Looking for the perfect Laos itinerary?  Look no further.  Laos is a gem that gets skipped a lot by the backpacker traveling through Southeast Asia because it’s not on the banana pancake trail.

Filled with incredible waterfalls, scenic mountains and plenty of outdoor activities you won’t run out of places to see and things to do as you explore this untouched country.  With an open mind and time Laos is one of the most rewarding Southeast Asian destinations.

My two-week Laos itinerary is perfect for travelers who want to experience the country at a slower pace and experience parts of Laos that most visitors pass by.  For the purpose of this article we will be traveling from the North to the South.

The ultimate 2 Week Laos Itinerary

The Perfect 2 Week Laos Itinerary

When to Go to laos

Rainy season is during the summer months May through September.  This means that it pours rain every day for at least a couple hours.  Laos isn’t as developed as other countries so this makes things very muddy.
If you like to wear white and prefer to stay clean I would opt out of traveling here during the rainy season.

November to February are nice months to travel but will cold at night in the mountains.  

March and April are the warmest months.

Day 1: arrive Luang Prabang

Arrive in Luang Prabang.  Most travelers start their visit to Laos in the capitol city of Luang Prabang.  Whether you traveled here by slow boat, bus, or flew you will be a little tired from the journey.  Check out routes below.

Luang Prabang is Lao’s first UNESCO world heritage site and the culture capital of Laos.  Besides the preserved architecture, historic temples and the infamous Kuang Si Falls there’s much to see and do in this city or shall I say “small” town.

Luang Prabang sits on a peninsula where the Mekong river and Nam Khan rivers meet.  Most places are walkable especially if you stay in the old town area.

Where to Stay in luang prabang

I stayed at the  My Dream Boutique Resort.  The location was great located on the river.  The balcony in our room sealed the deal, it was a perfect place to watch the sunset.   For a bigger list

Days 2-3: Explore Luang Prabang

The main sites and attractions of Luang Prabang are in close proximity to each other which makes it possible to explore Luang Prabang in a couple days.  Plus Luang Prabang is such a laid back place you’ll spend your mornings exploring and your evenings relaxing by the river.

Here are the top things to do in Luang Prabang.

Luang prabang must see’s

Kuang Si Falls 

Take a tip to see the famous Kuang Si Falls, a highlight on any Laos itinerary.  The powerful waterfalls are located just 45 minutes outside of Luang Prabang.  The tiered waterfalls are hidden in the jungle and cascade down each level creating natural infinity pools.  You can easily spend the day here swimming in pools, jumping off trees, and pretending to be Jane or Tarzan.

Explore the Night Market

The night market is open from 4 pm to 10 pm and is not like most markets you will find in South east Asia.  This market is filled with hand woven linens, jewelry, and other hand crafts making it more authentic and one of my favorites in Asia.  Although the tourists still outnumber the locals, it still as a genuine feel.

royal palace musuem

Once an official residence of the Lao royal family.  Today, it’s a museum to Laos culture and history of Laos’ past and present.  The Royal Palace Museum is in the center of Luang Prabang and probably walking distance from your hotel.

Give Alms to the Monks 

Rise early at 5 am to give alms to the monks that start their daily walks through the streets at 5:30.  You’ll need to buy fresh sticky rice the morning of or have an offering of candy.  The reception at my hotel provided us with bowls to put our rice in and invited us to kneel next to him in preparation for the alms.

The monks will walk by with their alms bowls open and you’ll put your offerings inside. This was one of the most rewarding experiences I had my whole time traveling through Laos.  As long as you show respect this is something that I would NOT miss on this Laos itinerary.

morning market

The morning market is where the locals buy their everyday items like produce, fish and chicken.  You must also rise early for this one, the market opens around 5:30 or 6 am.  Come here after the alms procession.  Here you’ll be able to try some Laos street food.

Enjoy Utopia ↑

Zen by day, Groovy by night’ is Utopias motto and the perfect way to describe it.  Not only does the food menu have a wide variety, including many vegetarian options but its also delicious!!  Read a book, play some cards, or sip a hand crafted cocktail as you lounge on the deck and watch the Nam Khan River flow by.

Utopia embodies the Lao saying of PDR – ‘Please don’t Rush’.  It even offers yoga at sunrise and sunset.  Check out there website here.

luang prabang old town

Old Town is where you’ll find yourself most evenings.  Filled with riverfront restaurants, cafes and restored buildings, it’s a perfect place to relax, sip a glass of wine and people watch as you settle into the slower pace that Laos has to offer.

Day 4: explore luang prabang countryside

Arrange bus transportation to VangVieng for tomorrow morning.  Tickets will cost around 120,000 Kip per person and can be arranged with the reception at your hotel or you can book again below.  It’s about a 5 to 6 hour drive depending on road conditions.

Rent a Scoopi ↑

A scoop is basically a moped. Explore the surrounding area.  Relax by the pool.  Enjoy a happy hour. Sounds like the perfect day to me.

