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Explore Our Laos - Simply Beautiful

Although there is no coastline, Laos is known as one of the most beautiful countries in Southeast Asia with very distinctive features such as vivid nature, majestic mountains, peaceful atmosphere, delicious food, and extremely friendly people. If you are looking for a real adventure in Southeast Asia, Laos is a destination that you are very interested in because it is still very untouched, and not much affected by human hands. Coming to Laos, you will often catch the rural images with vast green fields, clear blue sky, pure air, and the mountains in the far distance with white clouds wrapping the top of the mountains. You can explore Vientiane, the capital of Laos, a very small and lovely city, where you can cycle everywhere and not rush for anything. Or coming to Luang Prabang, a World Cultural Heritage site, is a lovely place, where to enjoy life and happiness. Or you can come to Vang Vieng, "The paradise of Discovery" attracts millions of tourists from all over The World. With one of the most beautiful landscapes in Laos, the riverside town of Vang Vieng is an ideal place where young people gather in conquering rapids, or have fun and drinking together. Obviously, do not miss the opportunity to ride on a bicycle and then go on a green tour to explore the ancient caves and chat with locals in the ancient villages, etc...
Capital City: Vientiane Laos Area: 236,800 km² Laos Population: 7,269,724 people Ethnic Groups: 49
Cities: 17 World Heritage Sites: 3 Intangible Cultural Heritage Sites: 1 The World Biosphere Reserves: 0

