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Some tips for your short-day trip in Laos 2020

Southeast Asia in recent years has been considered as a fashionable destination for international visitors, not only because of the low travel cost and the open visa policy, but also the beautiful scenery and diverse culture and convenient international flight routes. Normally, visitors to Southeast Asia will choose familiar destinations such as Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam and often forget about a pristine pearl located in the corner of the map: Laos. Indeed, Laos offers visitors everything they can imagine of Southeast Asia: a mysterious culture, friendly people, delicious cuisine and above all is the most pristine scenery.

1. How many days to visit Laos?

Southeast Asia or Indochina is a large area and has a lot to explore. Normally, a vacation lasts only 2 to 3 weeks, not enough for you to explore the whole area. You only select your most favorite destinations best and the suitably distribute the visiting time.  Laos is not the most beautiful or featured country in Southeast Asia. People often combine their trip to Laos with Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and of course, Thailand or Vietnam is given priority over time. Laos is a small country and the most famous places are located in 2 or 3 major cities.

2. Location

Laos is the only country in South East Asia does not border with the sea, but South Laos has a destination called “4000 Islands”. To reach Laos from Europe, the easiest and cheapest way is to fly from your country to Bangkok (about $600) then book a flight with local airlines such as AirAsia, Nok Air to Luang Prabang or Vientiane ($50 to $80).

3. International flight

Laos has borders with Vietnam in the east, Thailand to the west and Cambodia in the south. It is possible to travel by road between these countries. However, I recommend traveling by plane, usually from Thailand and Vietnam is most convenient. The frequency of flights is from 1 to 2 flights a day. Major international airports in Laos include Luang Prabang, Vientiane, and Pakse. Some reliable airlines are Laos Airlines and Vietnam Airlines.

4. Visa

Applying visa to Laos is quite simple: just fill out the visa form at the airport or international border gate and pay a $35 fee.

Some tips for your short-day trip to Laos

Laos has borders with Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand

5. Domestic transportation

To travel between Laos tourist destinations, you can easily find long-distance buses, motorbike. If you have a higher budget, I recommend renting a private car or taxi.

6. Weather, climate, best time to visit

Laos has a tropical continental climate: in the rainy season from April to September, the weather is very (31 to 34 Celsius degrees) and there are heavy rains at the end of the season. In dry season from October to Marc, the weather is dry and cool (27 to 29 Celsius degrees). This is also the best time to visit Laos. Water on the river is also flowing more slowly and waterfalls are also clearer.

The weather in Laos is very hot and sunny: 33 to 35 degrees. You should wear a sun visor, bring an umbrella and continuously supply water to your body when coming here.

7. Itinerary

Unless you are interested in exploring the wilderness or exploring ethnic minorities, you should only spend four to five days in Laos. In this post, I show you the most famous places in Laos and you can discover the most typical culture, life, and scenery.

Below is the most typical travel itinerary to Laos:

Day 1

  • Fly to Luang Prabang, visit the two most famous temples: Wat Visoun and Wat Aham.
  • Climbing Phousi Mountain to have a panoramic view of the city
  • Visit night market.

Some tips for your short-day trip to Laos

Sunset from Phousi Mountain

Day 2

  • Cruising in the morning on the Mekong River to visit Pak Ou and Kuangsi waterfall
  • Visit the Royal Palace and Wat Xieng Thong in the afternoon
  • Walking around the city in the evening

Some tips for your short-day trip to Laos

Wat Xieng Thong

Day 3

  • Transfer by car/plane to Vientiane
  • Visit Buddha Park in the afternoon
  • Enjoy dinner on the Mekong River

Some tips for your short-day trip to Laos

Buddha Park

Day 4

  • Visit Wat Prakeo, Wat Sisaket, Patuxay Gate and Pha That Luang. End of the trip

Some tips for your short-day trip to Laos

The famous Pha That Luang

8. Most famous attractions in Laos

Luang Prabang

This is the most famous tourist city in Laos and where tourists spend most of the time. It is also the first capital of Laos with a history of nearly 800 years. The city is located beside Mekong River, with the total area of only a few square kilometers but has a high density of relics: centuries-old French colonial villas, hundreds of temples and small streets of Southeast Asia style.

