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Laos is a relatively small country, just half the size of Thailand. It is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia with Vietnam to the east, Thailand to the west, Cambodia to the south, and China to the north.

Given there is no access to the ocean, there are no beaches or island hopping trips to be made here. However, what Laos may lack as a coastline it more than makes up for with its landscapes, people, and culture.

Traveling through much of Laos is like visiting Thailand 50 years ago before tourism boomed. The country is far less developed, sees just a fraction of the tourists, and is still incredibly cheap.

Expect to find ancient cities packed with Buddhist temples like Luang Prabang, or a twist of French Colonialism in Vientiane. Then there are the dense jungles hiding stunning emerald waterfalls like the Kuang Si Falls, or remote ethnic villages that most travelers don’t get to see.

How Long to spend in Laos? If you want to see the whole of Laos, six weeks is ideal. At an absolute minimum, you can do half the country in two weeks.

I commonly think of Laos in two halves; north and south of Vientiane. If you’re limited on time, take your pick and go one way or the other.

Getting Off the Beaten Track. You can get really far from the tourist trail in Laos. I have spent days exploring deep into the jungle meeting with ethnic villagers, many of whom had never met westerners. The best way to do so is to hire a motorbike with off-road tires in Luang Namtha or Muang Sing.

Visas. Travelers of most nationalities require a tourist visa to enter Laos. You can easily arrange your 30 day visa on arrival at a border crossing point or airport. Fees vary for visitors from different countries but are up to USD 50. Always bring USD.

Tourist visa extensions can be made in Laos at the Department of Immigration.

Where to go in Laos? This Laos travel guide contains loads of information for your trip. Below you will find some travel highlights, loads of detailed blog posts, and an easy to use travel map among other useful resources.


Blog Posts on Laos

Laos Travel Map

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