The country of Laos, a Southeast Asian country, has earned the standard of being an ecotourism platform for travellers and also a perfect romantic getaway in recent years. Home to the most laidback citizens, Laos is a pleasing country to go for a vacation. The remarkable mountain views French colonial architecture, hill tribe settlements, Buddhist monasteries and adventure rafting experience can definitely leave unforgettable memories for its visitors.
Not to mention, the wilderness of Laos is also one of the main draws for adventurous travellers. In today’s article, I will give you 15 interesting things you can do while vacationing in
#1 Watch the sunset over the infamous Mekong River
Hike up to Phu Si Hill in the middle of town located in Luang Prabang. You can’t miss it as it has a temple at the top and it can be seen from each angle. From this particular spot, you will be able to get views of the mountains surrounding Luang Prabang and the point where the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers meet. It is simply breath-taking, that I can promise you.
#2 See one of the nicest waterfalls in Asia
I have been travelling around South East Asia but I must say that the Kuang Si Waterfall near Luang Prabang is the most remarkable I have seen, this is just my personal opinion. It landscapes a large cascade from which you can jump down into pools below. A series of smaller azure-coloured falls and pools make for excellent swimming spots. A must visit place when you are in Laos indeed.
#3 Test your bargaining skills at the Local Markets
Even though this goes for pretty much any country in Southeast Asia, but markets are a true assault on the senses of travellers. If you haven’t been to a local Asian market before, you owe it to yourself to do so! What makes you think that you can miss visiting the market in Laos? Be immersed with the locals as you go through arrays of items in the vendors have to offer.
#4 Explore the caves in Vang Vieng
Blue Lagoon is a much-advertised attraction near Vang Vieng. However, nearby Tham Phu Kham Cave is a spot worth checking out. You’ll need to bring lamps or rent one outside. I can guarantee you that it will be one kind of experience especially if you are an outdoor type of person!
#5 Take a hot air balloon ride in Vang Vieng
If you have extra cash, why not try this activity. It will cost you $80 for a 20-minute experience of a hot-air balloon ride. That said, it’s probably among the cheapest balloon rides you can find anywhere in the world. As for me. It was a worthy experience as I have never been on a hot-air balloon ride myself so, this was so much fun!
#6 Try and live in the forest canopy
Laos is home to untouched jungles, some of which are the last remaining habitats of the black crested gibbon. Did you know that it was once thought extinct? One of the best ways to experience the jungles and have an opportunity of seeing the gibbons is to take on The Gibbon Experience. This is a conservation project near Huay Xai, which lets you sleep in tree huts in the forest canopy. Be sure to make an early reservation before you plan to try this one out!
#7 See the Golden Stupa in Vientiane
Do check out the Golden Stupa as it embodies the true authenticity of Laos. It is an impressive Buddhist temple. As you have already known it, Laos is famous for many of its stunning temples.
#8 Taste exotic and halal Laotian food
Don’t forget to taste the authentic Laotian food by visiting some of the Halal restaurants available in Laos.
Muslim Travel Tip #1: Halal food can be found at some restaurants in Laos. Most of the halal food in the country is Indian cuisine. Here are a few restaurants that you can go to for Halal foods:
- Nazim Indian Restaurant
- Vieng Restaurant, Vientiane
- Aashifa Restaurant, Vientiane
#9 Take the slow boat voyage from Thailand
The 2-day slow boat on the Mekong River from Huay Xai near the Thai border down to Luang Prabang used to be the only way to get into Laos proper. But now, you can do it with ease by bus, which will be more convenient and faster. Nevertheless, as a traveller, you would want to explore right?
Thus, I recommend taking the 2-day boat trip. You will gain an appreciation for all the nature, you’ll see many local fishermen along the way, and some wildlife if you’re lucky. The slow boat is also an amazing way to meet other travellers! How fun is that?
#10 Rejuvenate at the Four Thousand Islands
Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands) is an archipelago inside the Mekong River area in the Southern part of Laos. It’s also famously known as a sleepy and laid back place to visit, and one that’s very cheap to wander around. Well, don’t forget to check out the local markets or even ride a scooter to discover the islands! Who knows what kind of treatment you are in for?
#11 Plain of Jars
The Plain of Jars in the city of Xieng Khouang (Phonsavan) is an attraction that will truly captivate you. Dating back to the Iron Age, these mega jars are believed to be linked with ancient burial practices but no one really knows their exact origin. You just can’t leave Laos without setting foot on one of the world’s greatest archaeological mysteries, that, I can assure you!
#12 Visit the stunning Wat Sisaket Temple in Vientiane
When exploring Vientiane, this stunning Buddhist temple is definitely not to miss. Located just across the Presidential Palace, Wat Sisaket is the oldest surviving monastery in the capital city built by King Anou in the early 19th century. It is believed that the temple was saved during the Siamese invasion because it looks a lot like the structure of Thai temples.
Now, Wat Sisaket houses a museum and more than 2,000 ceramic and silver Buddha images for visitors to learn more through the ancient history of Laos
#13 Visit the Lao National Museum
The Lao National Museum has several historical relics that can be seen. An attempt has been made to recreate the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, locally called as the Patuxai, the Victory Gate. The monument stands at the end of a pathway, which is lined with palm trees. A good way to understand a little bit more of the history of Laos.
#14 Be engaged with water activities
In the surroundings of Vientiane, there are numerous opportunities for visitors to enjoy wild-water rafting, trekking, and even kayaking. The Nam Ngum Lake is a popular picnic destination and you can also take a cruise on the lake. I have to be honest that when it comes to water activities, I’m all in for it. They are fun and very refreshing too! A good way to be immersed in nature.
#15 Be amazed by Laos’ wildlife
The Nam Ha National Park is the perfect place to spot leopards, wild elephants and also tigers. The Boloven Plateau in the Champassak province of Laos is also good for enjoying an elephant ride and for trekking. Don’t forget to take many photos as remembrance too!
Muslim Travel Tip #2: Laos has a small Muslim community mainly in the capital city. The Jama Masjid in Vientiane is the main Mosque. But there is also another mosque which is Vientiane’s Azhar Mosque, known locally as “Masjid Cambodia”. It is located in an obscure corner of Vientiane’s Chantaburi district.
Even though Laos is just a small country, it superbly has a lot of activities for fellow travellers. Hopefully, through this article, all the Muslim travellers out there will be intrigued to experience Laos in the future. Before I conclude this article, let’s take a look at one more fact about Islam in Laos. Did you know that Muslims are a small minority in Laos and constitute about 0.01% of the population?
The Muslim population is mostly involved in trading and managing meat shops. A small community of Cham Muslims from Cambodia who escaped the Khmer Rouge is also found. Muslims live primarily in urban areas.