What is Laos known for?
The beautiful country of Laos is one of the most spectacular destinations in Southeast Asia, a small landlocked country known for its spectacular stunning limestone formations, fascinating forests with hidden waterfalls, delicious cuisine, great outdoor adventures off the beaten path and along the mighty Mekong River. The adventurous small town of Vang Vieng is full of exciting outdoor activities including tubing and kayaking on the river, caving, climbing, and cycling. Luang Prabang lies on the banks of the mighty Mekong and Khan Rivers leading to plenty of adventurous activities and charming European style cafes dotted along the river banks. Trekking, mountain biking, and zip-lining are among some of the activities to enjoy in the mountainous region. Due to its location along the Mekong and Khan Rivers, many idyllic river trips are easily accessible from Laos. Boat trips to Si Phan Don in the southern region of the Mekong River are simply breathtaking with stunning natural scenery.
Visit magnificent ancient temples in Laos including Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang known as the royal city boasting over 30 golden wats. Explore the Vieng Xai underground caves, the Pathet Lao`s based during US bombings. Visit hill-tribe villages in the Phongsali Province, a remote area in Laos famed for authentic trekking. Muse the magnificent markets such as the Handicraft Night Market in Luang Prabang for traditional authentic handicrafts and delicious street food. Sooth your soul staying at some of the fabulous wellness centers in the country like The Spiritual home of wellness in Luang Prabang boasting spectacular spas and resorts. Vientiane is also home to many spas and refreshing yoga schools.
What are the best places to visit in Laos?
Luang Prabang is the serene heart of the Kingdom of Laos, a quiet city with a great history. The city fuses traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with the colonial influences from the 19th and 20th centuries. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and recognized as the seat of Lao culture boasting magnificent monuments, monasteries and breathtaking natural beauty.Vientiane is the capital of Laos, a quiet and peaceful place where time stands still. The city is filled with surprises boasting charming French colonial architecture next to gilded temples and agriculture hidden behind tree lined avenues.
When is the best time to visit Laos?
The country of Laos is best visited between October and April with warm dry weather throughout the country, although this time of year can be cold in the mountains, peak season is during this time when accommodations sell out especially during Christmas and New Years. The wet season or `green season` runs from May through September when the heaviest rainfall occurs, especially in the south during August and September. Traveling on the full rivers is best done during November, December, and January when high water levels occur and boat travel along the mighty Mekong is easily done and visiting Bolaven Plateau. March and June are the hottest months of the year with temperatures soaring into the mid to high 90`s. The geography of Laos plays a big part in the climate with cooler temperatures found in the highlands found in the northern, easter, and central regions of the country. The south features higher humidity and temperatures than the other higher altitude regions of Laos.
How many days should I spend in Laos?
We recommend 7-10 days based on what you want to see and do. We offer flexible vacation packages so you can select your number of nights in each city, desired hotel and activities. We suggest a minimum of 3 nights in larger cities.
What is the best way to get around Laos?
By Private Car:
Traveling by private car with your own personal driver is one of the fastest and most reliable ways to travel around Laos. These can be arranged by your hotel and guest house for pick up and you get a car and driver (who also acts as a guide) for the day or for the duration of your stay.
By Train: There are currently only 1.86 miles of the railway line in Laos which connects Nong Khai in Thailand to Vientiane province via the Friendship Bridge. The line may be extended to central Vientiane and also connect with the Chinese railway line from Kunming to Vientiane via Luang Prabang.
By Bus: Some buses travel the routes between major cities and towns in Laos, they are comfortable and provide an option for traveling long distances. The buses are slow and it can take onwards of 6 hours to reach destinations. Double-decker VIP night buses from `King of Bus` company travel the long-distance journey from Champasak to Vientiane with sleeper buses providing you get your own curtained bunk bed, blankets, pillows, air conditioning, and toilets. Go to sleep in one city and wake up in another.
By boat: Rivers are the lifeblood of Laos making boat rides, river cruises, and journeys popular and exciting throughout the region. There are more than 2,800 miles of waterways weaving through Laos with the main thoroughfare being the Mighty Mekong (the longest), Nam Ou, Nam Khan, Nam Tha, Nam Ngum and Se Kong. Rivers cruises on the Mekong are very popular year-round with a route that travels from Huay Xai in the north to Savannakhet in the south. Laos is a great experience for taking slow river trips that travel through the lush jungle and limestone mountains with breathtaking surrounding scenery. Taking a speedboat ride in Laos is a fun and fast experience darting through the waters and dodging the limestone boulders.
What is the currency of Laos?
The units of currency in Laos is the Lao kip (K), Thai baht (B) and US dollars are commonly accepted. The US dollar is preferred at most places in the service industry such as hotels, shops, etc and places will set and show their prices in US dollars. ATMs can be found all over Laos, but limit withdrawal amounts to around ($85-$250) with withdrawal fees and additional charges from your bank back home. Tipping is not customary in Laos, however in popular tourist-oriented locations like restaurants a tip of 10% is appreciated.
Do people speak English in Laos?
The official language spoken in Laos is Lao, however, English is widely spoken by people working in the service and tourism industries. We recommend you get a good English-Laos guidebook and familiarize yourself with a few common phrases, such as hello, goodbye, please and thank you, excuse me and numbers 1-10.