If you have dreams of exploring Laos by motorbike (like I had) then you should rent a motorbike for the whole 2 weeks of traveling through Laos.  Having your own motorbike gives you ultimate freedom to explore all of Laos undiscovered places.  Plus you won’t have to deal with the dreaded buses.  

Day 5: Arrive in Vang Vieng 

Arrive early afternoon.  The only way to get to Vang Vieng is by bus or with your own motorbike.

Once a backpacker party hotspot, Vang Vieng has since calmed down and has rebranded itself as an outdoor & adventure town.  Vang Vieng’s biggest lure is the stunning limestone mountains, creating some of the best views in Laos.

This was my favorite place I traveled to in Laos and a town I would not miss.

Where to Stay in luang prabang

Vang Vieng is a much smaller town than Luang Prabang and you’ll be able to walk everywhere.  There are many hostels, guesthouses and hotels to choose from.  We stayed at the Riverside Boutique Resort.  I could have stayed here all day and laid by the pool 🧉!  For a bigger list of where to stay

Days 6-7: Experience vang vieng

I mentioned earlier that Vang Vieng is an outdoor enthusiasts dream.  There are tons of activities to get your blood pumping over the next couple days.  Here is a list of the top things to do in Vang Vieng.

vang vieng must see’s

tubing 

Go tubing down the Nam Song River.  This is the main reason backpackers flock here.  You rent a tube for the day that cost 60,000 Kip.  You then float down the river and locals will lasso you and pull you into their bar.  How fun is that?!?!

This activity is usually paired with the blue lagoon which I explain below.

blue lagoon

This beautiful lagoon is a great place to go swimming.  It has a rope swing that hangs over the water.  It’s reached about 5 miles outside of town and is paired with the Phu Kham Cave .  It’s a short steep climb to get to the entrance of the cave.  It cost 10,000 KIP to enter.

rent a moped or dune buggy

The landscape is breath taking.  I traveled to Laos during the rainy season so it was much more fun to explore the area in a Dune Buggy because of all the mud it was easier to be on 4 wheels.  Theres i a 24 kilometer loop that has 4 different viewpoints to stop at and go for a hike.

*Note it does cost to go to these viewpoints 5,000 Kip per person.

hiking

The viewpoints that I mentioned above are reached by climbing up the fairly steep limestone mountains.  It rained every day of the week that we were here and this made the trails very muddy.

If hiking is a top priority make sure you come here during dry season.

caving

The most enjoyable cave is Pho Thao.  The cave is full of stalagmites and stalactites and you can explore it for over a mile.  There will be times that you’ll be in water up to chest deep so make sure you wear clothes that will be comfortable in the water.  A dry bag is necessary to keep your belongings dry.

rock climbing

The limestone mountains that encompass Vang Vieng are perfect for rock climbing.  Take a full or half day tour to get your adrenaline pumping.

 mountain biking

One of my favorite ways to explore an area is by bike and if you like life in the fast lane, mountain biking in Vang Vieng is a great way to view the town and burn a few calories.

On day 7 make sure you arrange for transportation to travel to Vientiene tomorrow with your hotel or prebook here.  It cost about $10 and is a 3 hour drive.  Buses are frequent, leave in the afternoon so you have one more night in Vang Vieng.

Spend your last night at one of the lively bars in town.  My favorite was the Moon Bar because it has a pool table, a friendly staff, and good music.  There is also a ‘happy’ menu if you desire.

Day 8: arrive vientiane

Arrive in Vientiane and arrange a night bus for tomorrow night that will get you to Pakse.  Prepare for a wild and bumpy ride.

Where to Stay in vientiane

On this two week Laos itinerary I don’t spend much time in the capitol because I like to get more off-the-beaten path.  Here are the highlights of visiting Vientiane.

Budget

Barn1920's Hostel

Friendly atmosphere, great place to meet fellow travelers. Located near the night market and its clean and comfortable on this Laos itinerary. 

Moonlight Champa

 Great location and walking distance to most things. Great breakfast and cost effective.

mid range

Bloom Boutique Hotel & Cafe

Located in the center of Vientiane.  Colonial and elegant interior near the night market.  Lots of street food and restaurants are located near by.

Vayakorn Inn

Walking distance to shops, restaurants, the night market and the river.  Located in a quiet area with no street noise.

VKS Hotel

Clean and comfortable located near an abundance of street vendors and restaurants.

luxury

Settha Palace Hotel

Another gem located in the city center of Vientiane, a family run boutique hotel complete with an outdoor pool, fitness center, and spa.  If you’re looking for a place with big enjoyable pool, this is the place for you.

Green Park Boutique Hotel

Outdoor pool, fitness center and pool. 

vientiane must see’s

Laos Itinerary Vientiane Laos Buddah

buddha park

This quirky attraction is a collection of massive concrete sculptures.  The sculptors range from humans, animals, gods and even demons and some may seem a bit bizarre.  The cheapest way to get to the park is on the #14 bus from Vientiane’s central bus station.  It runs every 15 minutes and cost 6000Kip.  

