If you're looking for a Laos travel guide, you're in the right spot, as Lightfoot Travel has all the best tips for exploring this wonderful country.
Looking for short trips from Hong Kong that offer something different? If you’ve already done Vietnam with the family or tried these luxury camping holidays, why not head to wonderful Laos? Chances are you’ve heard of the sweet-smelling, spiritually savvy Luang Prabang, and while there are all the reasons to continue to visit it, what lies beyond this laid-back town has heaps to offer also. Here, we reveal the regions to find culture, adventure, authenticity and a darn good Laap in our Laos travel guide, compiled by Lightfoot Travel.
Where To Slow Down
Slap bang in the centre of Laos, between the Mekong and the Annamite Range, the Khammoun Plateau features gorges, grottoes and gurgling rivers. See Kong Lor Cave with the option to navigate through the 7km long cavern; swim in crystal clear waters; ride a bicycle around the villages, or stroll along the Mekong while the fading sunset showcases some spectacular views.
Stay: The idyllic Spring River Resort is a simple stay with charming wooden bungalows perched above a flowing river. We say kick off your heels and dip your toes in for instant revitalisation.
Where To Get Luxury & Zen
UNESCO World Heritage listed Luang Prabang is the country’s most famous destination, blessed with the capacity to reduce your stress-levels and increase your senses. Away from the 33 gilded wats, quaint streets and saffron-clad monks, a cultural feast of activities await. Help local farmers with their organic vegetable gardens, learn how to whip up Lao noodles (kaopun), kayak to Pak Ou Caves filled with Buddha statues, and swim at Kuang Si Waterfalls.
Stay: Satri House is a colonial-style hotel providing a nod to a regal bygone era. Cosy up in the rooms adorned with four-poster beds, antique rugs and silk cushions, unwind by the two pools, and end your day with a massage in the spa.
Where To Go Off-Grid
A five hour drive from Luang Prabang in the north of Laos lies Muang La, an off-the-radar town beside the Nam Pak River. Surrounded by wild valley, tranquil countryside, and peppered with colourful Ikhos, Akha and Kmong hill-tribe communities, this is the spot to lose your WiFi connection and enjoy the great outdoors. Hikes will introduce you to villagers fishing in the river and farmers working their paddy fields, but one thing you won’t see much of is other tourists.
Stay: At Muang La Lodge, a graceful property where you can soak in the natural hot spring by day and soak up traditional Khamu music and dance by night.
Where To Be Sporty
Three hours’ drive north from Luang Prabang, Nong Khiaw is an alluringly pretty town on the banks of the Nam Ou River, and feels like a true haven. Backed by dramatic limestone mountains, this rugged pocket of Laos is best explored with a lot of energy and from a longtail on the Mekong. Stop off for some mountain biking, rock climbing, trekking to waterfalls and gourmet picnics as you go.
Stay: Despite the isolated location, Nong Khiaw is home to several welcoming stays and Madala Ou is something of a gem. The ten comfy bungalows come with a quaint restaurant, small infinity pool and friendly staff.
Where To Go Local
Laos’ laid-back capital may not be as good-looking as some of its neighbours, but it makes up for it in activities. By day visit the oldest temple in Vientiane, Wat Sisaket, followed by Wat Prakeo which now serves as an arts museum. At night, sample tasty dishes on the spot at the night market. Make sure to visit to COPE, an organisation that helps with mobility related disabilities from the Secret War.
Stay: The French colonial architecture and family-run friendliness of Settha Palace Hotel will give you a welcome return after a hard day of exploring.
Where To Get Crafty
In the South of Laos, bordering Cambodia and Thailand, Angkor-period ruins, French colonial-era buildings and Lao wooden stilt houses dominate the landscape. However, the Champasak Province ideal for island-hopping. Venture to Don Khong where there are no cars, just local life; catch a ferry to the fishing village of Don Phou Man; and continue to Don Saang Fai, with its ancient wooden Buddhist temple. Lastly, on Don Loppadi villagers will reveal how they weave bamboo baskets and fishing nets.
Stay: Sustainable living, solar-heating, bamboo furnishings and gargantuan beds await at the eco-friendly River Resort.