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From admiring sacred Buddhist monuments to visiting hill tribes, cruising on lazy rivers and exploring riverine islands, Laos boasts a multitude of attractions. It’s a landlocked nation swathed in coffee plantations, jungles, mountains, rice fields and the meandering Mekong River. Off limits to tourism until 1988, today Laos’ antiquated charm, friendly people, thriving indigenous cultures and wild landscapes present the best of Southeast Asia in one single destination.
Spend a day visiting the colonial landmarks, markets and open-air cafes in the sleepy riverside capital, Vientiane. Marvel at magnificent Buddha statues in nearby Xieng Khuan and dabble in adventure sports at Vang Vieng. Wander between golden shrines and age-old shops in Luang Prabang, a gateway to the grottos of Pak Ou Caves. Sayaboury is good for spotting elephants while Houayxay is among several great starting points for a Mekong River cruise.
Be astounded by the Plain of Jars, a magical landscape of undulating plains decorated with stone jars that are said to be remnants of an old civilization. Head to the country’s northern reaches and go trekking and kayaking in picture-perfect Nong Khiaw. Join hikes to tribal villages from Muang Sing and Luang Namtha. See the rare clouded leopard in Nam Ha National Protected Area and gibbons in Phou Hin Poun National Biodiversity Conservation Area.
Southern Laos sits sandwiched between the Mekong River and Annamite Mountains. Arrange a tour from Thakek to the Mahaxai Caves, which are sheltered by the huge limestone peaks of Khammouane Protected Area. Canoe on the Tham Lot Kong subterranean river. Discover coffee plantations, tribal communities and waterfalls around the Bolaven Plateau. Examine the remains of fallen empires at Vat Phou.
Consider a side trip to Si Phan Don, an archipelago of 4,000 islands at the country’s southernmost tip. Experience indigenous fishing traditions, kayak along twisting waterways and look for pods of the rare Irrawaddy dolphin.
Reach Laos by flying to the international airports in Luang Prabang, Pakse and Vientiane. Expect warm, tropical weather year-round with frequent downpours from May to October. Get around by bike or boat, as the locals do.
This family-friendly Luang Prabang hotel is located near the airport, within 1 mi (2 km) of Wat Manorom, Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden and Morning Market. Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre and Vat Visounnarath are also within 1 mile (2 km).
Situated in Vientiane, this luxury hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Talat Sao and Patuxay. Pha That Luang and Lao international Trade Exhibition and Convention Center are also within 2 miles (3 km).
Situated in Vang Vieng, this spa hotel is within a 15-minute walk of VLT Natural Tours and Wat Si Souman.
Situated near the airport, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Wat Phabat and Champasak Historical Heritage Museum. Champassak Terminal West and Wat Phu Champasak are also within 25 miles (40 km).
Situated in Luang Prabang, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden, Wat Manorom, and Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre. Morning Market and Wat Mai are also within 15 minutes.
Located in the heart of Vientiane, this luxury hotel is 0.2 mi (0.3 km) from Chao Fa Ngum Statue and 1.7 mi (2.7 km) from Patuxay. Ban Anou Night Market and Lao National Museum are also within 1 mile (2 km).
Situated on the riverwalk, this cabin is within a 15-minute walk of Wat Si Souman and VLT Natural Tours.
Located in the heart of Vientiane, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Chao Fa Ngum Statue, Ban Anou Night Market and That Dam. Wat Si Saket and Wat Si Muang are also within 2 mi (3 km).