Laos - Best Tours & Trips 2019
Sandwiched between Thailand and Vietnam, Laos has often been overlooked by tourists. Thankfully, this is changing, as more and more people are realizing just how much this unique country has to offer. Golden temples, hillside village treks, tubing on the river, lively markets and serene islands make Laos a must-visit for any Southeast Asian trip. Visitors soon find the comparative lack of tourists to be a blessing, as Laos offe ... Read More
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Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.
Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.
Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.
Price Per Day
Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.
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Rivers & Seas
Cities & Attractions
Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.
Flights & Transport
Continents & Regions
- Explore Temple of Literature, Presidential Palace, Cooking Demonstration, History Museum, Opera House and Old Quarter.
- Enjoy Meeting Puppet Master and Private Puppet Show.
- Book Trip to Brother Mouse and Khouang Si Falls.
- Visit Pratuxai and that Luang.
- Kayaking River and Exploring Another Cave.
- Explore Textile Museum, Textile Stores And Markets
- Visit Cham Museum and Drive Hoi An.
- Enjoy Boat Ride on Tonle Sap, Artisans D’angkor.
- Visit Lake, Mausoleum, Hoa Lu, Temple Of Literature.
- Learn About Unexploded Ordinance, and Carol Cassidy’s Studio
- Discover the temples of Angkor Wat
- Experience Bike into idyllic countryside towards a pristine village temple
- Explore Hanoi's trendy West Lake area
- See the amazing Bayon temple
- Experience the kindest, gentlest people in the world in Loas’s Luang Prabang and their traditional way of life
- Visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun, the shrine of Wat Mai and popular Wat Xieng Thong;
- Take a cruise trip upstream on the Mekong River to visit Pak Ou Caves;
- Visit the Plain of Jars, an impressive archaeological site;
- Highlight city tour of Vientiane;
- Explore some of Angkor’s most beautiful temples of Angkor Wat;
- Highlight city tour of Phnom Penh
- City tours in main destinations, such as Hanoi, Saigon, Bangkok;
- Wonderful cruise in scenic Halong Bay
- Free leisure in the cultural old town-HoiAn
- 2 days' immersion at famous Angkor Temples;
- Lazy beach hours on Kho Samui
- Journey to Luang Prabang in Laos and take a refreshing dip at the cascading Kuang Si waterfalls.
- Embrace Hanoi's frantic streets in search of an authentic bowl of bun cha (a Vietnamese dish of pork meatballs and rice noodles).
- Cruise among the mammoth limestone rock formations on a traditional wooden boat in Halong Bay.
- Travel down the canals and backwaters of the Mekong on a full-day tour of Asia's 7th longest river.
- Tour the magnificent Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia - the world's largest religious monument!
- Bare-faced Bulbul
- Red-collared & Pale-headed Woodpeckers
- Sooty Babbler
- Limestone Leaf Warbler
- White-bellied Erpornis
- Banded Bay Cuckoo
- Sultan Tit
- Great Iora
- Siberian Blue Robin
- Siberian Rubythroat
- Rufous-throated Fulvetta
- Sample famous Vietnamese dishes on a walking food tour.
- Savor some of Hanoi’s finest food during dinner inside a restored French Colonial-style mansion.
- Take part in a private blessing ceremony and meet the monks of a local monastery.
- Journey to the famous Pak Ou Caves, the home of hundreds of Buddhas.
- See the Cu Chi Tunnels, a maze of underground Viet Cong passageways.
- Explore incredible Angkor Wat, the world's largest religious structure.
- Board a private boat for a cruise down the Mekong River.
- Take in Vietnam’s stunning landscapes and pagodas on a day trip to Ninh Binh Province.
- Learn to prepare traditional Vietnamese dishes at a cooking class.
- Have lunch at a nonprofit restaurant that empowers underprivileged children by training them new skills.
- Learn about locally made rice wine called “lao lao” in Ban Xang Hai.
- Meet the monks of a local monastery and participate in a private blessing ceremony.
- Journey to the famous Pak Ou Caves, home to hundreds of Buddhas.
- See the Cu Chi Tunnels, a maze of underground Viet Cong passageways.
- Explore famous Angkor Wat, the world's largest religious structure.
- Cruise overnight on a luxury junk boat in Halong Bay.
- Board a traditional riverboat for a cruise down the Mekong River.
- This trip enables you to see the best of Vientiane and Luang Prabang in a short amount of time
- With complimentary airport arrival and departure transfers, your time in Laos will be easy and hassle free
- Draw on the deep knowledge of expert local guides in Vientiane and Luang Prabang, from walking tours to tips on the tastiest food treats
- This trip also includes some free time in Luang Prabang, giving you the chance to make your own explorations and discover why UNESCO rate this city so highly
- Explore the canals of bangkok
- Float down the mighty mekong river
- Visit majestic caves and stunning limestone karsts in halong bay
- Browse the tailor shops in hoi an
- Squeeze through the cu chi tunnels
- Explore vibrant cities
- Shop in quaint hoi an
- Float among the karsts of halong bay
- Discover sleepy laos
- Cruise the mighty mekong river
- Learn how to make noodles at a g adventures-supported enterprise
- Spend the night at a local village homestay
- Visit the stunning temples of luang prabang
- Sample local fare on a street food crawl through hanoi
- Relax in quaint hoi an
- Cruise the blue waters of halong bay
- Ride the rails to hanoi
- Shop at the chiang mai night market
- Marvel at the grand palace in bangkok
- Explore ho chi minh your way
- Take a cooking class led by former street kids
- Witness alms-giving to buddhist monks
- Sample vietnamese specialities on a street food crawl
- Explore limestone karsts in vang vieng
- Enjoy a traditional khantoke dinner in a rural village
- Enjoy a visit and talk with a monk at wat suan dok temple
- Have lunch at a training restaurant for disadvantaged youth
- Witness an outstanding performance at phare (the cambodian circus)
- Take thrilling cyclo rides for a different perspective in bustling cities
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Top Laos Experiences
- Floating down the Mekong river in a rubber tube.
