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Laos Tours - Off the Beaten Track Around Luang Prabang

By Andrew Mulvaney

A city of graceful temple rooftops rising above traditional wooden houses, encircled by sleepy greenery - Luang Prabang is one of the most beloved tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. And, while there is much to be discovered within the city, it is also a perfect base for those who wish to explore a little further afield on their Laos tours.

Much of the surrounding area is sparsely developed, leaving forests and farmlands, lively local communities, beautiful natural wonders and more to be found by the adventurous. Read on for some of the best 'off the beaten track' activities and destinations around Luang Prabang city.

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Mekong River near Luang Prabang by Wendy Harman

Relax at a Waterfall
One of the most delightful excursions available in the humid Southeast Asian countryside is a visit to a waterfall. It is a chance to wash off the sweat and dust as well as enjoy spectacular natural beauty and a convivial atmosphere. You are likely to find a friendly mix of day-tripping locals and other travellers at most of the waterfalls around Luang Prabang - making it an appealing addition to many Laos tours. One of the best options are the Kuang Si Falls, about 29 kilometres out of town, which can be reached by boat, bus, tuk tuk or motorbike. Take a picnic or sample the food stalls at the site, and spend a pleasant morning or afternoon trying out the pools at various levels, or exploring the surrounding area.

Small waterfall outside Luang Prabang by Martin Gustavsson 

Go Elephant Riding
There are many ways to explore the glories of the Laotian wilds while on Laos tours - such as trekking over mountain trails or taking a boat along the majestic Mekong - but the most memorable way to travel is undoubtedly by elephant. Used as transport since time immemorial in the region, these beautiful and intelligent animals were once considered the most reliable mode of transport. Today's visitors still remark on the grace and security with which they carry their human load. As well as offering a unique view as they bear you along jungle paths and across rivers, an elephant trek lets you get a glimpse of what travel was like in ancient times. Your travel operator or guest house should be able to recommend a reputable elephant camp.

Explore by Bicycle
Luang Prabang is surrounded by lush forests, idyllic rice fields and charming villages. What better way to see it all at your own pace than by bike? Bicycles are readily available to rent in town, and the city's quiet side streets can be as fun to explore on two wheels as the country beyond. Highlights include cycling along the banks of the Mekong, and nearby villages such as Ban Phanom, known for its weaving; or Ban Xang Khong, where mulberry paper is made - just to name just two.

Andrew Mulvaney works for Tucan Travel, an award-winning provider of high-quality Laos tours and other adventure tours to destinations such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Laos tours from Tucan Travel take you out of your comfort zone and immerse you in a thrilling, faraway land.

Author: Andrew Mulvaney

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