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Laos Popular Tourist Attractions, Things to Do & See
Laos is a Southeast Asian country traversed by the Mekong River and known for mountainous terrain, French colonial architecture, hill tribe settlements and Buddhist monasteries. Vientiane mixes French-colonial architecture with Buddhist temples such as the golden, 16th-century Pha That Luang monument, where a reliquary reportedly houses the Buddha’s breastbone, plus the Patuxai war while Luang Prabang is considered as the best well-preserved ancient city and its tradition, culture, religion are still deeply practiced. Visitors to Luang Prabang are admired by the friendly atmosphere of this small city, mix architectures, beautiful waterfall and caves. Unfortunately, the country doesn’t have coastline or any beach destinations.
The Capital of Vientiane
Close to Thailand’s border, the Vientiane capital city situates on a curve of Mekong River. Well-known as the home to the most significant national monument, the oldest temples and Buddha Park are the most attractive sites. Despite visiting Wats, Vientiane delivers a relaxing riverside break while watching spectacular sunset over The Mekong. Offer the best city orientation to discover colorful silk goods, boutique galleries, traditional handicrafts etc.
› National History Museum: Locates centrally in the French colonial building, the 2-sorey museum exhibits Lao pre historical and modern times. Mainly emphasis on highlighting the struggle & claiming to free the country for the independence.
› Pha That Luang: Standing up with 45 meters, the great, shiny gold covered stupa sits in the heart of Vientiane is a must see.
› Patuxai: Or Patuxai Arch is significant impressive monument of victory, also the notable landmark when the country struggled to claim the independence from France.
› Wat Si Saket: Under the red roof in Siamese style, Wat Si Saket features its cloister wall housing more than 5000 Buddha images.
› Wat Si Muang: The Buddhist architecture style, also the popular, sacred site for worshiping and an interesting legendary is always revealed when you visit the temple.
› Haw Phra Keo: The stunning Buddhist temple houses the emerald Buddha, which dates back to 1565. It’s well worth for a visit and a great site to learn about the history, and observe the fascinating architecture.
› Buddha Park (or Xieng Khuan): Xieng Khuan means “Spirit City”, situates about 25km away from central Vientiane. It features more than 200 interesting, religious Hindu & Buddhist images/sculptures of including the giant reclining Buddha statue and four-armed god.
› Night Market: Enjoy yourself walking along the river front then spend a free hassle to stroll around reputable night market if you want to look up some unique souvenirs bring back home. Many stalls sell various handicrafts, paintings, clothes and many more.
This ancient pearl city locates in the centre of Northern Laos, lies in a valley at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. You can see the unique alms giving at the quiet streets where saffron monks walk in queue to get the offers every morning. The cultural delights, waterfall, mix architectures & exotic temples can be found while strolling around to reveal other hidden gems. Admired by a wide range, popular night markets, that will keep you bargaining as well as buying their lovely souvenirs.
› Kuang Si Waterfall: Locates south of Luang Prabang, these fascinating, green shallow pools sit at the hillside adorned with three tier waterfall, you can get cool off and swim as well as taking picturesque photos of the surroundings.
› Tad Sae Waterfall: Alternatively, Tad Sae waterfall is also a great place to visit, relax by the cascades and swim/cool off in the blue clear-water pool, paper by vegetation and nature.
› Alms Giving Ceremony: Luang Prabang is considered as the Buddhist city where the ritual of alms giving is highly practiced across the city when the dawn begins. It has become the most important must-see in Luang Prabang.
› Pak Ou Caves: One of attractive tourists destinations in Luang Prabang, the sacred site consists of lower & upper caves which houses many wooden Buddha images and dates back thousands of years. You can enjoy the breathtaking and overlooking the Mekong River from the upper cave.
› Royal Palace Museum: The Royal Palace Museum or Haw Kham was built for King Sisavangvong & his family during the French colonial era. It is a well worth-guided walking orientation if you aim to unlock the Lao culture and history.
› Mount Phousi: The hill centrally rises above 150 meter high in the ancient town of Luang Prabang, the perfect spot to view sunrise or sunset and the fantastic landscapes of the Mekong River & the surroundings below.
› Wat Xieng Thong & Wat Long Khoun: Not far from each other at each side of Nam Khan River, these Buddhist Wats are not big different, were constructed in a single level admired by Luang Prabang architectures and its religious significance.
› Wat Wisunarat: The oldest Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang, was built in 15th century and has interesting history regarding to King Wisunarat, Museum of Religious Arts and so on.
