One of the most underestimated countries in Southeast Asia is, if you ask me, Laos. It is fairly unknown and does not have the beautiful beaches as you find them in Thailand or the Philippines or the Buddhist buildings like in Cambodia or Myanmar. Laos is different. Laos does not have a lot of pooha, but is authentic, pure and is wonderful to travel through at a leisurely pace. Moreover, it has a beautiful nature. Laos is one of my favorite countries in Southeast Asia. I put my highlights of Laos in a row:
1. Gibbon Experience.
It’s been more than 5 years since we first visited Laos and the Gibbon Experience is still one of my coolest travel experiences ever. 3 Days we stayed in the jungle, we slept 40 meters above the ground and we swooped on zip lines like monkeys through the jungle. Sounds cool right? You should not suffer from fear of heights, because then you have a big problem 😉 The price (now around 300 euros for 3 days) is something that keeps many travelers back, but I absolutely loved every Dollar!
2. The Thakhek Loop
The Thakhek Loop is a moped trip of 3 or 4 days where you drive a small 500 km through the interior of Laos. You start the trip in Thakhek and via Thalang, Laksao and Konglor you also come back here. You can leave your luggage and take a bag with much needed items. No experience with riding a moped? No point, I did not, but even then this Loop is fine to do. You can choose in which direction you drive the Loop, where you spend the night and in which places you stop. We chose to do 4 days instead of 3, so we had an extra day to enjoy the beautiful nature. Absolutely recommended!
3. 4000 Islands
Laos may not have beautiful beaches, but Laos does have the 4,000 islands, a collection of islands in the Mekong River. This is the perfect place to spend a few days relaxing in a bungalow on the edge of the river. Also a nice place to rent a bike for 1 euro and explore the area.
4. Luang Prabang
One of my favorite cities in Asia is Luang Prabang. This city can not be compared with metropolises such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Hong Kong. In fact, Luang Prabang did not even feel like a city for me! Luang Prabang is authentic and here you can easily stay a few days without being bored. Climb Mouth Phousi for a beautiful sunset over the Mekong River, visit the night market and rent a bike. The monks who walk through the streets in the morning to collect alms are also special to see, but do not do this in the main street, because the buses full of tourists dropped here are really embarrassing.
5. Bolaven plateau
The Bolaven plateau is an absolute must-visit during your trip through Laos. It is known for its beautiful waterfalls, rainforest and coffee plantations. Because it is higher, you will find a cool, but pleasant climate here. You can visit the Bolaven Plateau as a day trip from Pakse, but you can also rent a moped and drive the so-called Bolaven Loop. You can do this in 2 days by staying in Tad Lo, but you can also stay an extra night near the Tad Fane waterfall.
6. What Pu, Champassak
One of the most beautiful temple complexes in Laos is that of Wat Pu. These Khmer temples date from the 11-13th century and are the forerunners of Angkor Wat. Visit the temples early in the morning or at the end of the afternoon, because during the day it can be really hot and the climb upwards is incredibly difficult.