2 Weeks in Laos: Sample Itineraries

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Luang Prabang Morning Alms

2 Weeks in Laos: Sample Itineraries

In our newest addition to our popular Itineraries series, we have put together two fantastic itineraries to help you decide where to go and what to see while spending 2 weeks in Laos. This country often overlooked by other travellers who opt to skip it in favour of the spending more time in either Thailand or Cambodia which have traditionally bigger tourist draws such as palm fringed beaches or Angkor Wat. To skip this country is absolutely ludicrous to us given how much Laos has to offer to the traveller.

This country is blessed with stunning karst mountain ranges, jaw dropping waterfalls and the most beautiful temples in all of Southeast Asia.  This country is also carving out a niche as Southeast Asia’s premier eco-tourism destination which is already paying dividends for them. This country suffered some terrible growing pains (namely Vang Vieng) attempting to become party central like Thailand which of course didn’t fit with the culture or the people of Laos.

Why should you travel here?

How does kayaking with dolphins in the Mekong sound? How about exploring ruins that pre-date Angkor Wat or witnessing the largest collection of monks collecting alms in Asia? What about speeding along an underground river through a mountain tunnel in a long boat? How about zip-lining with gibbons and then staying in a treehouse?

Sounds great doesn’t it!

Up first will be our 2 week itinerary focusing on the major highlights of Laos while the second one focuses a little more on the “off the beaten path” natural beauty of the country.

If you are lucky enough to have more than 2 weeks in Laos, you can always combine these two itineraries into one if you’d like to tackle the entire country in a month.

These sample itineraries are just a guide and depending on what type of traveller you are, you can modify these to suit your own style.

Figured out your budget yet for Laos? Let us help you with our post, “What to Budget for Laos”.

Let’s begin!

2 Weeks in Laos

Itinerary One – “The Highlights”

– Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Kong Lor, Plain of Jars, Champasak, Vientiane

Days 1-3: Luang Prabang

  • Find your accommodations, acclimatize yourself to the new time zone and the fact you are now in Southeast Asia or that you’ve arrived into another country on your journey.
  • Rent a bicycle and spend the day temple hopping through some of the prettiest temples in all of Southeast Asia.
  • At night, check out the awesome market in the centre of town where you stuff yourself on amazing bbq, papaya salad, oreo shakes and so much more!
  • Wake up the next morning bright an early to take in the spectacle which is the morning alms of the monks.
  • Walk to the top of Mount Phousi to take in a gorgeous sunset during the evening.
  • While in Luang Prabang practice your haggling skills with the street vendors and tuk-tuk drivers as Vietnam works on the bartering system. Use HCMC as a warm up for the rest of your travels in Luang Prabang and Asia. Make sure to check out our post on Haggling Like a Pro so that you can haggle with the best of them during your trip.

Where we stayed: Khammany Inn Guesthouse – $5 USD per night (private room)

Elephant head mosaic Laos

Days 4-6: Vang Vieng

  • Vang Vieng  has transitioned from one the craziest party places in Southeast Asia to a fantastic chill out spot quite nicely.
  • Rent a bicycle and head out for a half day exploring the beautiful countryside before finishing it off with a refreshing dip in the blue lagoon.
  • Spend the evening (or more!) chilling out at one of the many bars in town playing Friends, Family Guy or Simpsons on a 24 hour loop. Great place to relax and meet other travellers.
  • Head out early to rent an inner tube, head to the mouth of the river and then slowly float down the river with your favourite bevy in hand.

Where we stayed: Jaimee Guesthouse – $6.50 USD per night (private room)

Friends bar Vang Vieng

Days 6-7: Kong Lor

  • Arrive early into town, drop off your stuff at your guesthouse and head down the road to the Kong Lor Caves. Once there you pay a flat fee which includes your entrance fee, boat, driver and headlamps. Get ready for for a once in a lifetime experience flying zipping through a mountain cave in the dark in a tiny little speed boat!

Make sure to check out our post on why boating through Kong Lor beats all other underground rivers in Southeast Asia.

Where we stayed: Eco-Lodge – $5 USD per night (private room)

Kong lor cave

Day 8-9: Phonsavan, “Plain of Jars”

  • Spend the day checking out one of the greatest mysteries in all of Southeast Asia, the Plain of Jars. Here there are thousands of megalithic jars spread all around the Xieng Khouang plateau dating back to the Iron Age (500 BC).

Where to stay: Khemphonelor II Guesthouse – $8 USD per night (private room)

plain-of-jars-525

Photo credit: National Geographic

Days 10-12: Champasak

  • Spend a full day bicycling from town to the ancient ruins of Champasak which actually pre-date Ankor Wat but with only a fraction of the tourists!