› Elephant Village Sanctuary or Elephant Park Project: About 20km to South of Luang Prabang, the project offers a great opportunity for tourists to visit rescued elephants, get involved to spend a couple hours to shower/play with those lovely creatures and learn more about the project. If possible, try not to take the ride on their backs even it is an hour ride.
› Ban Phanom: Situates about 7km from east of Luang Prabang, Ban Phanom is renowned for its colorful silk products, go for a guided walking tour to observe the silk/cotton weaving and also a good place to buy ones as souvenirs before flight back home.
The small town of Vang Vieng is in between Luang Prabang & Vientiane, has become the significant tourist destination and should not miss out when visiting Laos. The fantastic limestone formation, mountain peaks, mountainous caves & the charm of Song River provide great memory and experience. There some sport activities would be an ideal for those who love sporting to explore the rest of the region – including kayaking, climbing and cycling.
› Tour Route: The tour will start either from Luang Prabang or Vientiane then always spend an overnight (or 2 nights if you extremely like it) in Vang Vieng. You never miss out the important Tham Chang Caves of Vang Vieng, the Blue Lagoon, or a silk weaving village and particularly take a boat ride along Nam Song River to explore the spectacular scenery, limestone formation and take beautiful photos of the mountainous countryside. If you spend 2 nights in Vang Vieng, you should enjoy the slow pace of tour activities of kayaking, or climbing and cycling to explore the tranquil region.
Either reach by flight or overland, Xieng Khuang is an interesting home of plain Jars where different thousands of big/small jars were carved in various shapes and the plain attracts hundreds of tourists yearly. The fascinating area admires the orientated touring to check out mysterious stories behind this famous area as well as unlocking the history of war. When make a visit to central market, you can stroll around to see many ethnic hill tribe people with daily activities of market trading, a great chance to take photos.
› Tour Route: Accommodate at least a night when you drive from Vang Vieng or Luang Prabang, the half day guided walking tour leads you to explore the plain of jars in Phonsavan province laying on the huge rice fields – known as the home of giant stone jars dated back at least 2000 years and associated with the historical war between 1964 and 1973. Learn from your guide about the mysterious story & enjoy the surroundings.
After your exploration to the main Laos Top Tourist Attractions, you may not know what-else you can do & see when you have a free time and wonder what activities to suit your level for half or full day tour. Here are the answers for you;
If you’re a bike rider, this will absolutely suit your level. The bike adventure gives a wonderful experience off the central of Luang Prabang, see beautiful nature, mountainous landscapes, passing villages where you come a cross a lot of interaction by the locals, continue by boat along Nam Khan River then photograph the stunning view of Tad Sae waterfall, get cool off and swim in the crystal water pool.
Highly recommend a sightseeing tour combine with a few hours kayak activities on Nam Khan River or on Nam Ou River. Both places offer a great kayak adventure down/upstream of the mighty Mekong River where you see spectacular scenery, river boat activities, rice fields and the stunning nature.
Beyond your journey, Luang Prabang still offers a day trekking tour to see local communities & rural villages. The guided walking leads you to see beautiful nature, limestone, mountain, river and meet a lot of encounters all the way you pass from one village to others. This will gives a lot of time to take amazing photos.
Pakse is famed for its 4000 islands, rocky rapids and waterfalls; Don Khong & Don Det are easier to accessed and popularly occupied by tourists while Don Khon island is smaller and less tourists but it’s good for those look love the pleasant surroundings and beautiful rural Lao. Close to Cambodia’s border, Don Khon gives a chance to see glimpses of rare Irrawaddy Dolphins & waterfall.
Vientiane Night Market
Enjoy yourself walking along the river front then spend a free hassle to stroll around reputable night market if you want to look up some unique souvenirs bring back home. Many stalls sell various handicrafts, paintings, clothes and many more.
Night Market, Street Food of Luang Prabang & Eat like locals
In the evening, Settathilat and Sisavangvong roads popularly occupied by the locals & tourists. The entire area is fulfilled with food stalls, collection of handicrafts, textiles and other various souvenirs including clothes. If you look for authentic taste of the local flavors and delicious grilled, barbecued meats and especially the Lao noddle soup, just stroll around and take a seat, choose what you like and eat like locals. Next, it’s time to wander around to see interesting selling activities, see colorful handmade products and bargain for crafted souvenirs. Settathilat and Sisavangvong roads are considered as the best sites to see local life at night and are a must-see when visting Luang Prabang.
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