top of page
IMG_1933.JPG

Laos Itinerary - 2 weeks

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

Laos is a beautiful and underrated travel destination in Southeast Asia. If you enjoy travelling to unspoiled and undiscovered locations, you will love your time in Laos. I spent two and a half weeks travelling around and can recommend a couple of fantastic itineraries based on my trips.

These are only recommendations, as always. Travelling in this area of the world is fantastic because you can always adapt. Consider keeping your plans somewhat flexible if you will be in Laos for longer than two weeks. It's excellent to have additional time for unforeseen experiences because you might learn about intriguing things from other backpackers while there.


This itinerary will cover the Northern part of the country.

Overview of the Itinerary


Things to make sure you do before starting your trip:

  • Get health insurance

  • A power adapter

  • Covid vaccination proof and any other vaccinations that may be needed/required

  • A battery pack

  • Emergency cash

  • A visa from the Laos embassy. It's important to get your Laos visa before arriving at the border crossing if you are crossing by land. This may have been updated, so check the government guidance. The cost depends on your nationality but ranges from $20 to $40.

  • A sim card (you can obtain this when you arrive in Laos)

  • A waterproof bag

Getting there


First and foremost there are multiple ways where you can reach Laos. You can either travel by bus from Thailand/ Vietnam or Cambodia. Personally, I took a bus from Hanoi to Vientiane and took around 24 hours.

Other options include flying. I recommend using Skyscanner to see how much the flights are compared to taking the bus!


By Land


In order to get to Laos, there are multiple options. You can travel by bus from Thailand or Vietnam, or you can fly. I personally took a bus from Hanoi to Vientiane, which took about 24 hours. If you want to compare the cost of flights to taking the bus, I recommend using Skyscanner. Arriving by bus:

  • Some international buses go directly from Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai to Luang Prabang.

  • Another key access point with Thailand is at the border near the capital of Vientiane.

  • In the south of Laos, many travellers arrive by bus from Siem Reap or Kratie in Cambodia.

  • Taking a bus from Hanoi.

  • A popular trip with backpackers is the slow boat, which travels along the Mekong River from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang. The boat takes two days and gives you a relaxed introduction to Laos. You can honestly skip this town as there is nothing much to do there.

Flights

  • Laos isn't well-connected by air, though there are some flights to Luang Prabang and Vientiane from regional hubs such as Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, or Hanoi.

  • Lao Airlines has infrequent domestic flights to other parts of Laos.

  • Instead of flying directly to Laos, you can also fly into Chiang Rai in Thailand or Hanoi in Vietnam and head into Laos overland from there.

So once you get to Laos and most probably Vientiane, it is time to start the adventure.


Day 1-2:

Vientiane - Capital of Laos


Overview

Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos, located in the Mekong River valley. It is known for its beautiful temples, and French colonial architecture any many of the buildings dating back to the colonial period. The city is a mix of traditional Laotian culture and modern development, and it has a small-town feel compared to other Southeast Asian capitals.


Hostels

  • Dream Home hostel 1. It is not the best hostel but a very sociable place and easy to meet other backpackers

Restaurants & Cafés

  • Tamarind

  • The Elephant

  • Le Patio

  • Tamnak Lao

  • The Lighthouse

  • Night market street

Things to do

  • There isn't much to do in Vientiane, but you can start by exploring the city and its temples, such as Wat Si Saket and the That Luang Stupa. The presidential palace is also worth checking out.

  • In the evening, consider trying a traditional Lao meal at the night market. And if you're feeling adventurous, go karaoke with friends or people you meet at the hostel at a place called Mark-two

  • On the second day go and explore the Lao National Museum and COPE Visitor Centre museum to learn more about what the Lao people went through and the consequences of the war that took place back in the 1970s.

Day 3-6:

Vang Vieng


Transport from Vientiane to Vang Vieng

Take a bus from Vientiane to Vang Vieng. The journey should take around 2 hours.


Overview

Vang Vieng is a beautiful destination and probably one of my favourites across Laos. The town is famous for its blue lagoons and surrounding mountains. The town is situated on the Nam Song River and is surrounded by limestone cliffs and lush vegetation.


Hostels

  • Vang Vieng Freedom Hostel

Restaurants & Cafes

  • PullMind Cafe (great food, coffee & views)

  • Naked espresso.

Things to do

  • The day you arrive, you should rent a scooter and drive to the Blue Lagoons. The recommended blue lagoons are Blue Lagoon 1/3 and 6. It is a popular spot for swimming and relaxing. Surrounded by limestone cliffs and thus make sure you take your swimsuit and a towel with you. You can also explore the beautiful limestone formations inside the caves.

  • If you have spare time when driving back to town then you can stop at Nam Xay Viewpoint for sunset.

  • For the second day sign up to do the tubing activity down the Nam Song River. I recommend you book this with the hostel/hotel you are staying at. This will take most of your day. Afterwards, just get back and relax!

  • On the third day take a scooter and drive around the countryside and explore. Visit Wat Pho Karm Chai Mong Kol to see how the monks live; it is free to enter.

