We made the deliberate choice to stick fairly firmly to the tourist trail in Laos. We wanted an easy few weeks and made the decision to primarily stay in only 3 areas during nearly a whole month. Laos is a beautiful country and the destinations are endless. You can jungle trek in the north, marvel at the bizarre Plain of Jars, motorbike through the Bolaven Plateau or relax in the 4000 islands.

We spent our time visiting Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane, not hugely intrepid but we had a great time and still got a good feel for the country. Laos is much more laid back than many of its South East Asian neighbours. The people are a lot more reserved, although no less friendly and with the most beautiful smiles. There isn’t the constant beeping and traffic noise that you find elsewhere and in most areas an up at dawn, early night culture prevails.

 

Gorgeous colours on the banks of the Nam Song, Vang Vieng

Gorgeous colours on the banks of the Nam Song, Vang Vieng

 

Stats for Laos

 

26 days on the road, our budget was £40 (474,182 Kip) per day.

 

£28.43  (337,024 Kip)   TOTAL spend per day

£10.14  (120,192 Kip)    per day on accommodation

£9.69    (114,961 Kip)    per day on food

£3.48    (41,346 Kip)     per day on transport

£2.47    (29,384 Kip)     per day on activities

 

We were under-budget by £300.82 which is pretty incredible. Laos is exceptionally good value for money and the savings on accommodation and food really helped us save for our Vietnam budget which needed to be considerably higher.

 

Luang Prabang from the top of Mount Phousi

Luang Prabang from the top of Mount Phousi

Where we slept

 

26 nights in guesthouses – all of our nights in Laos were spent in guesthouses and they were of a very high standard for the price we paid. We had a/c, satellite t.v and the comfiest beds in the whole of South East Asia.

 

 

Top experiences in Laos

 

Kuang Si Waterfalls

 

A short journey from Luang Prabang lies the beautiful collection of waterfalls known as Kuang Si. We visited at the end of the dry season, which actually produces much more dramatic tiers of the falls, and spent a lovely morning wandering through the jungle and cooling off in the icy pools.

 

Kuang Si Waterfalls

Kuang Si Waterfalls

Yoga in Luang Prabang

 

This is going to sound strange as you can do yoga anywhere but it was so much fun attending classes overlooking a river from an open deck. It really helped to calm us both down and it was great to have the routine of going to classes. If you’re ever in the area I highly recommend it.

 

Our afternoon at the Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng

 

The Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng is about 20 minutes away from town along a dusty road. We visited to clamber up the rocks and explore the enormous Tham Phu Kham cave at the same site. After returning to solid ground, extremely hot and sweaty, the Blue Lagoon was the perfect way to relax.

 

Paul leaping off the top branch at the Blue Lagoon, Vang Vieng

Paul leaping off the top branch at the Blue Lagoon, Vang Vieng

Kayaking down the Nam Song

 

Paul and I have spent a ridiculous amount of time on this trip kayaking, I don’t know why because every time we do we end up bickering about everything we’re doing wrong! Despite this we keep going back for more and laugh about some of the scrapes we’ve gotten into. On the Nam Song we ended up hitting what felt like every rock in the river and going down a few rapids sideways!

 

Giving of the alms - Luang Prabang

Giving of the alms – Luang Prabang

Sure, we could have done more with our time but it was exactly what we needed, a break from faster paced travel to deal with burn out and just enjoy the quiet for a few weeks. We’ve not visited anywhere quite so laid back as Laos so it was the perfect place to do just that.

 

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14 Responses

  1. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)

    Given the rough past few weeks we have been having, perhaps we should have headed to Laos after all! There is so much that we want to see, do and EAT here in Thailand that even though I think we would probably really benefit from a week or two just vegging somewhere very low-key, it’s hard to keep ourselves from pushing onward when there are just so many things just a train ride away! The low cost of living certainly doesn’t hurt either, though I have to say that even in Bangkok I am finding Thailand to be much cheaper in most respects than Cambodia… it still boggles my mind! 😀
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..The Shadow of My FearMy Profile

    Reply
    • Maddie

      I really think you guys need to pick a spot and just stop. It’s so tempting to always keep moving but sometimes you just need a break, ours was simply from travel burn out but you and Tony need it to recoup from the last few weeks. I’m really hoping things pick up for you guys soon, it’s ridiculous to have so much bad luck in such a short space of time, you won’t be due any for at least a year now! My vote would be for either Bangkok or Chiang Mai if you want a slower pace.

      Completely on board with Cambodia being expensive, food and lodging have been the big ones for us and we are stunned at the difference between here and Laos or Vietnam!

      Reply
    • Maddie

      Glad to be of help 🙂 I would thoroughly recommend Laos for a break from the rest of the bustling SE Asia scene, it was wonderful!

      Reply
  2. laura

    Can’t imagine you and Paul on a boat being pretty… Would have been a good way to cash in on the life insurance though! Can’t wait to read the UK round up!!

    Reply
    • Maddie

      Yeah, you think we’d have gotten used to it by now but we still keep bickering every single time. Can’t wait to enjoy the UK round-up!! 🙂

      Reply
    • Veronique

      I personnaly love the pictures and black and white / orange ones more particularly. I just stands out so well. Laos is fantastic, I live on Koh Chang island in Thailand but every time I want to look for autenticity I make a trip to Laos, the countryside is one of the nicest I’ve seen in my life of traveller.
      Veronique recently posted..[email protected] started the topic Best western restaurant on Klong prao? in the forum Restaurants and Food on Koh ChangMy Profile

      Reply
      • Maddie

        Thanks Veronique! The colours of the monks robes were stunning, all the different shades walking on down the street. It definitely had authenticity and a much more relaxed feeling compared to anywhere else in South East Asia.

    • Maddie

      We were blown away by what out budget could buy us, we really felt like we were living the life of luxury the whole time we were in Laos. Enjoy the rest of it, I know you will 🙂

      Reply
    • Maddie

      Hey Carmel, we signed up just for classes. They were doing a great off season deal of by 4 and get the 5th free, it’s only about $5 per class anyway! Luang Prabang Yoga also run retreats and the instructors are a great bunch of both local and international folks. It was also a great way to meet people http://www.luangprabangyoga.org Highly recommended!

      Reply
  3. sabretoothedchickenstour

    Who doesn’t fall in love with Luang Prabang. A magical, innocent country. Thanks Maddie for bringing back fond memories of Laos.

    We hope to return one day to explore the South.

    Reply
    • Maddie

      It was a lovely time, the perfect place to take a complete break from travel. We too hope to visit the south one day 🙂

      Reply

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