To the West of Vietnam and Northern Thailand, there is an off the beaten path country known as “the Land of Million Elephants” – that’s the beautiful Laos. Modern-day Laos has come through a lot of historical events and has been getting one of the most popular tourism destinations in Southeast Asia area, thanks to its mountainous terrain, French colonial architecture and Buddhist monasteries. So, how to spend 9 days in Laos?

Let us start our suggested itinerary for 9 days in Laos with Luang Prabang in the North with an international airport here. Following Luang Prabang is Vientiane the capital and Vang Vieng will be the next destination in the Central. Last but not least, we will come along with Pakse in the South as the last destination for 9 days in Laos. Are you ready for it?

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How much does it cost to travel to/around Laos?

Read more: Laos car rental with driver

Day 1: Luang Prabang

A trip to Laos would not be complete without spending two days or more in Luang Prabang. Luang Prabang is the former capital city of Laos and it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage City in 1995. Considered as the heart of Lao history and culture, this city will amaze tourists with sophisticated French architecture, mesmerizing religious spots, and several places of entertainment.

In the morning – Visit Wat Xieng Thong and Royal Palace Museum

Wat Xieng Thong

The outstanding Wat Xieng Thong is a highlight of the city. This masterpiece represents the characteristics of typical Luang Prabang’s style with sweeping two-tiered roofs and ornate mosaics. This monastery was built in 1560 by King Setthathirath near the intersection of Mekong and Nam Khan rivers.

Royal Palace Museum

9 days in Laos

Royal Palace – Luang Prabang

Only 1 kilometer from Wat Xieng Thong is the Royal Palace Museum which was originally inhabited by King Sisavang Vong and his family. The exhibits here include royal religious objects, precious paintings, and statues which can be dated back to centuries ago. Therefore, do not forget to climb to Mount Phousi at dusk to admire the whole view of Luang Prabang on your 9 days in Laos.

In the afternoon – Cruise through Mekong River to visit Pak Ou Caves

Pak Ou Caves

Inside of Pak Ou Caves

25 kilometers to the north of Luang Prabang, Pak Ou Caves are one of the most respected holy sites in Laos, consisting of more than 4000 Buddha icons. These caves have been a place of worship for almost thousands of years. You can visit two caves here, Tham Thing (the lower) and Tham Theung (the upper), housing many Buddhist statues made from wood. The lower cave is well-lit and includes many signs to explain the history of some statues. The upper cave requires a 10-minute trek up some steep steps, but it is worth seeing.

In the evening – Visit Luang Prabang Night Market

Luang Prabang night market

Luang Prabang night market

This is the largest night market in Laos. Luang Prabang is also the cleanest city in Laos so that you can feel free to walk around, buy some souvenirs, take some photos and try some delicious street food or dishes at restaurants in this night market.

The market often starts at 5PM daily. You will fall in love with food at this market loads because of its variety of local ingredients in a combination that creates such a unique flavor and imprint of Laos’ cuisine. This is a must-visit place on your 9 days in Laos.

Do not worry if you are a vegetarian! There are a few stalls of vegetarian buffets at only 20.000 Kip for each pax.

Day 2: Luang Prabang

In the morning – Take an excursion to Mount Phou Si

Mount Phousi

Mount Phou Si

If it is possible, you should wake up early and enjoy watching dawn at Mount Phou Si on your 9 days in Laos. Mount Phou Si lies in the heart of the ancient town peninsula and is bordered by the Mekong River and the Nam Khan River on each side. This place is also really crowded at dusk since it offers a wonderful view.

In the afternoon – Proceed to Kuang Si Waterfall

This is also a must-see place outside of the city center. It is an imposing waterfall with a 50-meter drop. This waterfall is absolutely spectacular with turquoise water which is kept in perfectly sculpted limestone tiered pools. You can enjoy sightseeing, swimming, and hiking to the top of the fall. But remember to bring a proper pair of shoes – the road to the top will be muddy! We recommend you coming to this waterfall in the morning on your 9 days in Laos since it is not busy yet.

In the evening – Enjoy local foods

Khao Poun

This is a very well-known dish of top 15 Laos food you must try on your 9 days in Laos. It includes rice noodles sprinkled with a coconut milk broth in which ground pork or fish is cooked together. The stock is seasoned with peppers and crushed peanuts. Moreover, adding chopped vegetables, such as bamboo shoots or banana flowers and other herbs such as mint, coriander, soy, and this dish will make your trip more complete than ever!

Tam Mak Houng

The specialty is also known as the “Lap”. This is a kind of very spicy papaya salad, together with pepper, kapi (shrimp paste) or nampou (crab paste), lemon juice and nampa (salted fish sauce).