Some tips for your short-day trip to Laos

The monks go for tak bat in the morning
Come to Luang Prabang, you must visit the most emblematic temples: Wat Visoun (the pagoda has a collection of hundreds of ancient statues), Wat Aham (the oldest pagoda in Luang Prabang) and Wat Xieng Thong (the largest and most beautiful pagoda in Luang Prabang). You can also participate in a variety of interesting activities such as climbing Phousi mountain to admire the sunset, cycling  around the old town, enjoy dinner by Mekong River, attending alms ceremony (so-called tak bat: the monks’ ritual to gathering of donated food from local people) of the monks in the early morning or visit the night market.

The outskirt of Luang Prabang has many other attractions such as Kuangsi Waterfall, where you can capture photos and take a bath, take a boat to Pak Ou Cave watching hundreds of large and small Buddha images, and visit the weaving handicraft village of H’mong people.

Some tips for your short-day trip to Laos

A corner inside Pak Ou Cave
Recommended hotels: Villa Chitdara (2 stars), My Dream Boutique (4 stars), Villa Maly (4 stars).

Vientiane

Vientiane has been the capital of Laos since 1563 and is the place where the French set up government protection. Therefore, Vientiane has the look of a European city with neat planning and a series of buildings bearing colonial architecture. Vientiane is probably the only capital in the world located on the border – the Mekong River, delimited with Thailand.  There are many beautiful temples in Vientiane that contain the collections of precious Buddha statues. For instance, in the suburbs of Vientiane, there is a relic consist of very elaborate concrete Buddha statues named Buddha Park, built in the 1960s. Although not very valuable historical and architectural, it is an ideal place to take photos with its bizarre space.

Some tips for your short-day trip to Laos

Patuxai in Vientiane was built to honor the martyrs in the Resistance War against the French
Recommended hotels: Beau Rivage Mekong (3 stars), Ansara (4 stars).

Other places

After visiting Luang Prabang, you can spend a day relaxing in Vang Vieng – the paradise of backpackers with many activities such as boat trip on Nam Song River, bathing in Blue Lagoon, or zipline in the jungle. Vang Vieng is very romantic but very crowded and crowded tourists so I do not like this city very much.

Some tips for your short-day trip to Laos

The beautiful Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng
On the way from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, turn to Phonsavan, you can arrive at Xieng Khuang Plateau to visit the Plain of Jars, a cultural heritage of Laos. This is a tremendous area with thousands of jars lying under the sun and wind. If you really love archeology then you should definitely come here because until now, people still haven’t known what the jars were used for.

Some tips for your short-day trip to Laos

The mysterious Plain of Jars
From Vientiane, you can take a flight or take a long-distance bus to Champasak in southern Laos. Here you can visit the 4000 islands, a section of the Mekong with many waterfalls and islets (4000 islets) including the large island, where you can stay and visit namely Don Khong, Don Khone, Don Deng. In addition, you can visit Wat Phou, a Hindu temple in the old Khmer style. Southern Laos is quite interesting, so if the time is allowed, you should stop here for a while.

Some tips for your short-day trip to Laos

4000 Islands
Luang Nam Tha is the northernmost province of Laos. This is where adventurous travelers come to discover Nam Ha National Forest, where you can paddling cross the waterfall or go through the jungle by zipline. You have to spend about 2 days if you want to explore all of this forest.

9. Religion in Laos

– Lao people mainly follow Buddhism so that behave very gentle and friendly. Laos is also very peaceful and rarely violent.

– Show special respect for the monk when coming to Laos. You need to ask for their permission to take pictures of them, do not touch their bodies and step on their shadows when going outdoors in the sun.

– When entering the temple in Laos you should dress politely and cover the body parts such as shoulders, thighs, and waist.

10. Laos gastronomy

Lao food is not as diverse as in Thailand and Vietnam but quite tasty and spicy. Some typical dishes are sticky rice, lap, rice noodles and grilled river fish. Do not forget to drink Lao beer, it tasted very fresh and cool.

11. Useful tips

– In big cities like Luang Prabang and Vientiane, you can easily find the banks with the ATM counters. Hotel, restaurants and tour services here are quite good.

– Lao people work and live very slowly creating a lifestyle typical of the country.

About Jason Nguyen

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