Best Laos tour packages for 2018 customized by Paradise Travel™

Laos stopover: Vientiane & Luang Prabang in 5 Days

Vientiane > Luang Prabang 5 Days/ 4 Nights
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Laos Natural Expeditions in 8 days

Luang Prabang > Vientiane > Pakse > Champassak 8 Days/ 7 Nights
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Laos Overland Experience Tour in 6 days

Luang Prabang > Vang Vieng > Vientiane 6 Days/ 5 Nights
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Laos Soft Adventure tour In 6 Days

Luang Prabang > Vang Vieng > Vientiane 6 Days/ 5 Nights
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Forgotten Laos – Discovery Tour in 8 days

Luang Prabang > Xieng Khouang > Vang Vieng > Vientiane 8 Days/ 7 Nights
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Mysterious Laos – Tour in 7 Days

Vientiane > Phonsavan > Muangkhoune > Luang Prabang > Pak Ou caves 7 Days/ 6 Nights
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Highlights

  • The ancient capital of Luang Prabang is the mix of French architecture with aquamarine waterfalls and Buddhist temples.
  • Vientiane, Laos’ national capital, mixes French-colonial architecture with Buddhist temples.
  • Pak Ou Caves: One of Luang Prabang’s most popular sites, these limestone caves are well-known for several Buddhist sculptures.
  • Xieng Khouang: a flat highland plateau which is famous for a unique archaeological landscape ‘The Plain of Jars’.
  • Khong Island (Don Khong): the largest of the Mekong islands with a peaceful town Muang Khong.
  • Don Khon and Don Det: smaller islands with picturesque landscapes, beautiful waterfalls and local distinctiveness.

Tips

  • The best time to visit Laos is from November to January when the weather is cool. Avoid March and April when it is the peak time of summer.
  • Keep some cash: Credit card is accepted in some hotels and restaurants. The local currency of Laos is Kip, and have some US dollar just in case.
  • If you want to use your mobile phone in Laos, buy a prepaid phone card from mini-marts or phone shops at around US$10. The major providers are Tango and Laotel.
  • Dress appropriately, never wear shorts and skirts and take off your shoes when visiting religious sites.
  • Show respectful manners to the monks. Remember that women are not allowed to touch the monks.

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Basic information

  • Population: 6.9 million (2016)
  • Capital: Vientiane city
  • Ethnic group: 47 minorities
  • Main language: Lao
  • Currency: Lao Kip (K)
  • Time zone: GMT+7
  • Country phone code: + 856

 

Overview

Laos is a land-locked country in mainland Southeast Asia. It shares the border with Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and China. The recorded history of Laos goes back to the 14th century when the independent Kingdom of Lan Xang (one million elephant) was formed. In 1893, it became a territory of France until declared its own independence in 1953. Its population remains lowest in Asia (approximately 6.9 million). At present, despite a limited infrastructure, Laos is a wonderful country to visit. Travelers will surely enjoy the country rich culture and history, natural beauty, Buddhist customs, and the gentle and friendly Lao people …

 

Major cities

Population-wise, the top 5 cities largest cities of Laos are Vientiane, Pakse, Savannakhet, Luang Prabang and Xam Nua.

 

Transportation

Transportation in Laos consists of two main vehicles, which are Tuk-tuk (three-wheeled car) and taxi. Since there are fewer vehicles outside of the large centers, travelers could book rental car with driver provided and operated by local tour operators. Railroad in Laos is not a popular option because many routes are still under construction. Domestic flights to smaller airports in Laos frequently get cancelled due to fog, so it would be wise for travelers to confirm the flights one or two day before departure.

 

Money

The official national currency in Laos is the Lao kip (K). According to the law, only kip is legal for everyday transactions in Laos. But in reality, Lao kip, Thai baht and US dollars are usable for commerce as well. On tip, tipping is not known as a culture in Laos except in tourist-oriented restaurant, where 10% of the bill is appreciated.