Travel Guide

1. Reasons to visit Laos ?

1. VERY EASY PROCEDURES, E-VISA & ON ARRIVAL
Getting visa to Laos is never difficult, you can obtain the visa at the embassy or consulate offices in countries have diplomatic relations with Laos or you can get visa on arrival or get E-visa through the website provided the Foreign Affairs. The practicalities of visiting Laos are set to improve in 2019, making this the perfect time to visit the country. The process of applying for visas will be vastly improved and will also include an online eVisa facility. This will make it far easier for international visitors to plan their trips to Laos, with a shorter turnaround time of receiving visas too. Visitors to Laos are projected to double by 2025, so now is the time to visit the country while you can still be one of the first among your friends to visit.
2. REALLY FRIENDLY PEOPLE WITH GREAT HOSPITALITY
We always say "People make a country", I am right? Well, Laos has some of the friendliest people in the world that you have ever met. They are kind, peaceful and genuinely love that you have come to visit their country. Furthermore, Lao people are regarded as frank, open, caring, polite, generous and giving. They also possess a strongly developed sense of courtesy and respect. Every one who adheres to the latter will receive a warm welcome. Loyalty to family and friends is very important to Lao people. Come there and you will love the characters of Laos people. 
3. PLAIN OF JARS
The Plain of Jars is a megalithic archaeological landscape in central Laos, where thousands of stone jars can be found scattered in valleys and foothills. An awe-inspiring place to visit, researchers believe the jars are associated with prehistoric burial practices. In 2019, Laos hopes to have the Plain of Jars added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Luang Prabang and Wat Phu Champasak are the country's other two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
4. IMPRESSIVE WATERFALLS
Laos has impressive waterfalls, like the aquamarine multi-tiered Kuang Si falls in Luang Prabang, and the raging Khone Phapheng Falls near 4000 islands, on the Cambodia border. Swim in the basins, hike through the jungles and bask in the beauty of these natural wonders. 
5. DELIGHTFUL AND AWESOME CUISINES
You're far more likely to find a Vietnamese or Thai restaurant in your neighbourhood, so this one might surprise you, but hear us out. Nothing in Laos is processed - everything is fresh, healthy and flavoursome. Everywhere you turn, you'll likely stumble across mountains of fresh herbs, sticky rice, steamed fish and crunchy salads. 
6. IT IS REALLY GREEN, EVER GREEN
Everywhere in Laos is green and lush. Forest, rice fields, mountainsides, jungle, the huge variety of vegetables in the markets, the moss growing on ancient ruins... You can't move without being visually assaulted by some shade of jade. 
7. BATHE IN THE BLUE LAGOON SURROUNDED BY LUSH VILLAGE AND MOUNTAINS
Just a short boat ride along the Mekong River can get you from Luang Prabang to the small town of Vang Vieng. Made up of just one straight high street, you might think it doesn't have much to offer, but boy, are you wrong. Vang Vieng is perfect for both adventure seekers and the chill-out types. The beautiful Blue langoon is just a 30 minute scooter ride away from the bustling town of Vang Vieng. Here, you can dive into the blue waters from one of two branches of a conveniently perched tree or take a seat on the makeshift swing, If you still have the energy for some more activities, you can have a go at the site's volleyball net, try your hand at rock climbing or hire a dune buggy and explore the idyllic jungle backdrop.
8. VERY WELL-PRESERVED AND BEAUTIFUL WATS
Laos is a majority Buddhist nation, and you can't get very far without running into an intricately painted temple or wat. Some of the most ornate temples are in Luang Prabang, the former royal capital. Historic temples like That Luang and Wat Si Saket can be found in Vientiane. If you travel to Champasak Province in southern Laos, Vat Phou (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is worth a visit. The ancient Khmer temple ruins attracts thousands in the middle of the third lunar month for traditional dancing, sporting events and music. 
9. VERY COLORFUL HILL TRIBES
Visiting ethnic minority villages is a fascinating experience, it's an opportunity to observe and know about the culture of the ethnic minorities. The northern provinces of Bokeo, Luang Namtha and Pongsali have the most diverse collection of ethnic minority. There are 49 minority ethnic groups in Lao is belonging to four ethno-linguistic families. Laos is an astonishing fount of ethnic diversity and indigenous knowledge, one reason of main reasons why visiting the country provides unusual experience. 
10. INEXPENSIVE FOOD AND DRINKS
When we say Laos is cheap, we mean it packs far less of a hit to the hip pocket compared to your travels through Europe, America, South America and Australia - though by SE Asia standards of cheap, it's a bit more expensive than its neighbours. Importantly though, Beerlao is cheap, like $1 per 500ml cheap. Of course there are some fancy restaurants and lodges that offer upmarket prices. 
11. BOKEO NATURE RESERVE & GIBBON EXPERIENCE
The Bokeo Nature Reserve was created to protect its population of the black-cheeked gibbon, rediscovered in 1997, which was previously thought to be extinct. A visit to Bokeo Nature Reserves is not complete without a stay at the Gibbon Experience, an eco tourism conservation project. Guests stay in tree houses and travel by zip line through the forests in search of the Black Gibbon. Besides the elusive black gibbon, visitors to the reserve may also see elephants, bears, tigers and wild buffalo. The Gibbon Experience also works to rehabiliate and return to the wild anamials that were captured by poachers. With mountains ranging from 1,600 to almost 5,000 feet in altitude, the reserve also is good place to watch birds. 
12. NO CROWDS 
Due to many travellers choosing not to come to Laos and Southeast Asia during this season, you will benefit by experiencing hardly and crowds! For instance, you will almost have the UNESCO World Heritage City of Luang Prabang all to yourself. Want to venture out to the Plain of Jars? You will get that picturesque photo with hardly any travellers around! This provides a richer cultural experience, where you will be able to connect more with locals - who are even more friendly this time of year. 
13. UNTOUCHED WILDERNESS
The true extent of the biodiversity in Laos is unkonwn to the point that scientists discovered a new species of flying mamal in 2012. This isn't all that suprising. Lao's forests, despite suffering severe degradation over the last several decades (forest cover declined almost 10% in the last 20 years) still cover huge swathes of the country. Much of it remains largely unexplored. And while a montonous steamy jungle might hold little appeal, this forest hangs among the undulating foggy mountains of northern Laos and the astonishing karst formations near the center of the country. The 100 Waterfalls Trek provides a short introduction to the wonders Laos has to offer. 
14. VISIT ELEPHANT SANCTUARY
Luang Prabang has a number of elephant camps. If you have time, please to visit one of the ethnical elephant sanctuary. It will be mesmerizing experience for you. On the visit, you will explore the mysterious beauty of the Lao jungle with our recently rescued elephants as your companions. This journey is a perfect way for these happy elephants to enjoy a walk in their natural habit after decades of hard labour in logging camps. It also offers you a once-in-a-life-time experience to learn more from and absorb their calming energy.
15. SUNSET OVER MEKONG RIVER
When the day's light is dimming, you'll find the Lao out in force. This is the best time to indulge in the delicious beer, Beerlao and you'll find many Lao gathered on tiny plastic stools drinking the ubiquitous beverage over ice. Linger for a moment and chances are you'll be invited to join - the Lao are not called "Asia's friendliest people" for nothing. Since most folk in Laos have settled along the Mekong and its tributaries, the river bank is the natural choice setting for the best daily light show on the planet and a great place to watch the day flow into night. 