- Shopping in the night market in Luang Prabang.
- Trekking into the mountains to visit hill tribe villages.
- Visiting temples in Vientiane.
- Spotting river dolphins around Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands).
- Exploring the Khmer temple complex of Wat Phou.
Laos Trip Reviews
181 Laos Tour Reviews - Summary 100% Recommend
Laos Tours and Travel Guide
Laos Attractions & Landmarks Guide
Sandwiched between Thailand and Vietnam, Laos has often been overlooked by tourists. Thankfully, this is changing, as more and more people are realizing just how much this unique country has to offer. Golden temples, hillside village treks, tubing on the river, lively markets and serene islands make Laos a must-visit for any Southeast Asian trip. Visitors soon find the comparative lack of tourists to be a blessing, as Laos offers a more laid-back lifestyle and authentic local experience than its busier neighbors.
Mountainous Northern Laos provides multiple trekking routes to hill tribe villages, where homestays with local families can be arranged. Mekong-dominated Central Laos is the place to be for tubing on the river and exploring caves and lakes. Meanwhile, the flatlands and mountains of Southern Laos remain reserved for off-the-beaten-track travelers.
Laos is a serene country, and a relaxed attitude can be found from the smallest village to the largest city. Vientiane, the country's capital, is a sleepy city of orange-clad monks and ornate buddhist stupas, the most significant of which is Laos' national symbol, Pha That Luang. Luang Prabang, in the north of the country, is known for its colorful night market, where visitors can explore at their leisure and uncover some wonderful local souvenirs. Its abundance of temples and French colonial architecture has earned it the title of a UNESCO World Heritage City. Luang Namtha, in the north of the country, is the starting point for treks into in the mountains, and Pakse, in the south, is the gateway to both the Wat Phu temple complex and Si Phan Don (the “four thousand islands”). Backpackers are drawn to Vang Vieng, which offers tubing on the river and other adventure activities, as well as visits to caves and lakes.
Trekking and Homestays
The north of Laos is dominated by mountains, offering visitors many scenic treks. Trails wind their way through scenic forests and local farmlands, and pass through local villages, where homestays can be arranged. If you only have a day or two to spare, try a trek to the Kuang Xi waterfall, where you will pass through Khmu villages before visiting the falls. For those who wish to spend longer exploring the region, week-long treks are available, taking in mountain views, waterfalls, and home stays in Khmu and Hmong ethnic villages. Treks vary in difficulty, so be sure to find a route that suits you.
Treks in Northern Laos can also be combined with kayaking, cycling or elephant riding. Be sure to book with a reliable and safe operator. If choosing a trek that involves cycling, check your bike fully beforehand, including a thorough test of the brakes! If you decide to try an elephant trek, be sure to book with an ethical and animal-friendly operator- reading trek reviews can help with this.
Vang Vieng attracts many backpackers eager to try “tubing”. This used to involve floating down the river in a rubber tube and stopping at riverside bars, where staff would pull patrons from the river and pour whiskey down their throats. Perhaps inevitably, the government has put a stop to this following a number of tourist accidents. These days, tubing is still available but the riverside bars have been shut down and replaced by rest stops, where visitors can meet fellow travelers and play games (though chances of meeting a local selling alcohol at these rest stops are high).
Other popular attractions in Vang Vieng include the surrounding caves, such as Tham Loup, Tham Hoi or Tham Chang. Some caves, such as Tham Phu Kham and Tham Nam, include lagoons where visitors can have a swim.
Adventure activities such as river rafting, rock climbing, hot air ballooning, zip lining and canoeing can all be found throughout Laos, particularly in the area surrounding Vang Vieng.
Si Phan Don
If you thought the rest of Laos was relaxed, wait until you get to Si Phan Don, the “four thousand islands”. A quietly flowing river, scenic greenery, and golden beaches tempt visitors to sink into a hammock and never leave. If all that relaxing gets to much for you, try a bike ride around the three main islands of Don Khong, Don Det and Don Khon, or a visit to the largest waterfall in Southeast Asia. Boat tours are also popular, especially those that offer sights of pink river dolphins.
While the Angkor temple complex of neighboring Cambodia may enjoy more global recognition, the ruins of Wat Phou are arguably equally impressive. One of the oldest archaeological sites in Laos, this collection of temples has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While originally a Hindu place of worship, the complex became a Buddhist place of worship in the 13th century, and the temples feature ornate carvings of both Hindu gods and Buddha images. Once a year (usually in February but changeable based on the lunar calendar), Wat Phou hosts a festival of ceremonies and events. This festival lasts for a week, during which visitors can experience a range of buddhist ceremonies as well as traditional Lao music and dancing.
All Laos tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.8 for all Laos trips.