Laos Off The Beaten Path

  • Ferry across the Mekong, PDR Lao.
    Ferry across the Mekong, PDR Lao.
    by planxty
  • Typical rural road, near Luang Prabang, Lao.
    Typical rural road, near Luang Prabang,...
    by planxty
  • Main office
    Main office
    by Twan

Laos Off The Beaten Path

  • Venture into the 'Heart of Darkness'...

    A trip down the Hinboun River, Laos, in a motorised canoe...pass into a world that is untouched by 'falang' (foreigners) and has a prehistoric presence that induces the feeling of being in 'Jurassic Park' or 'King Kong' (except luckily without the man-eating monsters themselves) - meet trees tangled in vines and smiley villagers who are keen to...

  • By canoe through 7 kilometres of...

    After a day's journey to reach the village of Kong Lor, we scrambled into thin motorised canoes for a half-hour journey to one of the most fabulous natural sights I’ve ever seen – the cave of Kong Lor. Switching on head-torches, the boat-men steered into its mouth: the light faded and we entered blackness. It was amazing to putter slowly through...

  • Whiskey village near the Plain of Jars

    Many villages in Laos produce rice whiskey called lao-lao. It is a potent drink containing 50-55 % alcohol. Taking into account how widespread this home production is , I was quite surprised not to meet drunken people. Do they have such strong heads?We visited a couple of whiskey villages while travelling in Laos. The one near Pak Ou Caves is...

  • Plain of Jars - a secret not solved

    Plain of jars is still mystifying archeologists. Thosands of stone jars from 1 to 3 metres high are scattered across many square kms. Some are upright, some leaning, some of them have a part resembling a lid. How old are they?, how did they get to this place?, what function did they have? - these questions are still not answered although some...

  • Phonsavan

    The provincial town of Phonsavan is in itself not especially interesting. What attracts visitors (who, by the way, don't come in large numbers) is the mysterious Plain of Jars in the town's vicinity.The centre of the town is basically one main street with dull buildings of no historical interest. Phonsavan was actually built in mid 70's to become a...

  • Bo Y - Attapeu

    This border has only been recently opened to foreigners. Laos will let you out OK, but don't turn up here if you don't already have a visa in your passport. I did, but it still took about 2 hours for them to process me. Where the Vietnamese side has a real building the Laos side has only a 3 sided wooden hut. Look for the red tablecloth. There is...

  • Tie one on

    I was honored with a “baci” ceremony where the two eldest males of the family supported my elbows with their fingers while all the women of the house tied strings on to my wrists. The custom is to keep them on until they fall off naturally. Not sure what the significance of the event was, but clearly I felt like the honored guest, especially when...

  • Hang out in a village

    Like many Lao villages, the ethnic Lao occupied the primer riverside farming land while the ethnic minorities were more upland in marginal lands. I didn’t visit them, but reportedly they were H’mong. The Laotians I did stay with made their way mostly with farming and sending to town a rapidly dwindling firewood supply. Some small river fishes...

  • Go upriver

    Luang Prabang is a jumping-off point for more remote northern Lao locations for trekking and the like. I only had a short visit there, but my time was mostly spent in Ban Hath Sa, a small village along the banks of the Nam Ou.Be prepared for a long-ish, bumpy ride from LP to the boat docks, and unless you’re taking one of the larger, more...

  • The people

    The great thing about travelling independently is the people you get to see and meet along your jounrey. We met some wonderfully friendly people throughout Laos.

  • Trekking with a difference

    Are you a cynical curmudgeon who has seen enough of the so-called "hilltribe trekking" in Thailand to know that you'd never do it again? Have you been put off by endless streams of scantilly clad tourists being herded through villages of "never before seen by Westerners" people who hide their TVs and put on their traditional costumes when the...

  • Wedding festival

    We came across this wedding festival also somewhere between LP & Phonsovan. According to our guide all the young people come to find a husband/wife. They spend 2 days at the festival. We wondered why they were all throwing oranges to each other again according to our guide if you like someone you throw the orange to them if they reciprocate it...

  • Local markets

    As we travelled from one destination to another we stopped at several local markets. Now these can be an eye opener and depending on how strong your stomach is can also be quite revolting. However, no matter what your thoughts on what or how they prepare their food etc they are always interesting places to visit. This market we stopped at was...

  • Dont miss Vang Vieng

    Between Luang Prabang and Veintainne is the best place in Laos, in my opinion, where you can relax, enjoy local culture, go caving or tubing, and most of all, enjoy the incredible scenery.

