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 roaring waterfalls, lush green 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.
The perfect 2 week Laos Itinerary
4 DAYS: Luang Prabang
3 DAYS: Vang Vieng
2 DAYS: Vientiane
2 DAYS: Pakse
3 days: 4,000 Islands
Arrive in Luang Prabang. Whether you traveled here by slow boat, bus, or flew you will be a little tired from the journey.
If arriving by slow boat check read
Where to Stay
I stayed at the Le Vang Bua Villa and it was great. Close enough to walk to the night market, WiFi was fast, and a nice pool. The monks walk down the street that the hotel is located on for Tak Bat every morning, which was very convenient because this is something you won’t want to miss.
Other Hotel Options
Downtown Backpackers Hostel– Amazing location right by the night market, free breakfast and a great option for a backpack budget. Villay Vanh Place House– 10 minute walk from the night market. Lots of cafes and restaurants nearby. Clean and comfortable for the price.
My Dream Boutique Resort– Located on the Nam Khan River, surrounding by gardens. If you’re looking for relaxation this is the place for you. A beautiful pool to relax by and shuttle service provided to and from the airport.
Ock Pop Tok Mekong Villa– Located ten minutes away from town, comfortable rooms, nicely decorated and the best bang for your buck. Prices start at $50 per night.
Mekong Riverview Hotel– Great location, phenomenal views, A+ service and comfortable rooms and bedding.
Satri House Secret Retreats– the colonial-style Satri House was the previous residence of Prince Souphanouvon. The hotel offers 2 outdoor pools, free Wi-Fi and a spa.
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 SouthEast 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.
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.
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 out on.
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.
More about Luang Prabang
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. 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.
Arrive early afternoon. 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 Amari. A bit luxurious for the town, complete with great views and a huge breakfast.
Other Hotel Options
Rock Backpacker hostel– basic room or dorm bed with a fun atmosphere and a fun game and common area.
Pan’s Place– Nice relaxed tv area and offers single, double, or triple room with shared facilities.
Simon Riverside Hotel– located right on the river with phenomenal views.
Vieng Tara Villa– Mountain or river view bungalow. Great place to enjoy your morning coffee or tea. Clean and comfortable.
Phoxay Ngam Resort– Located about 10 minutes outside of Vang Vienna this resort. Small boutique hotel with beautiful views, location and price.
Riverside Boutique Resort– located on the banks of the Nam Song river has the best views in town complete with a pool and a spa. Prices start at $110 per night. If you haven’t heard of Vang Vieng, it is a small party town that is kind of like the wild, wild west.
Grab dinner and then a drink 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.
Tubing and the Blue Lagoon
Go tubing down the Nam Song River and jump off trees into the Blue Lagoon. 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?!?!
Arrange for transportation to travel to Vientiene tomorrow. 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.
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 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.
Arrive in Vientiane and arrange a night bus for tomorrow night that will get you to Pakse.
Barn1920s Hostel– Friendly atmosphere, great place to meet fellow travelers. Located near the night market and its clean and comfortable.
Moonlight Champa– Great location and walking distance to most things. Great breakfast and cost effective.
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.
VKS Hotel– Clean and comfortable located near an abundance of street vendors and restaurants.
Vayakorn Inn– Walking distance to shops, restaurants, the night market and the river. Located in a quiet area with no street noise.
Crowne Plaza Vientiane– Located in city center, spacious and furnished rooms. Plus an excellent breakfast.
Green Park Boutique Hotel– Outdoor pool, fitness center and a spa.
. 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.
Visit the 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.
Arrive in Pakse around 8 or 9 in the morning.
Recoup and take a nap after that wild night bus journey you just completed.
Champasak Grand Hotel– Large spacious rooms tastefully decorated and located 15 minutes away from the airport. Spa, fitness center and a large outdoor pool.
Le Jardin Hotel– A quiet but central location. Comfortable beds and an outdoor pool.
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.
Explore Bloaven 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Enjoy yet another sunset.
See the Irraway 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.
Other Things to Note:
- VISAS:The USA and most European countries need a visa to travel Laos and you can obtain these at the border. The cost of a visa is $30 USD but varies depending on which passport you are holding. Check here to find out how much a visa cost for you.
- CURRENCY:Laotian KIP is the currency of Laos. 8,000 KIP is about 1 USD. ATM’s are easy to find in Laos except in the 4,000 Islands in south so plan accordingly.
- WiFi: You can get WiFi in most hostels and guesthouses along with bars and cafes but don’t be surprised if the signal is a bit weak.
- SIM cards are reasonably priced if it is important to you to be connected all the time. When I first got to Laos I bought a 5 Gig SIM card that was good up to 30 days and it only cost 70,000 KIP which is equivalent to $8.75 USD. I used free WiFi whenever it was available and the 5 Gig SIM card lasted me for the little over 2 weeks that I was in Laos.
- TRANSPORTATION: Bus is the easiest way to transfer between cities in Laos. The roads are filled with pot holes and its not uncommon to have a road destroyed by a land slide especially in monsoon season. It’s not always comfortable but it is the most efficient way to get from point A to point B. My Laos itinerary relies heavily on bus transportation.
- It is also possible to travel by boat in Laos.
- If you plan on traveling from Laos to Siem Reap read a step by step guide to getting across the border stress free. Tuk Tuks and Sawngthaews ( converted trucks with two benches in the back) are ways to get around town.
- ACCOMODATION :A bed in a dorm room will cost you anywhere from $3-7 dollars. A basic room with private bath and a/c will run you about $15-18 USD and a luxurious budget hotel will cost you $30 USD.
- AVERAGE DAILY COST: The cost of traveling Laos will run you about $40 dollars a day and thats living comfortably and not denying yourself pleasures.