The Top unique things to do in Laos | i Travel Blog

 

 


The Top Unique things to do in Laos

Up early today to cross the Border into Laos. Time to say goodbye to wonderful Thailand! Our tour leader had taken our passports the previous day and filled out the necessary visa forms and arrival and departure cards on our behalf. 

 

We were given those back and once we were stamped out of Thailand and reached the Laos immigration office we were met by our Laos guide who guided us through the visa process. It was all very seamless and straightforward with the help of our guides.

Laos scenery was very much like Northern Thailand – very green and lush helped along by the rainy season. We boarded the slow boat where we would spend the next two days travelling down the Mekong river. 

Absolutely incredible experience! The boat was long and very comfortable with seats and tables, good toilet facilities and lie down beds if you wanted to take a nap. There were magazines, books and playing cards to keep us occupied. The family who owned the boat were extremely friendly and on both days cooked us amazing delicious feasts on the boat which we still talk about! The scenery was just stunning and we learned a lot from the guide and the family about their beautiful country.

 

Pak Beng, Laos

Pak Beng in Laos was where we docked for the night during our Mekong journey. It is a remote village by the river where we spotted the first sign of French colonisation with two bakeries near the pier with lovely fresh baguettes and pastries! Heaven. We walked around the small village and saw a traditional food market with mostly fruit and veg and some fresh fish. There were children playing and helping out at the market. This really was local life in Laos.

 

We had dinner at our guesthouse and I got Pizza (I know!) but it was one of the nicest pizzas I have ever had. In a remote town in Laos on the Mekong river. It was unexpected to say the least! There was clearly only 1 person cooking the food in the kitchen for all 10 of us so we were served one by one. It is strange but it is normal practice in South East Asia, meals are rarely served at the same time. They come out when they are ready and you don’t wait for the next person to be served or your food will get cold.

 

Luang Prabang, Laos

 

Another day on the Mekong, the scenery was gorgeous. We visited a small local village where little huts were homes and the residents were selling textiles and local rum distilled in the area. We also stopped at Pak Ou Caves to visit another temple and learned the history of the area from our guide. I was so excited at this stage to arrive in Luang Prabang as we had heard great things about this destination!

 

Sunway hotel, simple 3*with traditional décor, 10-15 minutes' walk from the town centre.

On the first night we arrived we of course explored the local night market. This was one of the bigger markets I had been too and seemed to go on forever. It was not a food market but sold everything from textiles, clothes, paintings, jewellery, accessories, technology gadgets. We went for a group dinner in a great restaurant called The Garden Restaurant with delicious food.


Kuang Sii Falls, Luang Prabang, Laos

We had an orientation walk of the town and got a better feel for it. There was beautiful French influence in the architecture.  Restaurants and cafes lined the street by the river and on the river bank itself. I loved Luang Prabang and would like to visit again someday. Later on, the trip to Kuang Sii falls was fantastic. 

On the second day I opted for the Thai Cooking class and I am so glad I did it. It was really enjoyable, one of the highlights for me. You choose 4 dishes to cook in the half day session. You get a chance to enjoy each dish before cooking the next one. Don’t have a big breakfast . We got a cookery book to bring home too so we could re-create our culinary masterpieces. Highly recommend.

 

Even though the crystal clear blue waters that it is famous for on social media was not to be seen. As it was rainy season the waters had turned a brown colour which was a pity but it was still beautiful and we had a quick swim in the freezing water! It would be well welcomed in the height of summer for cooling down.

 

Mount Phu Si, Laos

The following day was a free day where we explored the town a bit more on foot and climbed over 300 steps to Mount Phu Si for a panoramic view of the town and surrounding area. It was stunning. We spent the day pottering around visiting local cafés, it is a great place to hire bikes and explore that way too.

Next morning, getting up at dawn to witness the monks collecting alms was the highlight of my trip. Visitors and locals alike line the footpath to offer food to the passing monks. You are given a scarf sash to wrap around you and a basket of sticky rice. The monks walk slowly by you, a large vase like container strapped around them and they hold the lid open for you to put your offerings in. You bow your head as you do this and remain quiet. About 50-60 monks passed by in 3 groups and it was a really great experience. This ritual dates back centuries and is said to give you good merit if you partake in it. I would recommend not to miss this!


Vang Vieng, Laos

Later this day, the transfer from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng was tedious windy roads which continued for 7 hours, we were glad to get there. The scenery along the way is breathtaking and we stopped at viewpoints and for lunch along the way.

The surrounding scenery in Vang Vieng was so beautiful – recurring theme here in Laos. The town itself is small and is reknowned for adventure acitivites such as tubing, kayaking, black water rafting, hot air ballooning. There are many caves to visit which we did on our free day here.

Dinner overlooking the Mekong on our first night was very relaxing and there a few bars in the town for some nightlife – including an Irish bar where we bumped into someone we knew from home! 

 

Vientiane, Laos

Our final stop on the trip was the capital of Laos, Vientiane. The hotel was called the Family Hotel and it was a lovely comfortable hotel with modern rooms, quite spacious - not unlike the first hotel in Bangkok so it was nice to begin and end with a bit of luxury!


We had another guide meet us this afternoon and take us to some sights around the city. For our last night we went for a group dinner to an upmarket restaurant with traditional Laotian music and dance performances. It was a lovely way to wrap up the trip.

 

On your bucket List?

Overall Laos was a magnificent and unique experience, the tour allowed us to immerse ourselves into and experience local life.The town on Pak Beng is a lovely charming city witha very French influence to it.  The temples are just stunning overlooking the city well worth the visit for the sweeping view There are very unique things to do in Laos from visiting the Pak ou Caves, to see the Kuang Sii falls, to doing an offer to passing monks and to adventure activities such as kayaking and hot air ballooning! – it really has it all and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend adding on your bucket list.

 



 

Ellen

Travel Consultant at J Barter Travel

Currently travelling around Asia, with stops in SingaporeMalaysia, Thailand, LaosVietnamCambodiaPhilippinesIndonesia and Hong Kong, and also Australia and New Zealand.




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