  • Cycling

    Not really off the beaten track, but interesting: Cycle the area around Vang Vieng. Rent a Chinese bicycle and not a mountain bike. The Chinese ones do not look very macho, but are much better quality.

  • The Luxury Bathrooms of Laos

    Well this is it the typical toilet. Let's say for girls it requires a lot of balance, and it is a leg workout. Behind the tile there is water and usually a pot or some sort of scooper to pour into the hole to flush it down. The water is also used by the locals to wash themselves after. This is why you should bring toilet paper and moist toweletts...

  • My Little Girl!

    We drove 13 hours through the countryside. We would stop along the way and look around. We met this cute little girl who I think is the most cutest thing I have ever seen in my life. We went back to the van and triend to find something to give her. My sister-in-law gave her some gum and I found some jelly beans and we gave them to her and then took...

  • Get to Muang Ngoi before it's too late

    This is one of the most charming towns in the world. There are only a few backpackers there. It is located on the Nam Ou river north of Luang Prabang. There are no roads and you can only get there by boat. It's a romantic journey back in time. Check out for more info.

  • Pakbeng

    This little village on the Mekong river is blessed with a magnificent river setting, above beautiful sandy bays and rock formations.It's absolutely dead and peaceful in the afternoon, but when the slow boats from Houay Xay arrive in the evening, travelers invade this place.

  • The Far North

    Before my trip to Laos, I read an online account of a couple's journey into the northern parts of Laos. They started off in the well-visited city of Luang Phabang and caught a riverboat up the Nam Ou passing through quiet villages such as Nong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi. The farther north they went, the more they experienced a place untouched by western...

  • Si Phan Don or Four Thousand Islands

    Straddling the border of Cambodia, this is as far south as you can get in Laos. This area is where the Mekong River, on its way south, is split into a 14-km wide web of islets, rocks and sandbars. The customs and traditions in this area have been passed down for generations, and is little affected by the recent French and American influences....

  • Across the Bolaven Plateau

    Made up of three remote provinces--Salavan, Xekong and Attapu--this area of the country is considered to be Laos' Wild East. Here you can see one of the greatest Khmer temples outside of Cambodia at the ruins of Wat Phou. Champsak is the gateway to this historic site, but the town itself is considered to be a relaxing stop off point, endowed with...

  • small villages

    There are many small villages all over Laos. From Luang Probang, you can reach them by tuk tuk, or by boat. Many times I was the only foriegner in these villages.

  • Shades of Old Lan Xang

    In 1353, Laos was unified as Lan Xang, the Kingdom of a Million Elephants and the White Parasol.During my visit, I only saw one elephant, in a sleepy village on the way to the Kwan Sy waterfalls near Luang Prabang.The falls themselves were hardly worth mentioning, but the drive and the villages along the way are captivating.

  • Everything is off the beaten path

    The scenery in Laos is its hallmark. Combining this with enchanting people you have a wonderful country

  • Wacky Van Vieng

    The road between Luang Prabang and Vientiane is all in hills and curves (and, occasionally, bandits, I hear).It is a fantastic landscape, but an uncomfortable ride.You should break it in half by staying the night in Van Vieng, a "Wild West" sort of place in the Far East.No temples here, no colonial houses. Just palms and cinder blocks, but you feel...

  • little visited villages offer some local...

    The village of Pak Au would be totally off the beaten path if it were not for the famous cave across the river. So, there are some souvenir stands of sorts near the dock. That said, there are not all that many tourists, especially when there is not a boat in from Luang Prabang. So, a nice way to visit a relatively unspoiled village is to take a...

  • Backpacker's journeys to Laos.

    Follow a backpacker's journeys to Laos, the serene country with thousands of monks. See the new year's parade and play with children along the river side.> View photo gallery34 pictures

  • Waterfall on the Bolaven Plateau

    The Tad Lo falls are the perfect place to relax after the long and strenuous bus trips from Vientiane to Southern Laos.It's just a nice spot to chill out and swim.To get there, take a Salavan bound bus from Pakse and tell the driver to let you off at Tad Lo. From the main road it's a 20 min walk to the falls.(also see accommodation tips)

  • Savannakhet

    The second largest town in Laos is a very charming, sleepy provincial town with crumbling French colonial houses under palm trees.It's a convenient stop-over on the way to Southern Laos, 7 hours by bus south of Vientiane and 6 hours north of Pakse. I don't think there are any outstanding sights in town, but it's such a wonderful, peaceful place on...

