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10 Days in Laos: A Chill itinerary for Leisurely Travelers

Trip Highlights: Vientiane, Vang Vieng, and Luang Prabang (a UNESCO Heritage Site)

Embarking on a trip for 10 days in Laos was an adventure and was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This Southeast Asian gem is rich in culture, history, and breathtaking landscapes. Let me take you through my unforgettable journey.

How to Get Around Laos

Navigating Laos is an adventure in itself. The most accessible way is by train, which connects major cities and offers scenic views. Within the city or town, tuk-tuks are a fun option. On the other hand, many tourists prefer renting motorbikes for flexibility and a dash of thrill.

Day 1: Exploring Vientiane’s Rich History

In Vientiane, That Luang Stupa stood majestically with its gold-covered structure, symbolizing Laos’ Buddhist heritage. Nearby, the mysterious That Dam (Black Stupa), shrouded in local legends, captivated me. The climb up Patuxai Victory Monument provided a panoramic view of the city, reminiscent of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe. I concluded the day savoring traditional Laotian flavors at Kualao Restaurant, renowned for its cultural performances and exquisite local dishes.

10 days in Laos (that Luan Stupa in Vientiane, Laos)
10 days in Laos (that Luan Stupa in Vientiane, Laos)

Day 2: Temple Tour and Cultural Deep Dive

My second day was a spiritual journey, beginning with the historic Wat Ho Phra Keo, home to beautiful artifacts and a serene ambiance. Wat Sisaket, with its thousands of Buddha statues, was a sight to behold. The afternoon visit to the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE) provided profound insights into Laos’ recent history. I ended my day at the Laos Cultural Hall, enjoying an evening of traditional Lao music and dance, followed by a heartwarming meal at Makphet Restaurant.

Day 3: Buddha Park Excursion and Journey to Vang Vieng

At Buddha Park, I was mesmerized by the eclectic mix of over 200 Hindu and Buddhist sculptures, creating an almost surreal landscape. Take note that the park is 20 kilometers from downtown Vientiane. Rent a motorbike to go there or join a tour here. In the afternoon, a scenic train ride took me to Vang Vieng, a town renowned for its natural beauty and outdoor activities, setting the stage for the next leg of my journey.

In Vientiane, Nana Backpacker Hostel is a popular choice for its vibrant atmosphere and river views. For more comfort, the Barn1920s Hostel in the city center is ideal. It’s close to the Mekong River and night markets, with facilities like a garden and bar. You can book these accommodations on Booking or TripAdvisor.

Day 4: River Adventures and Sunset at Pha Ngern

Kayaking along the Nam Song River was peaceful and exhilarating, offering up-close views of Vang Vieng’s famous limestone karsts. The hike to Pha Ngern Viewpoint was rewarding, with the sunset providing a stunning backdrop against the mountains. Dinner at Riverside Boutique Resort combined great local cuisine with picturesque river views.

Day 5: Exploring Caves and Blue Lagoons

The adventure continued with a visit to Tham Phu Kham Cave and the enchanting Blue Lagoon, a perfect spot for swimming and relaxing in a serene natural setting. The day concluded with a delightful meal at Amigo’s Vang Vieng, known for its friendly atmosphere and tasty dishes. If you can afford it, do the hot air balloon during sunset. The views of the mountains, rivers, and lush greenery are amazing from up there. The best way to get there is by driving a motorbike. If not, rent a tuk-tuk with someone to share the cost. OR, you can also join a bike tour.

Day 6: Hiking and Organic Farming Insights

A hike around Vang Vieng revealed breathtaking landscapes and hidden natural treasures. I spent a relaxing morning at the Organic Mulberry Farm Café, enjoying fresh, farm-to-table meals and learning about sustainable farming practices in Laos. In the afternoon, I took a train to the next destination: Luang Prabang!

10 Days in Laos Travel Itinerary (Vang Vieng)
10 Days in Laos Travel Itinerary (Vang Vieng)

In Vang Vieng, stay at Nana Backpackers Hostel for a friendly, budget-friendly experience. It’s great for exploring the town and nature. For a bit more luxury, choose Riverside Boutique Resort. It offers beautiful river views and comfort, perfect for relaxing after a day of adventure. You can book these accommodations on Booking or TripAdvisor.

Day 7: Royal and Religious Heritage

In Luang Prabang, the Royal Palace Museum offered a glimpse into Laos’ royal history, while Wat Xieng Thong showcased exquisite Lao architecture. Dinner at Tamarind explored traditional Laotian cuisine set in a cozy, ambient setting.

Day 8: River Journey and Waterfall Wonders

The boat trip to Pak Ou Caves revealed fascinating Buddhist sculptures nestled in limestone cliffs. The visit to Kuang Si Falls was a highlight, with its turquoise waters and lush surroundings. I enjoyed a unique dining experience at Dyen Sabai Restaurant, known for its local specialties. Now, the only way to combine the caves and the waterfalls is by joining a tour, which is what I did.

Day 9: Spiritual Sunrise and Phousi Hill Sunset

In the early morning, I experienced the Alms Giving Ceremony, a deeply spiritual start to my day. Later, I explored Luang Prabang’s charming streets. As the day turned to evening, I climbed the 300 steps to the top of Phousi Hill. The panoramic view of the city and Mekong River from here was stunning. After descending, I immersed myself in the lively atmosphere of the Night Market, bustling with local crafts and delicious food. My day ended with a flavorful meal at Lao Lao Garden, perfectly rounding off my time in this beautiful part of Laos.

10 Days in Laos Travel Itinerary (Luang Prabang)
10 Days in Laos Travel Itinerary (Luang Prabang)

Day 10: Farewell Vientiane: Returning and Departing

On Day 10, I caught a train back to Vientiane from Luang Prabang. The journey was peaceful, with beautiful views of Laos. In Vientiane, I had a few hours left. I enjoyed a final walk along the Mekong Riverfront, taking in the calm scenery. With my afternoon flight approaching, I grabbed a quick, tasty meal at a local café. It was a nice end to my trip. These 10 days in Laos combined peaceful exploration with learning about the culture. It was an amazing and stress-free trip I’ll always remember.

Where to stay in Luang Prabang

In Luang Prabang, Nocknoy Lanexang Guesthouse is a great budget-friendly option. It’s near the city’s main attractions. For a more upscale stay, Mekong Riverview Hotel offers beautiful river views and excellent service, perfect for relaxing and enjoying Luang Prabang’s historic charm. You can book these accommodations on Booking or TripAdvisor.

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