Nearby is the village of Ban Phanom, best known for its weaving. You can visit a traditional village and buy silk and embroidery at low prices. 25km further on the banks of the Mekong River are the famous Pak Ou Caves which can be reached by speedboat from Luang Prabang. The two caves, Tham Ting and Tham Phun , are filled with Buddha images left there by worshipers hundreds of years ago. Further along the river is the small village of Ban Xang Hai, known for its rice whiskey production. The Kuang Si Waterfalls, 30 km west of Luang Prabangare also worth a visit. You can even swim in the shallower pools.
Located in the extreme northwest of Laos, Luang Namtha province, home to 39 ethnic minorities, is very mountainous and has areas of tropical rainforest. UNESCO would like to carry out an eco-tourism project here. Muang Xing is a small riverside town that was once an outpost for the South China Empire. From here you can start fascinating trekking excursions.
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The old royal city of Luang Prabang, located between the Mekong and the Khan, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995 and, with 32 large temple complexes, forms the cultural and religious center of the country. One of the most impressive temples is Wat Xieng Thong, decorated with stained glass and gold. From the nearby city center you can climb Mount Phousi, which offers panoramic views of the city and rivers. Other attractions include the National Museum, the former royal palace recognizable by its ‘stupa’ (Buddhist statue/monument) adorned with a golden tower. here one can admire an impressive collection of artifacts from ancient rulers of the kingdom of Lane Xangh.
The province of Xiang Khouang in the northeast of the country is characterized by lush green landscapes, mountains and limestone formations. The capital Phonesavanh, situated at an altitude of 1200m, has a pleasant climate. Here you can visit the plain of the jars. Hundreds of stone jars weighing up to 1000 kg and up to 2.50 m high, whose origin is still unclear, are scattered over a wide area. These jars, over 2000 years old, are believed to have been used as sarcophagi or for fermenting rice wine. 52km north of Phonsavan you can bathe in the hot springs Bo Noi and Bo Yai.
Vientiane & Northern Laos
One of Asia’s most serene and tranquil cities, Vientiane sits amidst lush countryside on the banks of the Mekong. Many buildings are reminiscent of the former connection to Europe, such as the old French colonial buildings and the Monument des Morts, which bears a vague resemblance to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The country’s landmark is the 16th-century That Luang (Royal Stupa), which represents the union of Buddhism and Laoism. Other interesting sights are the Lao Revolutionary Museum, Wat Ho Prakeo, a former royal temple, Wat Sisaket, one of the oldest temples in the city, and 24km south of the city, Wat Xieng Khouang (Buddha Park), which features fascinating Buddhist and Hindu statues.
Khammouane province is accessible by bus from Vientiane . Eco-tourism is currently being promoted here , and fascinating limestone formations, caves, rivers and jungle form an incomparable scenic backdrop. The capital, Tha Kek, is an ideal base for other attractions such as the Tham Xieng Lap Caves and That Skihotabang, an impressive stupa built by King Nanthasen around the 10th century.
Pakse, the capital of Champassak Province , is served by flights from Vientiane. Here is the famous, but still relatively little visited Wat Phu Temple, from which one has a fantastic view of the Mekong Valley. The temple was built by the Khmer Hindus around the 5th century on a mountain near a freshwater spring and is best reached by boat from the Mekong. Other excursion destinations are the Bolaven Plateau, where you can do elephant safaris and trekking tours, and Sii Pan Dan (Four Thousand Islands), where islands form on the Mekong during the rainy season. You can also visit spectacular waterfalls and look out for the endangered Irriwaddy dolphin.
Savannakhet province is easily accessible by bus from Khammouane . It borders Thailand and Vietnam and is therefore a very good trading hub for both countries. The architecture is predominantly French colonial style, which can be admired, for example, in a large Catholic church. There are also a number of interesting Buddhist temples such as Wat Sainyaphum. Hiking tours on the Ho Chi Minh Trail are possible. This trail was used by the North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War as a clandestine route to transport weapons to South Vietnam. He was bombed by the US destroyed, and parts of the bombed areas can still be visited today. However, a tour is only possible with a guide, as there are still bombs that have not been defused on the route.
The markets in Vientiane and Luang Prabang (approx. 40 minutes flight from Vientiane) are worth a visit. Silk, ethnic silver jewellery, inlaid furniture and wicker baskets make great souvenirs. Although most shops have fixed prices, antiques and works of art are worth bargaining for. Shop opening hours: Mon-Fri 08.00-16.00, Mon-Sat 09.00-21.00 (private shops).
In Vientiane, the larger hotels have nightclubs that are open at weekends and often feature live Laotian music.
Rice is the staple food, the dishes are Indochinese in taste and composition. Hotel restaurants also offer Chinese or French cuisine. A specialty is venison. Rice whiskey, lao lao, is popular, two brands are available. The Laotian beer is also recommended.
There are good hotels and guesthouses in Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng. The standard outside of the cities is not very high. Hostels in small towns are poorly furnished.
There are no campsites.
60% Buddhism (Hinayana/Theravada), 40% followers of indigenous religions and others (including Christian and Muslim minorities, Confucianism and Taoism).
Social Rules of Conduct
The Laotians are reserved but friendly. Religious customs should be respected. It is best to avoid all political and related topics in conversations. Photographing military installations is prohibited. When photographing people and religious institutions or monks, caution is generally appropriate. Tipping is now accepted in hotels and restaurants, as well as from tourist guides.
Best travel time
Most of the country has a hot tropical climate. It’s cooler in the highlands. It is hottest during the rainy season from May to November, the dry season lasts from December to April.
Area (sq km)
7,275,560 (Source: homosociety)
Population density (per square km)
Population statistics year
Main emergency number