  • When driving be cautious as the infrastructure in Laos is really poor with many potholes.

  • Visit Tham Phu Kham Cave, which is home to a large Buddhist relic and is considered a sacred site










Day 7-9:

Luang Prabang - the former royal capital of Laos


Transport from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang

Take the train to go from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang, this will take around 45 minutes. If you decide to take the bus then it will take between 5-6 hours. Make sure you book your train ticket at least 1 day before departure.

If you do take the train then do note that they will confiscate any large nasal sprays (except for perfume). Checking in is like being at the airport!

Overview

Luang Prabang is a beautiful old city and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Hostel

  • Downtown backpackers hostel 2

Restaurants & Cafes

  • Juma Bakery Cafe (Great coffee and pastry)

Things to do

  • On your first day, go for a walk around the city and visit the Royal Palace which was once the residence of the last Laotian monarchy. Remember to wear appropriate clothing, or you'll have to rent some before entering.

  • After the palace, there are several temples to see, including Wat That Luang, Wat Wisunarat, and Wat Manorom. In the evening, head to Phousi Hill viewpoint at sunset. The entrance is across from the royal palace entrance. It's a short walk to the viewpoint. Afterwards, check out the food market near the Phousi Hill viewpoint or 5 minutes from the Downtown Backpackers 2 hostel.

  • There is also a bowling alley in a town called Luang Prabang Bowling Alley. Hostel guests often go in groups, but you can also go with other friends.

  • The next day rent a scooter. If you decide to stay at the downtown backpackers 2 hostels then do not rent it from there but rather walk up to the main road (from where the hostel is) and the shop on the left rents out scooters for almost half the price!

  • Drive to the two waterfalls, Kuang Si Waterfall & Tat Sae Waterfalls. You can also take your swim there so make sure you take your swimsuit.

  • In the evening visit the night markets, where you can find a wide range of traditional crafts, textiles, and souvenirs. Remember to haggle.

After spending a few days in Luang Prabang, head north to Nong Khiaw.


Day 10-13:

Muang Ngoy & Huay Bo village


Transport from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw & Huay Bo village

The next day head north and go to Nong Khiaw. You can book the bus from the hostel which leaves around 8 am. The bus will take around 3 hours.


Overview

Muang Ngoy is a village located in northern Laos, known for its traditional culture and beautiful landscapes. The village is situated in the Bokeo province, near the border with Thailand, and is home to the Hmong, Tai Lue, and Tai Dam ethnic groups.

Huay Bo village is a small village located in Muang Ngoy. The village is known for its traditional culture, particularly for the production of silk and cotton textiles. The villagers use natural dyes and traditional techniques to create their textiles


Things to do

  • After you arrive in Nang Khiaw, walk to the public boat taxi (Nong Khiaw Pier) and head north on the river to Muang Ngoy. Note that the boat only leaves once a day around 1:30 pm and the ticket should cost around 40-50 Lao kip.

  • If you want to experience living off the grid then make sure to reach out to Mr Kee IN ADVANCE. (The 3-day, 2-night experience is located in Huay Bo village just off Muang Ngoy, but please note that there is no internet, electricity, or reception. The roads to get to the village are rough, so it's best to sit in the front of the vehicle for a more comfortable ride. The trip will take around 3 hours.

  • On the third day, Mr Kee will take you back to Muang Ngoy, but keep in mind that there is only one boat per day that leaves from Muang Ngoy to Nong Khiew around 8:30-9:30 am. It's a good idea to spend at least one night in Muang Ngoy to explore the city and stay in one of the many bungalows around the village. If you do decide to stay there then in the afternoon, you can visit the viewpoint (the entry fee is around 20 Lao).

Day 14-16:

Nong Khiaw


Transport from Huay Bo village to Nong Khiaw

The next day head back to Nong Khiaw by slow boat, as mentioned above there is only one boat a day which leaves between 8:30-9:30 am.


Things to do

  • You can stay here for a day and do different treks and see waterfalls such as Tad Sae Waterfall, Tad Yuang Waterfall and Tad Pha Suam Waterfall

  • Visit Pha Tok Cave, a limestone cave that is known for its beautiful rock formations and crystal-clear pools

  • If you decide to go back to Luang Prabang, the last bus out of Nong Khiaw is from 11 am -11:30 am.

Where to next?

You can either fly from Luang Prabang or if you are planning on heading south then you can the train down to Vientiane and then discover the south of Laos.


In conclusion, Laos is a hidden gem in Southeast Asia that offers beautiful landscapes, fascinating culture, and friendly locals. From the bustling capital of Vientiane to the stunning natural beauty of Vang Vieng, there is something for everyone in Laos. Whether you're an adventure seeker, a history buff, or just looking to relax and unwind, this itinerary offers a great starting point for exploring this amazing country. Don't forget to get your visas and vaccinations, and come with an open mind and a sense of adventure. Laos is waiting to be discovered!







93 views

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page