Where we stayed: Dok Champa– $5 USD per night (private room)

Temple Champasak

Day 13-14: Vientiane

  • Try and get to one of the guided meditation classes put on by monks at a few temples in town for free for anyone who is interested in learning.
  • Spend a few hours at the COPE Visitor Centre (rated #1 thing to do in Vientiane) where you can learn about how this organization is helping victims of land mines in Laos left over during the Vietnam war.

Where we stayed: Siri Guesthouse – $8 USD per night (private room)

COPE Visitor Centre

Time to head home of off to your next destination!

Itinerary Two – “A Bit Off the Beaten Path”

– Don Dhet (4000 Islands), Champasak, Kong Lor, Pakse, Tad Lo, Vientiane, Luang Prabang

Days 1-3: Don Dhet (4000 Islands) 

  • If you’re starting in the 4000 Islands you’ve more than likely done a border crossing from Cambodia. Find yourself a guesthouse in your price range. Do make sure to check out the guesthouses on the other side of the island from the main port as they tend to be a bit cheaper.
  • Book a kayaking with dolphins tour once your settled for the following day. On the tour you’ll have the amazing opportunity to kayak the Mekong River alongside pink river dolphins.

Where we stayed: Sunset Bar – $5 USD per night (private room)

4000 islands

Days 4-5: Champasak

  • Spend a full day bicycling from town to the ancient ruins of Champasak which actually pre-date Ankor Wat but with only a fraction of the tourists!

Where we stayed: Dok Champa– $5 USD per night (private room)

Champasak Temple

Days 6-8: Pakse, Tad Lo

  • Rent a motorbike in Pakse and spend the next couple of days motorbiking through the stunning landscapes of the Bolaven Plateau.
  • Check out the cute little town of Tad Lo which is blessed with friendly locals, cute little guesthouses and gorgeous waterfalls.

Where we stayed: Palamei Guesthouse (Tad Lo) – $6.50 USD per night (private room)

Washing elephant laos

Days 9-10: Kong Lor

  • Arrive early into town, drop off your stuff at your guesthouse and head down the road to the Kong Lor Caves. Once there you pay a flat fee which includes your entrance fee, boat, driver and headlamps. Get ready for for a once in a lifetime experience zipping through a mountain cave in the dark in a tiny little speed boat!
  • Make sure to check out our post on why boating through Kong Lor beats all other underground rivers in Southeast Asia.

Where we stayed: Eco-Lodge – $5 USD per night (private room)

Cave Laos

Day 11: Vientiane

  • Try and get to one of the guided meditation classes put on by monks at a few temples in town for free for anyone who is interested in learning.
  • Spend a few hours at the COPE Visitor Centre (rated #1 thing to do in Vientiane) where you can learn about how this organization is helping victims of land mines in Laos left over during the Vietnam war.

Where we stayed: Siri Guesthouse – $8 USD per night (private room)

Day 12-14: Luang Prabang

  • Find your accommodations, acclimatize yourself to the new time zone and the fact you are now in Southeast Asia or that you’ve arrived into another country on your journey.
  • Rent a bicycle and take the day temple hopping through some of the prettiest temples in all of Southeast Asia.
  • At night, check out the awesome market in the centre of town where you can enjoy amazing bbq, papaya salad and so much more and all for dirt cheap!
  • Wake up the next morning bright an early to take in the spectacle which is the morning alms of the monks.
  • Walk to the top of Mount Phousi to take in a gorgeous sunset during the evening.

Where we stayed: Khammany Inn Guesthouse – $5 USD per night (private room)

Luang Prabang temple

Optional Addition to Your Itinerary: Zip-lining with Gibbons

We didn’t end up doing the famous Gibbon Experience where you get to zip-line in the same trees as gibbons and then stay in a treehouse as we had done something similar in Costa Rica. However, we know others who have and they loved it so if you have the budget (you’re looking at a few hundred USD each) then make sure to fit in as I’m sure you’ll never forget it.

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Wrapping Up

Laos is a country that offers so much return on investment to the backpacker who is willing to travel a bit off the main “Banana Pancake Trail.” In fact, many travellers we’ve met during our year in Asia maintain that Laos was their favourite country in all of Southeast Asia and it’s easy to see why.

With stunning natural landscapes, hospitable locals, remarkable temples and ruins and a burgeoning eco-tourism industry, this country has something for pretty much everyone.

I hope these sample itineraries for 2 weeks in Laos have helped you plan out your next adventure and that you’re feeling prepared and inspired tackle this wonderful country.

If you enjoyed this post please like and share as that would mean a lot to us.

Cheers,

Ross & Alyse


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Ross

Lover of travel, photography, nature, movies, and nachos. If you love Star Wars and Lord of the Rings we'll probably become best friends.
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