3 days in Laos seem to be short, but you can have a chance explore deeply one specific region in Laos (North, Central or South).

If you are traveling to Laos for a holiday, tour or a business trip in 3 days or planning to spend time in Laos and combine with nearby Vietnam, Cambodia or Myanmar, there are some options for each tourism centers of the country: Luang Prabang, Vientiane or Pakse.

3 days in Laos
Lao New Year – Pi Mai

3 Days in Laos: Luang Prabang and Northern Laos

Royal Palace - Luang Prabang
Royal Palace – Luang Prabang

Famous for being a tranquil ancient capital of the country, Luang Prabang is endowed with green mountains, red-roofed temples, and French-Indochinese architecture, not to mention refined cuisines, unique culture, and kind-hearted local people. It is definite that a visit to Luang Prabang should start with Wat Xieng Thong, this city’s most impressive temple. Built in the 16th century by King Setthathirath, this temple represents typical Lao crafts and arts with sophisticated carvings, mosaic items, and especially sweeping two-tiered roofs. Other notable attraction in Luang Prabang is the Royal Palace Museum, which used to be Royal King’s Palace. Originally built in 1904, the palace was taken over by the government in 1975. The exhibits here including weapons, paintings, and religious items will provide you with a glimpse into the lifestyle of the king and his family.

Pak Ou Caves

Outside the city center, there are numerous stunning landscapes for you to explore on 3 days in Laos. Pak Ou Caves are one of the most respected holy sites in Laos, consisting of more than 4000 Buddha icons. You can visit two caves here, Tham Thing and Tham Theung, housing many Buddhist statues made from wood. 32 kilometers from Luang Prabang, Kuangsi Waterfall is an imposing waterfall with a 50-meter drop. You can immerse yourself in a beautiful scenery with lush tropical forests and crystal-clear water.

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Suggested Itineraries for 3 Days in Northern Laos

Itinerary 1: Classic 3-Day Northern Laos Trip

Wat Xieng Thong - 3 Days in Laos
Wat Xieng Thong

Day 1: Arrive at Luang Prabang Airport. Start your trip with the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham and Wat Mai. Climb to the top of Mount Phousi for a sunset view of the whole city.

Day 2: Visit Wat Sene and Wat Xiengthong. Then, transfer to the boat pier for a cruise to Pak Ou Caves. Spend time exploring some ethnic villages around the area.

Day 3: Visit Royal Palace Museum (closed on Tuesday). Proceed to the Central Market for some private shopping.

Itinerary 2: Adventurous 3-Day Northern Laos Trip

That Makmo - 3 Days in Laos
That Makmo

Day 1: Arrive at Luang Prabang Airport. Start your visit with Vat Vixoune and That Makmo, the watermelon-shaped stupa. Proceed to Vat Xieng Thong, the most beautiful temple of Luang Prabang.

Day 2: Visit Royal Palace Museum (closed on Tuesday). After that, transfer to the boat pier for boarding a cruise upstream on the Mekong River to visit the mysterious Pak Ou Caves. On the way, stop by Thin Hong, a picturesque village to get a glimpse of daily life.

Day 3: Transfer to Kuangsi Waterfall and enjoy swimming, taking photos, and trekking through Khmu ethnic villages. Back to Luang Prabang after lunch.

3 Days in Laos: Vientiane and Central Laos

Wat Sisaket
Wat Sisaket

Praised as the most laid-back capital city of Southeast Asia, Vientiane is noted for its French colonial architecture and imposing religious buildings. You can enjoy a slow-paced lifestyle in this city even during rush hour! Lao National Museum is absolutely worth visiting so that you can have a glance into Lao history, culture, and people. Formerly known as Lao Revolutionary Museum, this museum exhibits many artifacts and antiques from the early history to the Siamese (Thai) evasion, French colonial era, and the introduction of Communism in 1975. When visiting a Buddhist country in Laos, you cannot miss spending time at some temples here. Wat Si Saket, which was built in 1818 by Chao Anou in the Bangkok style, is the oldest pagoda in Vientiane. Wat Ho Phra Keo used to house the Emerald Buddha which was taken from Thailand. The Siamese took the statue back in 1779.

Buddha Park
Buddha Park

24 kilometers from the city, Buddha Park is an interesting outdoor collection of huge concrete sculptures of Buddhist and Hindu deities. The park was started building in 1958 by Luang Pu (Venerable Grandfather) Bunleua Sulilat who was a priest. The most striking sculpture resembles a pumpkin, representing three levels: Hell, Earth, and Heaven.

Suggested Itineraries for 3 Days in Central Laos

Itinerary 1: Vientiane City Tour and Buddha Park

Wat Ho Phra Keo
Wat Ho Phra Keo

Day 1: Upon arriving at Vientiane International Airport, you can visit some religious sites such as Wat Sisaket, Wat Ho Phra Keo and That Luang Stupa. Admire sunset at Patouxay (Arch de Triumph), which was built quite recently in commemoration of those who died during the wars in the past.

Day 2: Drive out of town along the Mekong River to the extraordinary Buddha Park. In the afternoon, spend time at Kaysone Phomvihane Museum, and then proceed to Ta Lat Sao market, this lively shopping market has become the commercial center of Vientiane.

Day 3: Visit the morning market and Lao National Museum.

Itinerary 2: Vientiane City Tour and Nam Ngum Lake

Nam Ngum Lake
Nam Ngum Lake

Day 1: Visit some famous spots such as Wat Sisaket, Wat Ho Phra Keo, That Luang Stupa and Patouxay (Arch de Triumph).

Day 2: Transfer to Nam Ngum Lake (90 kilometers from Vientiane). In the afternoon, relax by taking a boat ride about 1 hour for panoramic view around small islands.

Day 3: Spend time at Lao National Museum and go to a local market for shopping.

3 Days in Laos: Pakse and Southern Laos

The south of Laos is less touristic compared to the north and center. Pakse is the main tourist destination of the region. It is the second most populous city in Laos. The name Pakse means ‘Mouth of the River Se’ since it sits at the confluence of the Mekong and the Se Don (Don River).

Wat Phou - Laos Travel Guide
Wat Phou

Located in Pakse, Wat Phou is the oldest temple in Laos. It was the center of Hindu until the 13th century when Buddhism became the national religion of Laos. At that time, Wat Phou was reconstructed and transformed to be a Buddhist temple. If visitors come here on the full moon of the third lunar month, they will get to participate in the temple’s biggest annual festival including monk-blessing ceremonies, elephant racing, buffalo, cockfighting, and trade fair.

Suggested Itinerary for 3 Days in Southern Laos

Day 1: In the morning, spend time at Wat Phou. Then, proceed to Golden Buddha.

Day 2: Trek to Bolavan Plateau. In the afternoon, explore Tad Fane Waterfall

Day 3: Visit Wat Tsin and Champasak Historical Heritage Museum

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