Sine Savan

This dish is a kind of smoked meat, which consists of thin slices of marinated beef then dried that is fried and cut into chips. You can find sine savan everywhere, mostly in taverns at the edge of the Mekong at Thadeua, near Vientiane.

Lap

Lap - A specialty of Laos

Lap – A specialty of Laos

The lap is a traditional Laotian salad. This is a kind of fish or meat tartare. This dish usually goes with white or glutinous rice that slightly reduces its spicy flavor. Lap will be particularly suitable for the Western who get less accustomed to the spicy cuisine of Laos on 9 days in Laos.

Day 3: Luang Prabang to Vientiane

In the morning – Transfer to Vientiane

Vientiane is the smallest capital city in the Southeast Asian region, but there is no lack of fun here. Situated on the bank of the Mekong River, this city possesses a sub-tropical climate and enjoys a slow-paced life. You can visit Vientiane almost any time a year since this city offers a great choice of accommodation, restaurants, sightseeing spots, and entertainment.

In the afternoon – Visit Buddha Park

10 days in Laos

Vientiane’s Buddha Park

25 kilometers southeast of Vientiane, Buddha Park is an extraordinary sculpture park. Constructed by 1958 by Luang Pu (Venerable Grandfather) Bunleua Sulilat who studied both Buddhism and Hinduism, this park contains more than 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues. Three most outstanding statues of the park are the king of Hindu gods riding on a three-headed elephant, a four-armed deity riding a horse, and a 12-faced deity.

In the evening – Hang around and have dinner at Vientiane Night Market

Vientiane Night Market organized around the riverside area is a cannot-miss place when going to this city. You can find a lot of souvenirs, shirts, and handicrafts here, but remember to use your bargaining skills because the initial prices are always inflated. The only thing you cannot find here is food; however, do not worry since there are lots of restaurants and shops on the other side of the street.

Day 4: Vientiane to Vang Vieng

In the morning – Visit the famous That Luang Stupa and Patuxay Monument – Vientiane’s own Arc de Triomphe

That Luang Stupa

Regarding religious sites, a system of temples and pagodas this city is perfect for you to understand Buddhism and local uniqueness on your 9 days in Laos. That Luang Stupa is a symbol of Laos in terms of both Buddhism and national sovereignty. The legend said that this stupa houses a breastbone of Buddha. That Luang was originally a Hindu temple in the 1st century, however, the current structure was built by King Setthathirat in 1566 when he relocated the capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. Wat Ho Phra Keo, Wat Si Muang, Wat Si Saket, and Wat Mai are also worth visiting during your time in the city.

Patuxai Monument – Vientiane own Arc de Triomphe

Patuxai Monument

Patuxai Monument

This destination is located on the most beautiful road of the capital. This is also the best place to welcome the dawn and admire the sunset in the city. Patuxai, with its meaning of “Victory Gate” is a massive concrete monument with a wide avenue leading to it similar in style to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

Its architecture represents the five Buddhist principles of “thoughtful amiability, honest, flexibility, honor and prosperity.” This is a must-visit place that will make you get super busy with your camera on your 9 days in Laos.

In the afternoon – Transfer to Vang Vieng

Situated in the middle of Luang Prabang and Vientiane, Vang Vieng is probably a party town in the country with many tourists’ eateries, restaurants, bars, and clubs. Tourists can enjoy exciting and thrilling activities here such as rope swinging, zip lining, swimming, and diving into blue lagoon, and large decks. The spectacular view to Nam Song River along the town is also an unforgettable memory on travelers’ minds.

City highlights:

Some attractions in Vang Vieng are Blue Lagoon, Water Cave (Tham Nam), Elephant Cave (Tham Chang) and Kaeng Nyui Waterfall.

Day 5: Vang Vieng

In the morning – Hike Pha Phong Kham Cliff Viewpoint

This spot has some mutual view directions with Nam Xay Viewpoint but less crowded. It offers a panoramic outlook of far away farms and limestone karsts, each breath-taking and cool-air blast through your skin, and comfortably cozy sun lights on your face on sunny days. We know this sounds a little bit challenging but it’s so worth trying!

In the afternoon – Tube in Nam Song River

Vang Vieng – Nam Song River

This is a small river in Laos that flows through the town of Vang Vieng. The river is a popular tourist destination surrounded by striking karst rock formations. You can enjoy seeing the Laotian countryside while going down the river in the inner tube of a tractor tyre or in a kayak.

In the evening – Explore dinner serving in hotpot at Vang Vieng Night Market

If you are a fan of hotpot (or steamboat, a Chinese cooking method, prepared with a simmering pot of soup and food with deep sauce), you should not miss a chance to have a hotpot dinner at Vang Vieng night market. There are a lot of choices for you to make a decision here, but the most popular and flavorful must be the hotpot with raw meat slices and greens with dark sauce.

