Things to do in Laos

Our most recommended things to do in Laos

Luang Prabang: Pak Ou Caves and Kuang Si Waterfalls Cruise

1. Luang Prabang: Pak Ou Caves and Kuang Si Waterfalls Cruise

Enjoy a private or shared group boat tour to the Pak Ou Caves and Kuang Si Waterfalls departing from Luang Prabang. You will be picked up at your accommodation and travel straight to the pier. Hop onboard a long tail boat for a relaxing journey aong the Mekong River. Enjoy the views from the water as you pass by local villages and fishing communities. After the first hour and a bit, the boat makes its first short stop at the popular Ban Xang Hai, also known as ‘the whiskey village’. Explore the village, see the process of making Lao Lao, the country’s beloved rice whiskey, and taste the finished product. Continue by boat traveling slowly along the Mekong in the direction of the glorious Pak Ou Caves. Arrive at a small boat landing dock where stairs lead you straight up to the cave. These limestone Buddhist caves have been a place of worship for thousands of years, over this time a collection of Buddha statues and idols have filled these spiritual natural caves Enter the Ou River to visit the limestone cliffs. Then, after a 30-minute boat ride down the Mekong River, arrive at Manifa Elephant Camp for lunch. Enjoy a full buffet-style lunch at the restaurant overlooking the Mekong river and free-roaming elephants. After lunch break, travel by car to the Kuang Si Waterfalls. Enjoy 2 hours of free time to explore the three-layered Kuang Si Waterfalls. Walk the trails of the nature reserve and swim in the refreshing turquoise water pools and visit the bear rescue center. Depart for Luang Prabang, with a short stop at Ban Na Uan Hmong village on the way. Return to the city with drop-off at your hotel.

Vang Vieng: Kayaking & Cave Tubing with Zip Line/Blue Lagoon

2. Vang Vieng: Kayaking & Cave Tubing with Zip Line/Blue Lagoon

Start your full-day adventure with pickup from your hotel in Vang Vieng and join a 6-mile ride north to Ban Vieng Samai, the kayak starting point. Your kayaking guide will provide you with paddling instructions before you set off downstream on Nam Song River. On the journey, glide over many small rapids and enjoy the scenery of the incredible mountain karts along both sides of the river. Then, take a break from your kayaking tour with a visit to Tham Nam Cave. Tube inside the marvelous, 1,640-foot-long cave, dragging yourself with the help of a fixed rope. Take some time to enjoy a picnic lunch and then hop back on your kayak, paddling until you reach the center of Vang Vieng. Afterwards, you will have the choice to either be transferred back to your hotel, or to participate in activities such as zip lining and swimming in the Blue Lagoon 1. Before the zip line experience, your guide will walk you through instructions and safety training. Fly 4,440 feet over the green forest and river. The journey consists of 7 lines, 12 platforms, and 2 bridges. The Blue Lagoon 1 is one of the most famous locations in the city. Sit back and relax or jump in the natural pool to cool down. After your fun day out, you will be transferred back to your hotel in Vang Vieng in the evening.

Luang Prabang Outskirts: Mountain Bike Ride Day Trip

3. Luang Prabang Outskirts: Mountain Bike Ride Day Trip

This mountain bike trip combines great cycling with the chance to discover authentic Lao rural life. Leave the beaten path and find your own adventure outside of town. Get geared up and ride out of town along the Mekong River. After crossing the old communist bridge, make a stop to visit Xieng Lek Village, famous for its mulberry paper and weaving. Follow the Nam Xuang River past villages before offroading into the countryside, up and down hills, past rice paddies and local villages. Ride through vast rice paddies and Lao Leum, Hmong, and Khmu villages with locals tending to the daily activities of Lao agrarian life. The last leg of the ride will take you along the Nam Khan River. Before entering Luang Prabang City enter the beautiful Wat Phon Phao, with its huge golden stupa and an incredible view overlooking all of Luang Prabang.

Vientiane: Private Full-day Must-See Sights & Sunset Tour

4. Vientiane: Private Full-day Must-See Sights & Sunset Tour

In the morning, get picked up by your guide and head to Wat Sisaket, Vientiane's oldest surviving Buddhist temple. The temple is famous for its cloister wall that houses more than 6,800 Buddha icons of all sizes. You may also be able to witness the many locals that come to pray in the morning, enlightening you to traditions of the area. Stop at Wat Prakeo, which once held the Emerald Buddha and now functions as a museum, and the Patuxay Monument, a symbol of the country's resilience and independence, to learn of Laos' complex history. Take time to lunch before walking through Vientiane's laid-back streets, enjoying the refreshingly easygoing atmosphere of the capital. Pass through a number of gorgeous temples before arriving at Talad Sao, Vientiane's central market. With two distinct areas, a modern shopping mall and the sprawling original market, Talad Sao offers an abundance of treasures for you to discover. Bring your day to a stunning conclusion by heading to the Mekong River, where the sun paints the water in brilliant orange hues as it sets below the horizon.

