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Top Laos Attractions

Mountainous, landlocked Laos has long been isolated from the outside world. A visit to Laos often feels like a trip back in time. The laid-back lifestyle has disappeared elsewhere in the region; even the capital Vientiane feels like a relaxed riverfront town.

10. Vieng Xai
This extensive network of caves served as a hideout during the Vietnam War for the Communist army. Up to 23,000 people lived in the caves, which contained a hospital, military barracks, bakeries, shops and even a theater.

9. Pak Ou Caves
North of Luang Prabang on the Mekong River, these caves can be reached by road or river boat. They are famous for hundreds of miniature wooden Buddha sculptures, laid out over the wall shelves.

8. Wat Phu
Wat Phu (or Vat Phou) is a ruined Khmer temple complex located at the base of mount Phu Kao. The Hindu temple structures date from the 11th to 13th centuries. Wat Phu is small compared with Angkor Wat in Cambodia, but the temple is still in use today.

7. Pha That Luang
Located in Vientiane, Pha That Luang (“Great Stupa in Lao”) is one of Laos’s most important monuments. The stupa has several levels, each representing a different stage of Buddhist enlightenment from the material world to the world of nothingness. Pha That Luang was built in the 16th century on the ruins of an earlier Khmer temple, destroyed by a Siamese invasion in 1828, then later reconstructed by the French in 1931.

6. Wat Xieng Thong
Wat Xieng Thong is Luang Prabang’s most magnificent temple. Built in 1560 by King Setthathirath, it contains a rare reclining Buddha statue from that era.

5. Plain of Jars
The Plain of Jars is a large area around the town of Phonsavan, where huge jars of unknown origin are scattered around the landscape. Hewn out of rock and undecorated, the jars were likely used in the context of prehistoric burial practices.

4. Si Phan Don
Si Phan Don (“4,000 islands”) is a picturesque cluster of islands on the Mekong River in Southern Laos. The three principal islands that cater to tourists are Don Det, Don Khon and Done Kong. Most of the lodging available on Don Det and Don Khon consists of family-run bungalows. You can explore by renting a bike or kayak or just walking around.

3. Vang Vieng
This riverside town is located in central Laos, a four-hour bus ride north of the capital. The main street is heavily touristed but the dramatic karst hill landscape surrounding Vang Vieng is certainly worth exploring. Rock climbers will love the limestone mountains, while the many unexplored tunnels and caverns are a spelunker’s dream. Floating along the Nam Song river in a inner tube is also a popular activity.

2, Mekong River
The Mekong is Southeast Asia’s longest river with an estimated length of 4,350 km (2,703 miles) and Laos actually has the largest share of the Mekong River, which serves as the major means of transportation through this mountainous country. The Upper Mekong in Laos is considered one of the most stunning journeys of the entire river. Board a boat in Huay Xai at the border with northern Thailand and ride along the river to Luang Prabang.

1. Luang Prabang
One of the most charming cities in Southeast Asia, Luang Prabang was the royal capital of Laos until the Communists took over in 1975. Golden-roofed temples, wooden houses and crumbling French provincial buildings provide for an interesting stroll.

Reference: Vietnam Laos Tour

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