Laos

Bucolic. Friendly. Unspoiled.

WAT MAI SUWANNAPHUMAHAM, LUANG PRABANG

Among the most richly decorated temples in Laos, the extraordinary pounded gold decorations, both inside and outside the temple, are truly exquisite. Inside the temple an emerald statue of the Buddha holds a place of honor.

WAT XIENG THONG, LUANG PRABANG

This exquisite, 400-year-old royal monastery complex contains a beautiful collection of shrines, pavilions and residences set amid lush, sprawling gardens.

PHU SI HILL, LUANG PRABANG

Ascend this hill overlooking the city for stunning views over the Mekong and the countryside. Several Buddhist shrines and the Wat Chom Si temple dot the summit and make for interesting wanderings.

PAK OU CAVES

Travel up the Mekong River from Luang Prabang to access this mystical pilgrimage site, stopping at interesting riverside villages en route. Through the centuries, kings, merchants and farmers have come here to worship, leaving behind more than 3,000 statues of the Buddha in homage.

TAT KUANG SI FALLS (KUANG SI FALLS)

A delightful day trip from Luang Prabang, travel by boat and 4WD passing through the remote countryside to reach these spectacular waterfalls. Enjoy a refreshing swim at the base of the falls followed by a picturesque picnic lunch.

WAT SI SAKET, VIENTIANE

Sporting thousands of ceramic and silver images of the Buddha and an unusual Thai, rather than Laotian, style of temple architecture, Wat Si Saket is thought to be the oldest standing wat in Vientiane.

PHA THAT LUANG, VIENTIANE

Vientiane’s pièce de résistance and the national symbol of Laos is this soaring stupa entirely covered in gleaming gold. The structure consists of three levels, each symbolizing different parts of the Buddhist doctrine and is greatly revered as both a Buddhist shrine and emblem of Laotian identity.

MORNING MARKET, VIENTIANE

Offering fine hand-loomed textiles, silks and artisan crafts as well as a colorful array of trinkets, traditional foodstuffs and fresh fruit, this market is a delightful place to wander.

MUANG LA, NORTHERN LAOS

One of Asia’s hidden jewels, this quaint town is an oasis of tranquility, traditional tribal cultures and lush fields. It is best explored on a three-night boat trip from Luang Prabang on the gorgeous Nam Ou River.

VANG VIENG

This sleepy town a few hours from Vientiane is slowly being discovered by travelers, but is still a delightful place for day hikes or a lazy afternoon boat trip on the river. The surrounding area is notable for its dramatic karst topography and many deep caves.

SAVANNAKHET

Known locally as “Savan,” this bustling riverfront town handles much of the burgeoning trade between Thailand and Laos and has a charming work-a-day vibe. The That Ing Hang, one of Laos most revered Buddhist shrines which purportedly contains a part of the Buddha’s spine, is located here and is well worth a look.

CHAMPASAK

Once an independent Lao kingdom, this historic province is home to the impressive 1,000-year-old Khmer ruins of Wat Phu Champasak, a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage site overlooking the Mekong.

SI PHAN DON

Known as “the Four Thousand Islands,” this gorgeous area is best accessed via boat from Wat Phu Champasak to Khong. Highlights of the area include the mighty Khong Phapheng Falls and a peaceful stretch of river where Irrawaddy dolphins are often spotted.

BOLAVEN PLATEU

This fertile plateau has a pleasant climate and numerous plantations growing coffee, rubber, bananas and cardamom. It’s a delightful area to explore on foot, hiking between ethnic villages inhabited by primitive Mon-Khmer people such as the Alak, Suay, Bru and Katu, and stumbling upon hidden waterfalls.

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For custom planning and more information about Laos, Contact a travel specialist at ATJ today.

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