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10 Top Tourist Attractions in Laos

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Looking for the must-visit tourist attractions in Laos? This article will give you a hand.

It is a hidden and diverse country that spoils tourists with plenty of top-rated attractions. You will immerse yourself into the natural beauty of Kuang Si Waterfalls and 4000 Islands, take a scenic cruise along the Mekong River to explore the Pak Ou Caves, sip the freshly-brewed Laotian coffee and learn ethnic culture at Bolaven Plateau, trace the life of Laos king in Royal Palace Museum, look into local’s life while visiting a night market in Luang Prabang, adventure to the Plain of Jars to witness the megalithic archaeological landscape and thousands of stone jars, visit many UNESCO-protected Buddhist sites for a better understanding of a Buddhist-majority country. And there is so much more in this enchanting country.

To help, here is our list of top Laos attractions.

1. Kuang Si Waterfalls in Luang Prabang

A natural landmark in Laos, Kuang Si Waterfalls is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the country with a 50-meter drop. It is a three-tiered waterfall cascading down through the limestone jungles, and discharging into a series of turquoise pools. It is possible to refresh yourself in the pools or take some great photos of the milky blue water. Walking along the trails around the waterfalls, you will marvel at stunning views from a small wooden bridge, enjoy exciting hiking near the peaceful trickle of flowing water, find some picnic tables and savor your mid-afternoon snack among the picturesque scenery.

Kuangsi Waterfall in Luang Prabang
Kuangsi Waterfall in Luang Prabang

2. Sinouk Coffee along the Bolaven Plateau

Close to the crater of an ancient volcano, the Bolaven Plateau in Southern Laos is over 1300 meters above sea level. It is home to various ethnic groups, and is endowed with cooler temperatures, a thriving coffee plantation, and an amazing waterfall.

A can’t-miss experience in Bolaven Plateau is to visit the Sinouk Coffee plantation where you will learn about the process of planting and roasting coffee, observe the coffee roasting steps, see how workers their dry beans in an old-fashioned way, and sip freshly–brewed Laotian coffee.

Bolaven Plateau coffee plantation
Bolaven Plateau coffee plantation

3. Pha That Luang in Vientiane

The national monument and symbol of Laos, Pha That Luang is a gold-covered temple that can be traced back to the 16th century. The main pagoda towering 45 meters high comprises three levels which are surrounded by 30 small stupas, symbolizing three Buddhism realms and the 30 perfections of Buddhist teaching.

Around the main pagoda, you can also find other different Buddhist structures and temples, including a statue of the former Lao king, and the temples of Wat That Luang Nuea and Wat That Luang Tai with red roofs and gold facades.

Pha That Luang in Vientiane
Pha That Luang

4. COPE Visitor Center in Vientiane

Laos is a heavily bombed country during the American secret war, with much unexploded ordnance (UXO) left which still wound and threatens the safety of local people nowadays. The COPE (Cooperative Orthotic & Prosthetic Enterprise) is a local association that works to help landmine victims by providing them with artificial limbs, walking aids, and wheelchairs.

In its Visitor Center, you will see some informative multimedia exhibits about prosthetics and the UXO, get an in-depth understanding of the American/Vietnam war and learn how the unexploded ordinances (UXO) impact the area.

Exhibitions in COPE Visitor Center Laos
Exhibitions in COPE Visitor Center

5. Buddha Park in Vientiane

The Buddha Park, aka Xiang Khuan, with over 200 concrete statues of different sized and shaped Buddhist and Hindu figures, offers great strolling and photo opportunities. It must be seen to be believed. All the statues are in giant size, and carved with lots of details. The most outstanding ones include a 130-foot reclining Buddha, a two-headed elephant, a four-armed deity riding a horse, and the Hindu god.

6. Royal Palace Museum in Luang Prabang

Once the residence of King Sisavang Vong in the French colonial era, the Royal Palace (aka National Museum) then served as a museum since 1995. It is the place to look into the life of the Laos king and his family, and trace Lao’s history in the 1930s. A visit here will introduce you to a wealth of interesting artifacts, including royal religious objects, centuries-old weapons, statues, screens, and paintings.

7. Luang Prabang Night Market

The night market in Luang Prabang is jammed with vendors selling everything of daily uses. This is the main point for local snacks, handicrafts, and kitchen shopping. Visitors can follow the local crowds to seek a handmade scarf, rice vodka, a cup of coffee, and restaurants popular among locals. There is no better choice than the night market to get close to the real life of locals.

For those early-birds, Luang Prabang Morning Market is also a good option to find various local breakfast options and to start your day.

8. Pak Ou Caves

A religious site overlooking the Mekong River, the Pak Ou Buddha Caves is nestled on the striking limestone cliff which is only reachable by a scenic cruise along the Mekong River. Once enter the caves, you will see over 4000 Buddha statues in different sizes and shapes. It is said that the caves can date back to thousands of years ago, and has been used as a place of worship for centuries. And now it is one of the most respected holy sites and a favorite day-outing for international tourists.

Pak Ou Caves in Luang Prabang Laos
Buddha statues in Pak Ou Caves

Recommended Itinerary

9. Si Phan Don (4000 Islands)

A riverine archipelago in south Laos, Si Phan Don (meaning 4000 Islands in Lao) is actually part of Mekong River, comprising of a series of beautiful islets. The islands here often see less tourists and will offer you a chance to explore rural views and stunning waterfalls of the country. During a trip to Si Phan Don, you can expect to swim in the amazingly clear water, see a number of locomotives and port from the French colonial period, relax on a beach and try some locals, enjoy leisure cycle around the islands, go dolphin watching, etc.

Panoramic view of Si Phan Don (4000 Islands) in Laos
Panoramic view of Si Phan Don

10. Plain of Jars

A famous cultural and historical attraction in northeastern Laos, the mysterious Plain of Jars is actually a huge archaeological complex with stone jars of over 2000 years old and different sizes (from 70cm up to 3 or 4 meters) scattered around the upland valleys and the lower foothills. There is still no exact answer to the origin of the stone jars. Some research suggests that they may be related to some prehistoric burial practices.

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