 

Household electricity

Laos has the standard voltage of 230 Volts. If the standard voltage in ones country is in between 220 – 240 V (as is in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa), they can use their electric appliances in Laos. Otherwise, it is recommended for travelers to use all-in-one travel adapter when travelling to Laos or any South-east Asia countries.

 

Phone and internet

Lao Telecom, ETL, Beeline (ex Tigo) and Unitel are the major phone and 3G services providers in Laos. Wi-Fi is available at hotels, guest houses, cafes … in Laos, all visitors need to do is ask the employees for Wi-Fi password.

Laos is a great destination to travel any time all-year round since the country has no coastline that influences the weather. Laos weather is a tropical climate with two seasons which are dry and wet season. Each season are different in average temperature and humidity. Below is the guide for travelers to decide when to go to Laos.

 

May and June in Laos is the early wet season. The temperature is very hot (average of 27 degree C or 81 degree F). On the bright side, the rainfall is often short, which cleanses the air and cools off the atmosphere.
July to September in Laos is when the rain becomes more constant and could get very heavy, especially in the northern and central part of the country. Generally, the higher the destination, the more rain it gets. So the towns along the Mekong River get the least rain. During this time, the average temperature is 24-25 degree C or 75-76 degree F.
October to February in Laos is the cool dry season. During this time, the average temperature is 21-24 degree C (68-76 degree F) while the humidity is not high and the night remains cool. Another great thing is that during this time frame, the rivers are high enough to make river travel easy and flexible. However, this is the most popular time for travelers to visit Laos, so do expect to see more people than other time of the year. During this time in the far south, winter is even warmer and someday could get hot, while the weather gets colder when moving north to the higher aptitude.
March to April in Laos is the hot dry season. The average temperature is 30/32 degree C (86/90 degree F). Even though this period seems short but the intensity of the heat makes up for that. On April, the temperature could get to 35 or 40 degree C. Especially, from March to May, farmers here set fire to rice stubble to fertilize the soil for a new crop season, which results in layers of smoke covering the air and irritating the eyes.
In conclusion, the best time to visit Laos is from November to February which is the coolest part of the dry season.

Vientiane

Vientiane is the capital as well as the largest city of Laos. Despite that this is the largest city in Laos, it gives visitors an impression of calmness and tranquility. The city has many significant Buddhism icons of Laos such as That Luang monument, Haw Phra Kaew temple, Wat Sisaket temple, Wat Simuang monastery … Beyond the temples, there are many other attractions such as Victory Gate Patuxai, Buddha Park, Lao Revolutionary Museum …

 

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is the former capital of Laos from the 14th to 16th century and again in 19th century. Visiting Luang Prabang, tourists will have the opportunity to explore the monasteries, monuments, traditional costumes, collections of old French house since colonial era, and beautiful scenery. Luang Prabang is also where many traditional Lao wooden-structured houses remain. In 1996, Luang Prabang was voted as the World Heritage site.

 

Savannakhet

Savannakhet means “Golden Land” due to its history as a trading post for the French colonialists, Vietnamese and Chinese merchants in 1920s. At present, the province is focused on mining natural resources like copper, gold, and producing tobacco products. Currently, it has a less interest in developing in tourism resources and facilities. However, there are many attractions for tourists to visit such as the French colonial architectures, Wat Sayaphum, Tad Ing Hang Stupa, Savanxay Market …

 

Pakse

Pakse is usually regarded as the far South’s biggest town in Laos. The city was an administrative outpost of the French in 1905. Comparing to Luang Prabang or Savannakhet, Pakse does not bring visitors a sense of nostalgic because that there are not many historic architectures remaining here. Furthermore, the tourism infrastructure is not very developed. However, this is becoming a popular starting point in Laos explore because of its excellent road link system to other cities.

