Kra-Dai, and Lao. You should know their languages in order for you to understand each other’s differences and to express yourself to them.
  • Traditions. Some of the travelers get surprised and shock by their extensive differences. You should prepare yourself in understanding their culture, how they live and what are their customs and traditions. Searching is the best way.
  • Climate. Always consider the climate condition wherever you go for you to enjoy your vacation. Laos has three weather conditions April is the hottest month over 35 degrees Celsius. And from the month of November up to February is the winter monsoon which might bring a bit a cold night. From the middle of the month of October is summer monsoon that will bring high humidity and rainfall. However, this is irregular.

Bring also important things like proper clothing depending on the climate, medicine, extra allowance, personal hygiene, technology, and other necessity. But the most important thing is wherever you go always make it remarkable.

Conclusion on a Backpacking Trip to Laos:

Traveling is one of the best things to do it might temporarily forget your struggles, problem and even pain from the past. This article will help you to make your adventure full of fun and enjoy every single moment because we only live once so live life to the fullest. And make in love with the beauty and marvelous experience in Laos.  

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