Weekly Wanderlust: Take me to Laos!

Novice Monks Laos
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We’re starting a new series on World of Wanderlust, which, as it sounds is an in-depth look at some of the world’s must see locations that none of the team have been able to get to yet (just because we haven’t been there yet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read about it on the site)!!!

First up, we’re talking about Laos – one of the lesser visited but equally fascinating countries in Indochina – which strictly compromises of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos… but has now grown to include all of mainland Southeast Asia, adding Thailand, mainland Malaysia, Singapore and Burma (watch this space for an in-depth look at Burma, one of the biggest trending destinations right now)!


Introducing Laos

On a recent trip to Southeast Asia with Intrepid on a group tour, I had to sadly cut my time short and return home a little earlier than anticipated. A few days later I was supposed to visit Laos, so it seems only fitting to cover Laos as the first “Weekly Wanderlust” location.

Laos gets a little lost in translation – or shall we say cleaver marketing campaigns – in comparison with it’s neighbours Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia (which has recently been named one of the World’s top 25 Destinations). However there is much to love about Laos, particularly if you’re eager to get out of your comfort zone and into the wilderness.

Typically Laos is described as blissfully laid back, so if you’re coming to spend time here, much like the rest of Southeast Asia, don’t sell yourself short!

“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time”

– Bertrand Russell


Pictured: Kwangsi Waterfalls, Luang Prabang

Where Should you Go in Laos?

Luang Prabang

The colonial era architecture, temples and authenticity of Luang Prabang makes this UNESCO World Heritage the standout favourite for travellers visiting Laos.

Vang Vieng

Located north of the capital (Vientiane) is Vang Vieng, infamous for its’ wild tubing (and partying scene) on the river banks. Around the area there are a great range of activities such as caving, kayaking, rock climbing and trekking.


Vientiane is the capital of Laos, however is much more underrated than the likes of other Southeast Asian capitals such as Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh City. Travellers will likely pass through here to reach other destinations in Laos, however there are much more amazing and surreal experiences to be had outside of the capital, so be sure to limit your time here in favour of other locations.

Know Before You Go

Visa on arrival has been available in Laos since 2010.

As with most other destinations in Southeast Asia, you will need to allow for extra time when travelling throughout Laos due to delays, cancellations, and breakdowns.

Laos is the least westernised of all the Indochina countries, so you can expect a more authentic and laid back experience – perhaps reason to allow for more time here to explore!

Laos is also a great place to enjoy adventure activities such as trekking, kayaking, and rock climbing… so be sure to not skimp out on travel insurance to play it safe!


A great way to visit Laos as a solo traveller is to join a trip with Intrepid Travel. In association with ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations).

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    Minh Nguyen
    August 25, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Laos actually brought me mixed feelings. I can’t tell clearly if I like this city or not. It is pretty and peaceful. Everything is just slow and slow, but slow good. When I was in Laos, I was actually slowed down. Clean city and kind people (except the cops). Undoubtedly, Luang Prabang is pretty, especially the waterfalls. I was speechless when I saw it. On the other hand, this city is overrated as it is touristy and somehow expensive compared to Laos’ living cost. I prefer Vientiane while many people think this one is boring. Vientiane is cleaner, cheaper and less crowded. Walking on Vientiane streets which is harmonized by Lao and French architecture reminded me of streets in Hanoi. Sitting on the Mekong riverbank and enjoying breakfast in early morning was one of my favourite as it was so fresh and peaceful. I don’t usually like capitals cities but Vientiane is an exception. Travel is all about how we feel, isn’t it?

    Daniel | Dan Flying Solo
    August 14, 2015 at 1:44 am

    Laos was one of the most magical and enchanting places I have visited. Brooke – with these new guides how about inviting people from the wow community to give their insight too, I for one would love to get invovled in these weekly wanderlust articles if it is somewhere I have visited!

    August 6, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    I’ve just got home from Laos and it is by far my favourite place in the world! Far less commercialized than it’s other Indochina neighbours, friendly people and plenty of activities you’d never even imagine at home. Definitely planning to visit again to spend more time exploring as I was only there for six days. Writing a blog about my travels so will eventually get to my Laos adventures!

    Rachel Mendoza
    August 6, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Laos is one of my favorite places in the world. If I’m not mistaken, Laos has heavy european influence due to French colonialism during the late 1800s-early 1900s. So you get that unique combination of Asia and Europe in the food and architecture! Can’t wait to go back! xx

    Posh, Broke, & Bored
    August 5, 2015 at 4:11 am

    Lovely Laos! Growing up in Malaysia, Laos was to me a cutely-named neighbouring country I remembered only because of geography classes, not really a travel destination. Funny how now that I’m older and living on the other side of the world in London, I’m eager to travel around home region of South East Asia. I’m saving these tips for my ‘Prodigal Daughter Returns to SouthEast Asia’ trip next year! x


    Stray Asia
    August 4, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Fantastic blog, great to see Laos in the lime light! It is truly one of Southeast Asia’s gems and can at times be forgotten in all the hype around the coastal regions. If you are a solo traveler and looking for a way to get around Laos, ‘Stray Asia’ offers a hop-on hop-off travel passes that run from Bangkok up into Northern, looping down into Southern Laos. This style of travel takes you to all the mentioned places, provides reliable and safe transport, a knowledgeable tour leader and provides you with the flexibility to jump off along the way. It is also a great way to meet other people on a similar journey.

    Laos is a special place, definitely worth a visit.

    Sonia R Dekker
    August 4, 2015 at 3:43 am

    Great write up, helpful information & pix!
    Do you have a travel insurance recommendation?

    August 4, 2015 at 12:31 am

    Every traveller I met on the road, who went to Asia, told me to totally visit Laos!
    Cannot wait!
    Happy travels,

    August 3, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Seems marvellous to me!

    Deepti @ Endless Postcards
    August 3, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Laos looks absolutely beautiful! I can’t wait to see it for myself someday. Thanks for sharing!


    August 2, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    I’ve never been to Laos before. That Kwangsi Waterfalls looks so gorgeous 🙂