Laos Travel, Backpacking & Gap Year Guide
Laos has spectacular nature and scenery, the country is also relatively untouched from globalization and you are guaranteed an authentic experience. Get information, advice and inspiration for the best things to do if you would like to travel, go backpacking or take a gap year in Laos.
Laos Travel Ideas, Backpacking Trips & Gap Year Programs
Travel to Laos
If you would like to go travelling or backpacking in Laos expect friendly locals, spectacular waterfalls, tasty cuisine and lots of amazing activities.
Travel to Laos with One World 365 and search our amazing activities. View travel advice on our guide including tips for places to go, the best packages available and get information about costs, accommodation, transport, health and safety and how to visit Laos on a budget.
- Capital: Vientiane (population 700,000 approx)
- Currency: Kip (LAK)
- Population: 6,690,000 (approx)
- Language: Lao + French + local languages
- International Dailing Code: +856
- Country Area: 236,000 km2
How to Get to Laos
Laos is landlocked by Thailand, Myanmar, China, Vietnam and Cambodia and there are lots of border crossings making getting there easy. Most people book flights into Thailand or Vietnam and then either cross by land or an internal flight.
Top Places to Visit in Laos
- Vang Vieng
- Luang Prabang
- Bokeo Nature Reserve
- Nong Kiau
- Tham Kong Lo
- Luang Namtha
- Wat Phu
- Si Phan Don
Travelling & Backpacking in Laos
Laos is also less touristy than it's South-East Asian neighbours which means there are more opportunities to get off the beaten track and escape the crowds. Laos may look tiny on a map but this country packs quite a punch.
This country is one of the most up and coming destinations in Asia and rightly so, if you visit you will leave with fond memories of the people, culture and sightseeing attractions. If you are planning a holiday to Laos our unique trips will appeal to you. Whether you are a solo traveller, departing with friends or your family we have incredible vacations where you will be able to experience the vesy best places in the country. We have Laos holidays from the leading local and international specialist travel operators where you will get an authentic experience like no other.
One of the must-see destinations in Laos is the beautiful town of Luang Prabang which was named the ‘best preserved city in South East Asia’ by UNESCO. There are many amazing sights in the area, such as the thousands of orange clad monks and their huge number of ornate temples and monasteries.
You could go in search of adventure, enjoy sightseeing, join local activities, learn more about the culture or book a special interest break. One of the best things about Laos is you will get a much more authentic experience than other places in this continent - there are less tourists than going to visit other destinations in the region and big multinational companies do not operate within Laos.
Gap Year in Laos
Laos is an up and coming destination for people on gap years in Asia, there are lots of programs and travel opportunities available all year round.
You could take a gap year in Laos and volunteer working with communities or just travel to discover the country for yourself. You can make a huge difference on a gap year in South-East Asia working with local youngsters bringing lots of fun and laughter to their lives. You could join a gap year trip and travel from the North to South and visit the four thousand islands which is a remote region on the border with relaxing guest houses and beauty spots. We recommend going tubing in Vang Vien or explore the stunning city of Luang Prabang.
Vang Vien is a popular backpacker hangout, you can float down the river on a ruber ring which is the main attraction and a relaxing way to spend an afternoon. Visiting the Gibbon Experience in the North of the country is one of the highlights of the country, this is an area set up to protect wildlife and the forest where you can stay in tree houses which are connected by zip lines. This is a magical way to spend a few days and we can't think of anywhere else in the world which compares, you will need to book spaces in advance.
Laos Travel Tips
Are you thinking about going backpacking or travelling in Laos? Check out our top tips:
- If you are on a budget then pubic transport is the best way to get around but not always the most comfortable
- The gibbon conservation experience in Northern Laos is one of the best things you will ever do
- Go tubing in Vang Vien, this is a really surreal but amazing experience
- Only spend limited time in Vientiane, there are more things to do in other areas of the country
- We have lots of combination trips available where you can see more of Asia
- In Luang Pra Bang be sure to climb the hill in the centre of the city for sunrise or sunset where there is a spectacular view
- Visiting the 4000 islands very isolated go here to get away from everywhere, this is very unspolied by tourism
- We recommend catching a river boat taxi, this is more expensive than taking a bus but it's a lot more scenic and relaxing
- We highly recommend adding Luang Prabang to the top of the list of the places you should see.
Health & Safety
Laos is one of the friendliest countries to visit in Asia but there are lots of things to consider before departing. A first aid kit should always be taken no matter if you think you won't use it, you will also need to visit your local healthcare provider to check what vaccinations are needed. Ask yourself do you really need to take an expensive computer like a Macbook Air, watch or iPhone? Sometimes you run the risk of these things breaking or getting stolen so we recommend only taking a cheap electronics.
Try not to pack all your valuables in once place, try to mix it up and put some in your bag / suitcare and carry some on you. Most cases of theft tend to happen on buses or in hostels and if you are really worried about safety you could buy a money belt, these look like a normal belt but have a secret compartment where you can keep money. We recommend not drinking too much alcohol, or be very careful accepting drinks and cigarettes from other travellers this might be drugged in extreme cases. A lot of problems happen due to drink, if you are sensible you shouldn't encounter any problems.