Laos Tours & Holidays
Join us on a holiday to Laos
Join us on an escorted tour to Laos, a beguiling land traversed by the mighty Mekong River and carpeted in emerald green mountains. Discover ancient Buddhist monasteries, French colonial cities and much, much more.
Sandwiched between Thailand and Vietnam, Laos – the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia – sits at the heart of the Indochinese Peninsula, and shares borders with China and Myanmar in the north and Cambodia in the south. Roughly the same size as England, Scotland and Wales combined, Laos is home to just 7 million people, giving the country a distinctly spacious and easy-going atmosphere, even in the ‘big’ cities – a real rarity for this part of the world.
With its stunning setting and easy-going cities, Laos has much to tempt the visitor with. UNESCO-protected Luang Prabang, the country’s former capital, is undoubtedly Laos’s most picturesque city, its streets lined with palaces, temples and bustling night markets. A short drive from the city is the Kuang Si Waterfall, a picture-perfect three-tiered torrent of bluish-green water that tumbles down from the verdant jungle. Vientiane and Vang Vieng, both in the south, and Pakse, in the east, are also popular destinations in Laos.
Discover the country's hidden gems, as well as those of equally beguiling destinations in Southeast Asia on our Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia tour.
Things to do in Laos
Some of the most exciting experiences to be had on your Laos holiday come from exploring the local culture and visiting its historical landmarks. From the laid-back capital city of Vientiane to the picturesque city of Luang Prabang, there is a plethora of unique things to do in the country. Here are three of our favourites.
Marvel at Wat Xiengthong
The country's most famous, and arguably most beautiful, monastery is located in Luang Prabang. Dating back to 1560, it features an array of exquisite detailing and striking architecture, and is home to a reclining Buddha, a funeral carriage, a drum tower and a beautiful ornate mosaic.
Visit local villages
What better way to experience everyday life in Laos than dropping by a local village? Our Laos holidays packages include a stop at two tiny villages surrounded by rice paddies and lush greenery, where you can enjoy a more in-depth look at the cultures and traditions of the local people.
Stroll around the night market
Situated in the centre of Luang Prabang, the night market is open daily and offers the chance to enjoy some shopping between 5pm and 10pm. As well as stalls selling everything from ceramics to linen clothing, the market also hosts a number of street food vendors, serving up cheap and delicious local dishes.
Things to see in Laos
Laos is famous for its breath-taking natural beauty: up to 85% of the country is estimated to be covered by unmanaged vegetation and forest. The rolling green mountains and jagged limestone peaks of the north gradually give way to the flat, languid south, which is sprinkled with palm trees and lined with rice paddies. Of course, there are also plenty of extraordinary manmade sights in the country, too. Here is our pick of some of the best.
Laos tour highlights
Things to see and places to visit on your escorted tour of Laos
Food and drink in Laos
While Lao cuisine may not be as well known as that of its Southeast Asian neighbours, those who visit the country will find plenty of mouthwatering flavours and combinations await them. The food here varies from region to region, but what cuts through it all is fresh ingredients and ample flavour.
Steamed sticky rice is a staple of the Laotian diet, indeed, it is believed that the Lao eat more sticky rice than any other people in the world! A traditional family meal will usually include sticky rice, meat, vegetables, some form of relish, and soup. Traditionally, there has been a desire to ensure that nothing goes to waste, and this has resulted in the use of some more unusual ingredients such as ant eggs, flowers and a variety of offal. The culinary legacy of the French is still evident in the larger cities, where fresh baguettes are baked every day and sold by street food vendors. Coffee is also ubiquitous in Laos, as is the state-owned beer, Beerlao.
Laos tours offer the chance to sample dishes to suit all tastes. Those who are fond of spicy food may like to try larb – a spicy dish of marinated meat or fish, cooked with herbs and spices, or tam mak hoong – a spicy green papaya salad. Milder options include lam - a meat stew served with rice, and khao jee pa-tay - a baguette filled with ham, cheese, salad and various optional toppings and sauces. Among the country's most popular desserts are khao lam - sticky rice with coconut milk, red beans and sugar, and khao lod xong - green, worm-like strips of rice jelly made with coconut milk and sugar.
First trip to Laos? Here are a few questions you might have.
Is Laos an expensive country?
Laos is considered one of the cheapest countries to visit in Southeast Asia, and very cheap by Western standards.
Is Laos safe to visit?
Laos is a friendly and safe country for tourists to visit. That being said, petty crime isn’t uncommon, although taking sensible precautions should negate any risk. The most hassle tourists encounter is usually from over-eager street vendors and sellers. There is unexploded ordnance from the Vietnam War in some parts of the country, so you should always stick to the marked pathways and never trek alone.
Do I need a visa to visit Laos?
UK passport holders will be issued with a 30-day visa upon arrival into the country. You must ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months from your arrival date.