2. Visa Requirement to Laos ?

  • Your passport must have at least 06 months validity remaining from the date of entry and at least two blank visa pages.
  • Tourists Visas are required. Tourist visas on arrival are available at certain ports of entry and generally permit a stay of 30 days. You can extend the visa up to an additional 60 days through the Department of Immigration in Vientiane.
  • To obtain a visa in advance and for other information about Laos entry requirements, please contacts or visit the Embassy or Consulate offices of the Lao People's Democratic Republic in your country. 

3. Weather in Laos ?

  • High Season (Nov-Mar): Pleasant temperatures in much of Laos, though it's cold in the mountains. It is the best all-around time to visits Laos. You are recommended to book your accommodation in advance during the peak Christmas and New Year period.
  • Shouler Season (Jul & Aug): Wet in most parts of Laos with high humidity, but the landscape are emrald green.
  • Low Season (Apr-Jun, Sep & Oct): April and May brings the hot season to Laos when the thermostat hits 40°C and visitors wilt. September and October can be very wet, but there are some incredible cloud formations to accompany the deluge. 

4. Best time to visit Laos ?

Laos is best visited betwwen October and April, when the weather's warm and dry throughout. River travel is best between November and January when higher water levels make passage easy along Lao's main waterway, the Mekong River. Visiting the Bolaven Plateau is alos pleasant at this time of year.

5. What are the most remarkable landmarks in Laos ?

Luang Prabang: Luang Prabang is an ancient town that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It lies at the mountains place in the north of Laos. Luang Prabang is an exceptional combinaiton of Laos uraban architecture and Eurpoe colonizer era. The special of Luang Prabang structure expressed not only in styles but also in materials. The majority of the whole structure is made of wood but the temples are made of stones.
Vientiane: Vientaine is known as Laos capital locating at the north-eastern bank of Mekong River. Vientiane will suprise you by its relaxing atmosphere that you rarely feel in other capitals, which will push you to a cold beer during the sunset time in a cruise to watch local daily life in the bank of Mekong. 
Vang Vieng: Vang Vieng lies in a prime location betwween Luang Prabang and Vientiane. Locating on the bank of Song River, Vang Vieng will have a bright future of tourism if the local keep the river as clean as possible and limit noise around the landscape.
Pakse: Pakse used to be the capital off the Kingdom of Champasak during the French colonialism until 1946. Different from other places in Laos, this city concludes ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese, therefore, you can witness the unique culture here. With Pakse International Airport, Pakes become the connection to Vientiane, Siem Reap and Bangkok.  

