Laos Country Guide


Trekking in mountainous Northern Laos is popular, often including homestays in villages of minority tribes. The main hub is in Louang Namtha where the two-day Ban Nalan Trail is especially notable. The trekking route goes through the Nam Ha National Protected Area and involves staying in Khmu villages. Other trekking hubs include Oudomxay (south of Louang Namtha) and Pakse in Southern Laos.
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On the River
Kayaking can be arranged at a wide number of locations in Laos. The ambitious traveller could kayak on the Mekong River between Luang Prabang and Vientiane. Tubing (floating down the river on a large inflatable tube) is one of the attractions on the backpacker circuit and the Nam Song River at Vang Vieng is hugely popular with foreign tourists. It is also known as a party town and gradually losing is Laotian character. If you're more interested in enjoying the scenery, quieter tubing locations include Si Phan Don, Nong Khiaw and Mung Ngoi. River cruises are a popular way to take in the Laotian scenery and options include working your way up or down the Mekong.

Karst mountains in Vang Vieng by Jialiang Gao

Rock Climbing
Rock climbing was nearly an unknown activity in Laos until recent years. Today climbing the limestone karst formations in Northern Laos is becoming a popular activity with Western tourists. Vang Vieng is the main base for rock-climbing in the region, offering free access to many of the formations. Rental of equipment is available in Vang Vieng as well as 2-3 days training courses. Another popular destination in Northern Laos is on the outskirt of Luang Prabang and others include Nong Khiaw, Pha Tang and Mung Ngoi.

Nam Song River by James Shannon

A recommended Laotian experience is the herbal sauna, which is often run by the temples. Usually open in the evenings, these are frequently just a rickety bamboo shack with a stove and piped water on one side. Enter and pay, typically around 10,000 kip plus 40,000 kip for an optional massage afterward. Then go to the changing room, take off your clothes and wrap yourself in a sarong provided. After this go to the shower or water bucket in one corner and clean yourself. Then plunge yourself in the steaming hot sauna room and you will soon sweat profusely. When you've had enough, exit the sauna, sip on a little weak tea and experience the refreshing feeling.

Country Guide

Laos Hotels
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Huay Xai
Louang Namtha
Luang Prabang
Muang Sing
Vang Vieng

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