Luang Prabang: Pak Ou Caves and Kuang Si Falls Kayak Tour

5. Luang Prabang: Pak Ou Caves and Kuang Si Falls Kayak Tour

Discover Laos' varied and scenic landscapes on this guided tour. After getting picked up from your hotel in Luang Prabang, head north to the Nam Ou Riverside where you will begin your kayak tour. This is an easy river for kayaking where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the tranquil countryside and see naturally-formed limestone cliffs.  Kayak your way towards Pak Ou, where you will visit the famous Pak Ou Caves – 2 linked caves crammed with thousands of gold-lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by devoted pilgrims. Enjoy a guided tour of the caves before starting the second section of your kayak on the Mekong River. Paddle down the Mekong for 30 minutes to reach your lunch destination. Sit down to a delicious buffet lunch as you admire breathtaking views of the Mekong. After lunch, continue to the Kuang Si Falls and enjoy some free time to explore these unique 3-layered falls. You could go for a walk through the trails of the surrounding nature trails, take a dip in the refreshing turquoise water pools or pay a visit to the bear rescue center. Finally, begin the journey back to Luang Prabang. Stop at Ban Na Uan hmong village and get the chance to experience Hmong village life, meet some of the local people and see their traditional embroidery crafts. Get dropped off back at your hotel at the end of the day.

From Luang Prabang: Thin Pha Trail & Tad Sae Falls Trek

6. From Luang Prabang: Thin Pha Trail & Tad Sae Falls Trek

Start with a morning transfer from your hotel in Luang Prabang 25 minutes out of town to the adventure camp. Cross the Nam Khan River by boat to the trailhead and begin the hike through rice paddies and middle canopy. Your first stop will be a Khmu village named Ban Houay Fai where your guide will introduce you to the local life and customs. Continue along ridges, limestone grottos, and rocky slopes for lunch at a Hmong village known as Ban Thin Pha, which gives this trail its name. Experience a variety of flora and fauna in the mountains and valleys, and weave your way through paddies and countryside. Stop, look, listen, and ask your guide about the life teeming around you. Chat with villagers and ask questions about life in Laos before ending the trek in the riverside village Ban Houay Yen. There, a boat will be waiting to take you down a beautiful stretch of the Nam Khan with a stop at the Tad Sae Waterfall. Relax and soak in Tad Sae Falls before returning by boat and vehicle to Luang Prabang. By choosing this adventure, you are contributing funds to support the local communities you visit. The total trekking distance is about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles), which takes about 4-5 hours through deciduous forest and farmland with elevations of 300-900 meters (984-2953 feet). During the low water season from February to July, the itinerary is the same with the exception that the Tad Sae Waterfall can be very low or dry and may be omitted. You can choose to take the tour in a public, small group or in a private group.

From Vang Vieng:Tham Xang & Tham Nam with Kayaking or Tubing

7. From Vang Vieng:Tham Xang & Tham Nam with Kayaking or Tubing

See the very best that Vang Vieng’s landscape has to offer while enjoying an action-packed day of adventure. The tour begins with pickup from your hotel then heads to Tham Xang, also known as Elephant Cave. The cave lies on the bank of the Nam Song River and is an important Buddhist temple with a remarkable limestone formation inside. Listen to your guide share fascinating insight into the history of this charming cave which dates back thousands of years. Next, pass through a small Lao farm village, bursting with luscious green rice fields. Enjoy a refreshing swim in the clear spring water that lies at the mouth of Tham Nam water cave, then go tubing up to 500 meters inside. Once you’ve worked up a bit of an appetite, fill up with a tasty BBQ lunch served on banana leaves. After lunch, it’s time to start making your way back to the city along the river, either by kayaking or tubing. For the kayaking option, your guide drives you to the starting point in Khmu Village, 10 km north of the city. From here, start the 3-hour kayaking journey down to the Vang Vieng, stopping at idyllic bars along the river for refreshments and a well-deserved rest. The journey follows a few twists and turns, and you’ll pass by local fishermen at work on this gentle journey. Arrive in the city just in time to view the beautiful sunset over the mountains. The tubing option starts at Ban Phou Din Daeng, which is 4 km north of Vang Vieng. Sit back and relax as your tube glides along the river, and soak up the surrounding scenic views from start to finish. Your guide explains how to control your tube on the water, and leads the group downstream in a kayak.

