10 Day Itinerary for Laos
Laos is a hidden gem, overlooked by its tourist-flocked neighbors - Thailand and Vietnam. The country is not as developed or tourist-friendly as many other Southeast Asian countries but it still offers an array of attractions and beautiful landscapes to keep your attention. Whether you're traveling only to Laos for a short holiday or passing by from Thailand, Cambodia, or Vietnam, here's a week and a half itinerary of the best places to visit and things to do. Let a comment if this was helpful and/or if you've been to Laos!
Luang Prabang - 2 Days
A UNESCO Heritage-listed city and one of Laos' most popular destinations, Luang Prabang is the poster child of Laos and offers a vast contrast to the countryside and busy city of Vientiane, the capital. You can fly into the International airport to take the bus/slow boat from North Thailand or Vietnam.
- Kuang Si Falls
- Buddhist Alms Giving Ceremony
- Climb Mount Phousi
- Night Market
- Cruise on the Mekong River to visit Pak Ou Cave
Vang Vieng - 2.5 Days
From Luang Prabang, it will take about 4 hours by bus to arrive at this little party town resting next to the Nam Song River. It used to be known as the partying capital of Laos but after many unfortunately incidents, it has tamed down but still a great spot to chill and party for a few days.
- Tubing down the Nam Song River
- Bar hop through town during happy hour for free drinks
- Have a chill afternoon and watch Friends
- Rent a motorbike and visit the Blue Lagoon and drive around the countryside
- Tube through the Tham Nam cave
- Party it up every night and at the Jungle Party every Friday night
Thakhek (Motorcycle Loop) - 3/4 Days
Overlooked by many travelers, the Thakhek Motorcycle Loop was the best thing I did during my time in Laos. It took me out of riding in terrible Lao buses, see the rural countryside and beautiful landscapes, and boat through a beautiful cave. You can either do this in 3 or 4 days. I did it in 3 days because I was short on time and the original route is 3 days but the next recommended way is to drive back the same route of the first two days to hit any spots you missed the first time around and to avoid the boring drive of the highway to get back to Thakhek. If you do not have a motorbike, there are a few places to rent them in Thakhek, Mad Monkey and Wang Wang (cheaper option). I opted for a manual dirt bike because I heard some parts were not paved but you can manage it in a scooter.
- Night 1: Thalang
- Phosy Thalang Guesthouse is right by the water so it's a great place to rest for the first night
- Night 2: Kong Lor Cave Town
- There is a little town right outside of the cave. Your second night should be spent here so since the last boat leaves at 4pm and depending on how fast it takes you to drive you might not make it. We were hit with tons of rain and had to slow down for the potholes and curve roads.
- Night 3: Thakhek or Thalang
- The 3rd day will be spent driving along the freeway. There's not much to see besides dust and trucks. You can drive back to Thalang and spend a night there.
- (Optional) Night 4: Thakhek
- You will end back in Thakhek to return your bike and hop on a bus to the next city.
Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands) - 2 Days
This laid-back, quiet, charming place is nestled at the bottom of Laos by the Cambodian border that consists of many tiny islands scattered in the Mekong Delta. Head to Don Det, the main pace for backpackers. This is a perfect place to chill out and not do much, which might be exactly what you need after hustling through Laos and the long bus journey.
- Visit Don Kong Waterfall, the biggest in Laos
- Drink beers on the beach over a campfire every night
- Bike around the island and enjoy the scenery
- Try to spot Irrawaddy dolphin
*Warning: the travel from Thakhek will be very long, no ATMs, limited Wifi