But what is so special about this dish? The answer may surprise you a little bit: here in this very market, you have to cook a hotpot meal by yourself. What an interesting experience on your 9 days in Laos!

Day 6: Vang Vieng

In the morning – Admire Kaeng Nyui Waterfall

This is a 30 meter waterfall situated on the eastern side of Vang Vieng town. The water flows gets very powerful in the wet season, but can change to a trickle in the driest months of April/May. Therefore, you should hire a local tour guide or book a tour from an experienced tour operator to enjoy the best of Kaeng Nyui Waterfall.

In the afternoon – Ride to Blue Lagoon 3

Blue Lagoon - Laos

Blue Lagoon – Laos

The azure waters here are fed by a natural spring that emerges from a nearby karst limestone peak and it is still relatively quiet compared with its more infamous namesake.

Tubes are available for hire, there is a small zipline into the water, and a basic restaurant. It’s usually quiet in the mornings, but can get busier in the afternoons as children come to cool off.

In the evening – Enjoy local food and night city tour

You can rent a motorbike for an overnight rental and take a night city tour around this lovely city. Seeing people’s lifestyle, immersing into traffic and choosing to stop by any food store, bar, club or restaurant you prefer – one of the best activities that you should try on your 9 days in Laos.

Read more: Top 15 Laos food you must try

Day 7: Vang Vieng

In the morning – Stop over at Mor Village – a fishing village and enjoy lunch at Nam Ngum Lake area

Nam Ngum Lake

Beautiful Nam Ngum Lake

Nam Ngum river is home to about one million people in Laos, covered by forests. Coming to Mor village and Nam Ngum fishing area is stepping into a peaceful world of Mother Nature. You can enjoy the cleanest and freshest food in this land, especially various kinds of fish.

If you are looking for a place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the best choice of yours on your 9 days in Laos.

In the afternoon – Visit Tham Nam Water Cave

Here in Tham Nam Water Cave, you can immerse into a cool water, hang yourself on the zipline toward the underground river for 500 metres. Why visiting this in the afternoon but morning or noon? In the afternoon, this cave is less crowded and noisy with fewer people than any other time of the day; therefore, it will allow you to have a complete experience.

In the evening – Go biking

You can rent a bike to scroll around the city in the last evening here in Vang Vieng. You will have a chance to calm, do some soft exercises before going to sleep, admire the peaceful and quiet atmosphere of villages and breathe in your chest the rice paddy fields’ fragrant. What a lovely evening on your 9 days in Laos!

Day 8: Vang Vieng to Pakse

In the morning – Transfer to Pakse

Compared to the north and central Laos, the south seems to be quieter and less touristy. However, if you want to discover some off-the-beaten-track attractions in this country, you cannot miss this region. Founded in 1905 by the French, Pakse is considered a starting point on a journey to Southern Laos. This town is located on a peninsula between the Mekong and Xe Don River.

In the afternoon – Discover magnificent waterfalls, imposing mountains, and colorful ethnic villages in Bolaven Plateau Area

Bolaven Plateau, Laos

Bolaven Plateau, Laos

The plateau’s elevation ranges from 1000 metres to 1350 metres above the sea level. It has an ethic group of people of Mon-Khmer. If you are looking for some off the beaten path experience on your 9 days in Laos, Bolaven Plateau is the place for you! It will blow your mind with marvelous view of tall green trees, waterfalls and the whole structures of residential areas below.

You can take a motorbike tour with your group of friends or family to explore around Bolaven Plateau Area.

In the evening – Overnight on a cruise to Khong Island

This is known as “the largest sleepy island of Laos”, located in the Mekong river. Everything slows down on this island, just like a boat floating on the Mekong. You will have a chance to admire the dawn and chase the sunset on a cruise on Khong island, together with enjoying the cool wind and experiencing special local dishes.

Day 9: Pakse

In the morning – Cruise to Si Phan Don & Visit the ruins of Wat Phou Temple Complex

Si Phan Don

About 150 kilometers from the south of Pakse is Si Phan Don. It means ‘four thousand islands’, is a famous area with numerous unspoiled island. When you visit this place, you will have a chance to see Irrawaddy dolphin and the magnificent Khone Phapheng falls. The pace of life is really slow in this area and you can watch local people living in stilted houses, raising livestock, and working on rice paddies. Most visited islands in Si Phan Don are Don Khon, Don Det, and Don Khong.

Wat Phou

Wat Phou

Wat Phou

On a cruise to Si Phan Don, you cannot miss Wat Phou. This is the ancient ruins which can be dated back to the 10thcentury. The east of Pakse is well-known for backpackers and adventurous travelers because of Bolaven Plateau. This place houses many spectacular waterfalls among that the highest one is Tad Fane.

In the afternoon – Transfer back to Luang Prabang for department

Laos – Luang Prabang street

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