Luang Prabang: Pak Ou Caves & Kuang Si Falls Day Trip

8. Luang Prabang: Pak Ou Caves & Kuang Si Falls Day Trip

Visit the Pak Ou Caves and Kuang Si Waterfall on a full-day tour, with a scenic drive up and down the length of the Mekong River. Start with early morning pickup and relax on the 40-minute drive to Pak Ou Village. Admire locally-produced crafts, before crossing the mighty Mekong River in a small boat to the base of a limestone cliff. Enter the impressive Pak Ou Caves, filled with Buddhist statues and relics. Take your time to explore this incredible place, scented with burning incense and overlooking the impressive landscape. Climb a winding set of stairs, grab a flashlight, and find another fascinating cave to visit. After enjoying the caves, stop for lunch at the base of the caves. Cross back over the water and drive downriver for 1.5 hours, to reach the famous Kuang Si Waterfall. Stop at the popular Whiskey Village along the way, to sample local Lao Lao. Admire the rushing turquoise waters of the falls, surrounded by beautiful jungle scenery. Visit the bear sanctuary while there. We drop you back in Luang Prabang where your tour ends.

Luang Prabang: Cooking Class, 4-Course Lunch, & Guided Hike

9. Luang Prabang: Cooking Class, 4-Course Lunch, & Guided Hike

Immerse yourself in Lao culture through its gastronomy and landscapes with this cooking class and hike combo tour. Visit a local farm for a 4-course cooking lesson, hike to Kuang Si Falls, and meet rescued bears at a bear sanctuary. After getting picked up from your hotel in a traditional tuk-tuk, enjoy a 40-minute drive towards the home and farm of a local family in the village of Ban Pak Si. Upon arrival at the farm, join your host for a stroll in the gardens to select the fresh ingredients for your cooking class. Then, under the guidance of your host, learn how to prepare a traditional four-course Lao lunch. Cook your own salad, pork laab, sticky rice, and more, then sit down to enjoy the rewards of your efforts with lunch at the riverside. Refreshed and reenergized after lunch, enjoy a 2-hour hike towards Kuang Si Falls, following a path used daily by local farmers. Upon arrival, swim in the falls' turquoise waters or simply relax and enjoy your surroundings. Next, pay a visit to a nearby sanctuary that cares for and rehabilitates bears rescued from animal traders and deforested habitats. At the end of the day, return to Luang Prabang, stopping for photos of the Lao countryside and villages before arriving back at your hotel.

Half-Day Nam Song River Kayak Tour with Zipline or Tham None

10. Half-Day Nam Song River Kayak Tour with Zipline or Tham None

Start your half-day trip with pickup from your accommodation in Vang Vieng city center and transfer to the kayak starting point. Before kayaking experience begins, your guide will give you the basic paddle instructions and some history about the mighty Nam Song river. Glide over many small rapids and enjoy the scenery of the incredible mountain peaks along both sides of the river. Apart from the kayaking experience, you can also choose to partake in either the zip-lining experience or Tham Nam None cave tubing. If you choose the zip line option, you’ll experience the green forest canopy that covers the mountains on the side of the river. Make your way along a stream down to the zip line at the Tham None river bank. Take a short trek up to the hut on Phar None (sleeping wall). This is a great location for taking pictures of the surrounding mountains, and has a beautiful view of the Nam Song river. Get strapped in and take an exciting zip line ride flying over the green forest and river below. There are 6 lines in total for you to enjoy. If you choose the Tham Nam None Cave option, you can explore the secluded cave that served as a place of refuge for people caught up in the chaos of the Indochina Wars. Making your way into the cave by an inflatable tube, pull on a rope to reach the walking point where you’ll see many beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.

Other Sightseeing Options in Laos

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What people are saying about Laos

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 159 reviews

If you’re going to do anything in Luang Prabang, it should be THIS tour with The Bamboo Experience. I’m not joking - my experience was just so incredible!! The tour guide, Somsay, is so knowledgeable and can speak English well. His intentions behind his company is to share local Lao culture and emphasize how bamboo is an important part of this. You will learn how to weave with a local master weaver who truly is masterful in his craft. Then, you will cook a traditional Lao dish with his mom! They will explain what ingredients they use to create the dishes and you will cook alongside them. I also ate the food with Somsay the traditional way - WITH YOUR HANDS! And he was lovely to talk to. The lunch follows up with traditional Hmong dance and music. Then, off to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfalls!!! This was just such a perfect day and such an amazing tour guide!!! Somsay’s passions for Lao culture and supporting local people really showed during this tour. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

I loved the tour. You get to see so many different places and our guide was very helpful, could speak English very well and was able to answer all of our questions. The group was quite small and consisted of only 8 people. The tour was very well organized and the transfer from and to the hotel worked perfectly. In total our tour took place from 8:30-19:00. Special thanks to our Guide Mr. Thin!

Good way to see the rural landscape and local way of life plus getting exercise. Beautiful nature around Kuang Si waterfalls. Local food which was tasty. Opportunity to swim at the falls. Pleasant and comfortable cruise with views of the Mekong back to Luang Prabang.

Overall it’s a fun and cool experience with the tour. Our tour guide, Mr Thin is very friendly and he explained and shares with us the histories of the places we visited. He also speak fluent English and accommodate our needs well! :-)

Beautiful lake, and zip lining was fun and easy. Dee was an excellent guide!