  • Champasak

    Champasak is a sleepy village on the shores of the Mekong. The place itself is very nice and it kind of felt like being in an old French colonial movie.The main attraction, however, Wat Phu Champasak, is 8 km out of town.See travelogue!

  • Don't miss the South

    Most people head to the N of Laos for their vacation. Wat Phou Champasak in the South is a very cool Khmer ruin site to visit. Not as elaborate as Angkor Wat but still a charm to lovers of ruins. Located in Champasak which is around 35km S of Pakse and on the opposite side of the Mekong. Can be visited in half day from Pakse or you can stay in...

  • Muang Sing/Hilltribe Villages

    Muang Sing lies in a wide plain near the Chinese border.It's a small place that is quite popular with travelers due to the many hilltribe villages in the region.Muang Sing's market is very busy and interesting.In order to harmonize the small tourist boom here with the environment and the hill tribes, there are only a limited amount of treks...

  • Luang Nam Tha

    This is a remote and not very exciting provincial town. It's the first stop for travelers coming from Huay Xay on their way to Muang Sing.I rented a bicycle for the day to explore the surrounding area. There's supposed to be a waterfall near town but i didn't find it.However, cycling through the villages is pleasant enough and there's also a mildly...

  • A picture says a thousand words

    Anywhere in Laos can be classed as off the beaten track. The country is so laid back it would put Australians to shame.

  • Udomxay

    You would never guess that Udomxay is the country's biggest town north of Vientiane.It's not much more than a big, sleepy village with a nice market and a relaxed atmosphere.And it's a good place to spend the night on your way to or from Luang Prabang.When the red sun sets over the river, it gives you a wonderful feeling of peace and warmth.

  • The plains of jars is more than just...

    I was especially impressed by the region Xieng Khouang because it's entirely different from the rest of Laos. Of course it has jars, but as well breathtaking plains, tropical jungle, ethnical minorities (black Thai, Mong, Mon-khmer villages, ...), civil war going on(altough you don't notice it except a high rate of military presence), recent war...

  • On the road

    Going from Luan Prabang to Vientanne by bus, you will meet so many villages and small towns, I was really happy that I did not fly as I would have missed another precious peace of this wonderful country.

  • Floating gas pumps

    After a few hours of boat, my driver was stopping and, thinking that he wanted me to visit a village, I was saying no thanks, when I saw that he was stopping and waiting next to some other boats and I could not understand what he was doing untill our turn arrived and we could get the motor filled up!

  • everywhere

    Laos can be considered an off the beaten path destination itself, this does not mean that you won't find tourists, but that you will not find a touristic country full of exchange office, travel agencies, street vendors exc.

  • Wildlife

    Although I saw a lot of jungle and nature in Laos, I hardly saw any wildlife. Well, I just saw cities and didn't go into the woods, so I imagine that if you do a jungle trail you will see some interesting animals.All I saw was this incredibly green spider, about 5 cms, that was threatening me from a bamboo stick!!!

  • away into the green

    there's a place called Lao Pako, about 1.5hrs away from Vientiane. It is a little getaway from the city. Most travellers go to Vang Vieng as it is on the way to Luang Prabang, the next biggest thing developing rapidly after the capital.Lao Pako has a preservation forest situated opposite a resort that some rich swede (i think) developed. Quite...

  • Vang Vieng: Off the beaten & a tourist...

    Crossing the huge airstrip left from the mid-70's, Vang Vieng has a bit of a boom town look to it. I liked the bungalow I got on the left side of the runway, immaculate and inexpensive. I will try to find a map that shows the name so I can post it below. Anyway, VV is a bit of a traveler haven now, with tons of us wandering all over the place...

  • Meeting With Some Laotian Motorcycle...

    After I and an Italian guy ( the man with black glasses) just came to Laos from Cambodia overland, we met with some young Laotian travellers who came from Vientiane to travel in the south of Laos by motorcycle on No. 13 highway. My Italian companion was so excited when he looked at them driving a kind of Italy-made motorcyle which had a strange and...

  • Vang Vieng

    It is a Lime Stone Karst area full of caves to wonder.The village is on the way between luang Phraban and Vientiane. It is a good stop in between to shorten the distance and time on bus between the two cities. the place offers you a lot of activities, hiking, speleology, cycling, water rafting and other adventure sportrs.


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