6. Best authentic experience in Laos ?

Playing petanque with the locals: Just walking around some villages or town in Laos, you can easily see people playing this game. Petanque is similar with bocce or lawn bowls. This game was brought to Laos by French. Laos people are very friendly, therefore, do not hesitate to be a part of the game.
Observing the alms giving cerenomy: Alms giving ceremony is a dispensable part of Luang Prabang and becomes a long standing tradition in Buddhist culture in Laos. Around 200 monks will depart from main street of Luang Prabang and spread out to every side street. Local people always wake up early to prepare food for the monks and wait solemnly and quietly in the roadside.
Taking part in a Baci ceremony: Baci ceremony is the ceremony that has existed for hundreds of years in Laos, Laos people believe that there are 32 organs in their body and each organ have a spirit. However, some organs often wander outside of their body, therefore, they use a white string that represents for 32 spirits to tie their hands to take their spirits back to their body to bring them good luck and prosperity. 

7. Top special dishes in Laos ?

Mok Pa: Mok Pa is a special food of Luang Prabang that is appreciated by many visitors. Thiis food was made of fish, herbs and vegetables. Mok Pa is served mostly in a banana leaf to bring the sense of nature to enjoy. 
Insect Protein: Eating food from insects such as caterpillars, crickets, grasshoppers, silkworm pupae, ant egg may make some tourists feel disgusted but it also makes many travelers feel excited by its uniqueness. Thanks to the way of cooking, you will no longer feel any discomfort when try this food.
Kaipen (Fried Seaweed): Kaipen is made of freshwater green algae collected from the Mekong River in the northern Laos. The algae will be pressed, seasoned and dried in the sun. Frying until crispy and then eating with bong is considered as the best way to try Kaipen.  

8. How to get to Laos ?

Flying to Laos from North American, UK & Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa usually involves one stop, in Bangkok or in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam but Laos easily accessed from most of its neighbouring countries such as Bangkok in Thailand, Phnom Penh or Siem Reap in Cambodia, Ha Noi or Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and from Yunan province in China. Check out with your travel consultant to book flights into Laos. 

9. Unusual things to do in Laos ?

Enjoying grilled bee honeycomb with larvae: This food look like a weird corncob wrapped by banana leaf and grilled by coals. However, If you take your look closer, you can see bee larvae is still inside their honeycomb hexagons. In Laos and Cambodia, honeycomb as well as other foods from insects are very popular because of their cheap source of protein.
Homestaying with Hmong or Khmu family: Hmong and Khmu are ethnic group in Laos and you will be surprise with their friendliness and hospitality. Living with Hmong and Khmu people, you will not only learn about their special culture but also experience living as their lifestyle.
Swimming at Tad Lo: Tad Lo consists of 3 waterfalls: Tad Lo, Tad Soung and Tadd Hang. Tad Lo is popular with trekking. However, you can experience in your own way. You can swim here to feel the cool fresh of the water insides the marvelous jungle.

10. Do and Don't in Laos

Do:
Exercising caution and wear helmets renting bikes: When traveling in Laos, many travelers really want to driving a bike, especially, travelers from Europe countries where driving motorbikes is not common. However, do not forget helmets when renting bikes or you will waste much of time for doing penalty procedures with police.
Dressing neatly and discreetly when visiting religious shrines or temples: Visiting shrines and temples is an activity that never be missed when travelling in Laos. However, shrines, temples and pagodas have principle for wearing, therefore, be sure that you will dress neatly and discreetly. 
Gently crouch down when walking past someone who is seated, especially older people: When someone is seating and you want to cross them, do not forget to crouch down to express your politeness.

Don't:
Touching someone's head (even children): This is rude not only in Laos but in many other countries. However, you may forget it when you meet a child! Even those children are cute, do not touch them especially their head.
Touching a monk or monk's robe: When observing alms giving ceremony, you will see many monks in the road receiving food. However, it is a every fomal ceremony. Therefore, do not touch a monk in anywhere.
Kissing and hugging in public: As other countries in Asia, kissing and hugging in public in Laos is extremly impolite.

Meet our Expert

Ms. Vui
Ms. Vui
I’m proud to represent GrandViet Tour and to help you find your perfect vacation. Before you book elsewhere, check with me please! You will receive added benefit of booking with GrandViet Tour as well.
(+84) 098 314 0217 
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We offer all package tours to Vietnam and Southeast Asia
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