 

Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng is known as a combination of natural wonder, backpacker area and party central. Despite the reputation this town gained over the years as a non-stop party area, the town has been calmer in the past several years due to government’s restriction of illegal drugs and alcohol beverage consumption. Nowadays, visitors travel here, besides emerging themselves in the beautiful unspoiled nature, has many other activity options such as river tubing, kayaking, mountain climbing, cave exploring …

 

Pakbeng

Pakbeng is a small village in between Luang Prabang and Huay Xai. This quiet and sleepy town usually is a stop-for-the-night spot for travelers going to Luang Prabang. What it has to offer is a calm stop point, a good night’s sleep, and a beautiful sunset view.

 

Khouangsi Waterfalls

Located nearby Luang Prabang, Khouangsi waterfalls is a well-known waterfalls in Laos and in Southeast Asia. Coming here, visitors will be amazed at the wonderful scenery of dense tropical plants filtering sunlight dropping down to turquoise blue pools. Travelers could swim, take many wonderful pictures and selfies with this magnificent spiritual place. Another option would be hiking up to the top of the falls. But be extremely careful since the trail is steep and quite slippery. However, the view up top is truly incredible.

 

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 and cock fighting and trade fair.

 

Pak Ou

Nearby Luang Prabang, Pak Ou caves is a complex system of two caves, which are lower cave (Tham Ting) and upper cave (Tham Theung). The whole complexity consists of more than 6000 ancient Buddha statues with different sizes and shapes. This cave is where nearby villagers and pilgrims from all over the world bring or send damaged and old Buddha statue for retirement instead of tossing them.

Visiting temples and pagodas

Since Buddhism is a national religion of Laos, the country is well-known for its Buddhist monasteries, temples and pagodas with rich history and beautiful architecture. The most popular Buddhist architectures are located in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. In Vientiane, some highlighted Buddhist architectures are the national monument Pha That Luang Pagoda, Vientiane’s oldest temple Wat si Saket, the Haw Phara Kaew temple with a 18th century bronze Buddha images … In Luang Prabang, travelers could visit the magnificent Silver Pagoda, the most historically significant Wat Xieng Thong, the new monastery Wat Mai, Wat Sene Souk Haram – the Temple of a 100 000 treasures, Wat That Luang temple – the cremation site for Lao royalty …

 

Exploring caves and waterfalls

The two most famous natural sites as well as must-see when travelling to Laos are the surreal Kuang Si Falls and the solemn Pak Ou Caves. Additionally, there are many other natural sites worth visiting such as the 3 level waterfalls Tad Sae, the stunning Tat Somphamit, the water cave Tham Nam, the picturesque Tham Phu Kham Cave and Blue Lagoon …

 

Elephant experience

Elephant has always been tied with Laos since the starting time of nation Lan Xang. This is the origin of the title “Land of a Million Elephants.” Elephant is viewed as one of the scared wild animals, but they are hunted badly and being abused for wood logging in Laos. Realizing the seriousness of the problem, organization has saved and tries their best to protect these elephant. In order to maintain the preservation and generating the expense to cover the raising cost, they have opened up Elephant camps or Elephant villages for tourist to interact and learn more about this majestic animal. A half day tour with elephant riding through the forest and river landscapes, bathing the elephants in the river or spending a day at elephant villages are truly a memorable experiences.

 

Mekong cruise

In Laos, the river, known as the Mae Nam Khong or Mekong River – the Mother of Waters, runs across Laos and Thailand borders. Whether you’re in Luang Prabang, Vientiane, or Pak Se, the Mekong will be right there. For this reason, cruising the Mekong is always an available great adventurous experience for travelers. Today, there are an increasing number of options available ranging from short cruises between northern Thailand & Luang Prabang or in southern Laos, to longer, luxurious sailings along the Mekong. Contact your local tour operators for more Laos cruise adventure ideas.

 

Souvenir shopping

Local souvenir could be a great source to reflect one country’s culture and history as well as souvenir shopping is a great activities if your tour time is restricted. Laos is well-known for its handicraft products, hence, some souvenir ideas for visitors are: Phaa sin skirt, carving, textiles, ceramic …

 

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