Laos is the most laid back country in Southeast Asia and is often skipped by the backpackers. Laos offers much more than buddhist temples, hidden caves, endless rice fields, lime cliff stoned mountains and unpolluted rivers. The natural beauty of the country matches the beauty of its people, who are super friendly, welcoming and humble.
This was our itinerary for two weeks:
Nong Khiaw (2 days)
Luang Prabang (5 days)
Vang Vieng (6 days)
Vientiane (2 days)
Where to stay: Joy´s bungalows, from 6 to 8 euros per night for two people.
Where to eat: anywhere is fairly cheap, the food at Joy´s restaurant is good.
How to get there: we took a night bus from Sapa and it felt like the longest bus journey ever. The price is about 16 euros including all transportation from Sapa to Muang Khua. The night sleeping bus from Sapa to Dien Bien was very crowded and some people had to sleep on the floor so I would suggest to go early at the bus station. From Dien Bien we changed to a minivan that left us in Muang Khua. From there we took a 5 hours slow boat to Nong Khiaw. There was also an option to go by bus but the journey in the river is beautiful and totally worth it.There was also an option to go by bus but the journey in the river is beautiful and totally worth it.
Tip: when crossing the border by land its cheaper to pay in Lao kip than dollars. Don´t pay the doctor as is not mandatory and they charge an extra dollar for that.
What to visit: the caves are a must as well as the viewpoint.
How to move around: everything is walking distance.
Where to stay: Jaliya homestay – 7 euros for a double room.
Where to eat: the night market has lots of cheap street food, juice stalls and a vegetarian buffet for one euro.
Utopia is a chill restaurant bar with high prices but worth a visit for a drink, the food is overprice and not so great.
How to get there: the public bus from Nong Khiaw takes 5 hours as the road is very bumpy.
What to visit: there are dozens of budhist temples walking distance into town. One of the most beautiful ones is Wat Xieng Thong with ornaments and paintings.
Don´t miss the sunset from Phu Si hill, the entrance is 20.000 but is worth a visit.
The Kuang Si Waterfall is reacheable by motorbike or shared tuk tuk and is worth a visit despite being very turistic.
Tip: cross the bamboo bridge and walk around the other side of the village to find hidden temples.
How to move around: the town is walking distance but is nice to rent motorbikes and explore the surroundings.
How to get there: is 3 hours ride by tourist minivan from Luang Prabang.
Where to stay: Souksavath Guesthouse, 8 euros for a double room, super clean and new
Where to eat: Viktor place is really cheap and has a big television where they air Friends series all day long.
Smile Bar Beach is perfect to have a drink or a bite to eat, chill in the hammocks, and swim and sunbath in the bamboo huts by the river.
How to move around: the town is fairly compact and flat to get around on foot; however, you need to rent a motorbike to explore the surroundings.
What to do: tubing is good fun, just rent the tube at the office in downtown Vang Vieng, they also organize transportation up the river a few miles. We recommend starting no later than noon as the sun sets around 6pm and you´ll need time to spend in the bars and get into town before is dark.
The Blue Lagoon is a little bit disappointing as is a small pond, no more than 10m wide; and gets very crowded on the weekends with local tourist.
Tip: if you want to go out and save some kips, you can get free shots at Sakura Bar from 8 to 9pm. Tt is the busiest nightspot in town with beer pongs, dance floor and happy hour.