Take the night bus to Pakse.  This will save you a night on accommodation but I warn you it will NOT be the best nights sleep.

COPE Visitor Centre

The COPE Visitor Center, which is partly a museum, but also provides insight into the work that COPE does in Laos. 

The country of Laos has many unexploded cluster bombs from the Vietnam war that are still causing injuries throughout the country.  COPE is an organization that is attempting to find and defuse all of the bombs as well as provide medical attention and supplies to those that get injured.  This is a top visit when exploring this area.

Great Sacred Stupa (Pha That Luang)

An iconic site in Vientiane and a symbol of Laos Country.  This Impressive “golden Stupa” It is an important place for Buddhists to visit and once a year there is a big gathering of monks coming from all over.

Wat Si Saket

If you just go to one temple during your visit to Vientiane, Wat Sisaket should be among the top picks.  The temple and the museum have an amazing collection of Buddhist artefacts and statues.  Come here to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this beautiful place.

Day 10: arrive in pakse about 9 am

Recoup and take a nap after that wild night bus journey you just completed.

Also arrange transportation for the day after tomorrow to head to 4,000 islands.  It will cost 55,000-65,000 Kip including a ferry ticket to Don Det.

where to stay in pakse

Budget

Salachampa Hotel

Located in the center of Pakse, Salachampa Hotel offers simply furnished rooms and the convenience of an on-site restaurant.  Includes services like luggage storage and laundry.  Rooms start at $20 a night.

mid range

Tad Fane Resort

Located walking distance to the Tad Fane Waterfall.  The rooms are basic but you if you’re looking for a retreat in nature this is the spot for you.  Every room comes with a balcony and A/C.

Tad Lo Resort

Amazing location on riverside and 5 min walk to Tad Lo waterfall.

luxury

Champasak Grand Hotel

Large spacious rooms tastefully decorated and located 15 minutes away from the airport.  Spa, fitness center and a large outdoor pool.

La Jardin Hotel

A quiet but central location. Comfortable beds and an outdoor pool.

Day 11: explore the bolaven plateau by moped

The Bolaven Plateau usually gets skipped on a typical Laos itinerary and people are missing out.  There are many waterfalls clustered together located 45 minutes to an hour outside of Pakse.

pakse must see’s

Laos itinerary with I'm Jess Traveling

tad fane

Tad Fane is the first waterfall you will visit. Two waterfalls cascading down and the most popular waterfall in Southern Laos and reminds me of a scene straight out of Jurassic Park.  The Tad Fane Restort is located here if you want to stay in the action.  The rooms are basic but come with a balcony and A/C.

tad yuang

Tad Yuang is the next waterfall you will visit and was my favorite. In the dry season you can take a dip above the falls or below the falls.

Keep journeying and check out a coffee and tea plantation.  Koffie’s Coffee touris a unique, highly informative tour with an overload of information about coffee growing, harvesting, processing and quality of coffee around the world.  If you’re willing to splurge on a experience go zip lining and drink coffee above a waterfall.  Bucketlist Goals thats all I have to say.

Day 12 – 13: Don dot

The journey from Pakse to Don Det takes a couple hours.  Located on a peninsula in the delta of the Mekong and Nam Song River, Don Det is small and easy going.

where to stay in don det

At this point we were ready for some R&R so we stayed at the nicest resort on Don Det, the Little Eden Guesthouse and Resort.  A beautiful resort with a deck right on the water than offers the best sunset views on the island. This 3 star resort feels like 5 stars. It’s the only guesthouse on Don Det that has its own pool and it included breakfast.

This was my favorite place that I stayed during my time in Laos and my definition of budget luxury as we didn’t pay more than $30 a night.  A must stay on anyone’s Laos itinerary.

For a bigger and more detailed guide on where to stay

There’s not much to do on Don Det then sit back, relax and completely unplug.  Here are a few of the top things to do in Don Det.

don det must see’s

bike to don khon

It costs10,000 Kip to rent a bike.  Explore Don Det and ride across the island to the bridge that connects you to Don Khon. Take your time and enjoy the rice fields and all the animals you see along the way.  You’ll be on your own self guided Laos safari.

I saw water buffalo, cows, goats, dogs, chickens and cats along the way. After all that biking you’ll be ready for a dip in the pool and an iced cold beer.  If you’re not staying at Little Eden, you can pay 20,000 to use their pool for the day.

SEE THE IRRAWAddY DOLPHINS

These dolphins only 2 places in Southeast Asia and are almost extinct with there being less than 100 left.  Take a tour and see these cuties in person. Lunch at Mama’s, the homemade hummus and the curry baguette are something to write home about.

enjoy yet another sunset

I mean enough said.

KHONE PHAPHENG FALLS

Khone Phapheng Falls is the largest waterfall (by volume) in South East Asia and an epic place to visit in Laos.  There is a viewpoint that provides great views of the falls below.

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