Must-see attractions in Laos

  • Wat Xieng thong temple at twilight time in Luang Pra bang, Laos.
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    Wat Xieng Thong

    Luang Prabang

    Luang Prabang's best-known monastery is centred on a 1560 sǐm (ordination hall). Its roofs sweep low to the ground and there's a stunning 'tree of life'…

  • Vieng Xai Caves

    Northern Laos

    Joining a truly fascinating 18-point tour is the only way to see Vieng Xai's seven most important war-shelter cave complexes, set in beautiful gardens…

  • Vat Phou or Wat Phu in Champasak, Southern Laos.

    Wat Phu Champasak

    Southern Laos

    Bucolic Wat Phu sits in graceful decrepitude, and while it lacks the arresting enormity of Angkor in Cambodia, given its few visitors and more dramatic…

  • Sunset view over the city from Mount Phousi, a sacred mountain located in the heart of the former capital of Laos.

    Phu Si

    Luang Prabang

    Dominating the old city centre and a favourite with sunset junkies, the 100m-tall Phu Si (prepare your legs for a steep 329-step ascent) is crowned by a…

  • Tat Kuang Si Waterfalls

    Tat Kuang Si


    Thirty kilometres southwest of Luang Prabang, Tat Kuang Si is a many-tiered waterfall tumbling over limestone formations into a series of cool, swimmable…

  • VIENTIANE, LAOS - NOVEMBER 05: A collection of artificial lower legs at COPE, the documentation and rehabilitation centre for the victims of landmines and cluster munitions, on  November 05, 2012 in Vientiane, Laos. (Photo by Thomas Imo/Photothek via Getty Images)

    COPE Visitor Centre


    Laos has the dubious distinction of being the most bombed country on earth, and although the American War in neighbouring Vietnam ended more than 40 years…

  • Pha That Luang Stupa National Monument

    Pha That Luang


    Svelte and golden Pha That Luang, located about 4km northeast of the city centre, is the most important national monument in Laos – a symbol of Buddhist…

  • Khon Phapheng Falls

    Si Phan Don

    More a glorified set of rapids than a waterfall, but oh, how glorious it is. The largest and by far the most awesome waterfall anywhere along the Mekong,…

  • Statues at Wat Xieng Khuan Buddha park.

    Xieng Khuan


    Located 25km southeast of central Vientiane, eccentric Xieng Khuan, aka Buddha Park, thrills with other-worldly Buddhist and Hindu sculptures, and was…

  • Kaysone Phomvihane Memorial


    The former home of Kaysone Phomvihane, the first leader of an independent Laos, has been made into this quirky but worthwhile museum.

  • Wat Si Saket


    Built between 1819 and 1824 by Chao Anou, the last monarch of the Kingdom of Vientiane, Wat Si Saket is believed to be the city's oldest surviving wat…

  • Tat Somphamit

    Don Det & Don Khon

    Now billing itself as the Don Khone Somphamit Waterfalls Park, vast Tat Somphamit (also called Li Phi) is a gorgeous set of raging rapids. Recent…

  • Tayicseua

    Bolaven Plateau Region

    There are seven significant waterfalls (none of them named Tayicseua) and several smaller ones at this remote but easily accessible private nature reserve…

  • Nam Ha NPA

    Northern Laos

    The 2224-sq-km Nam Ha NPA is one of Laos' most accessible natural preserves and home to clouded leopards and possibly a few remaining tigers. Both around…

  • Tat Fan

    Bolaven Plateau Region

    Tat Fan is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Laos. Twin streams plunge out of dense forest and tumble down more than 120m to form the Huay Bang…

  • UXO Laos Information Centre

    Luang Prabang

    The sobering UXO Laos Information Centre helps you get a grip on the devastation Laos suffered in the Second Indochina War and how nearly 40 years later…

  • Kaysone Phomvihane Museum


    Opened in 1995 to celebrate the late president's 75th birthday, the Kaysone Phomvihane Museum serves as a tribute to Indochina's most pragmatic communist…

  • UXO Information Centre (MAG)

    Northern Laos

    Decades after America's Secret War on Laos, unexploded bombs and mines remain a devastating problem throughout this region. Visit the thought-provoking…

  • Tat Soung

    Bolaven Plateau Region

    Tat Soung is a 50m drop over the edge of the Bolaven Plateau, and though the dam has affected these falls more than the others – slowing them to a trickle…

  • A monk enters the Wat Si Muang in Vientiane. The spot for this monastery was chosen in 1563

    Wat Si Muang


    The most frequently used grounds in Vientiane are those of Wat Si Muang, the site of the lák méuang (city pillar), which is considered the home of the…

  • Tham Lot Se Bang Fai

    Hin Namno NPA & Around

    The most impressive, and yet least visited, cave in Khammuan is the amazing Tham Lot Se Bang Fai. Located in Hin Namno NPA, the cave results from the Se…

  • Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham

    Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham

    Luang Prabang

    Wat Mai is one of the city's most sumptuous monasteries, its wooden sǐm (ordination hall) sporting a five-tiered roof in archetypal Luang Prabang style,…

  • Tat Sae Pha

    Bolaven Plateau Region

    One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Laos, Tat Sae Pha, about 40km from Attapeu, is way off the beaten track and pretty well impossible to access in…

  • Laos Buffalo Dairy


    Set up by some Australian pioneers with no prior experience in farming, the Buffalo Dairy is now producing a range of delicious cheese and dairy products…

  • Tat Sae


    The wide, multilevel cascade pools of this menthol-hued waterfall 15km southeast of Luang Prabang are a memorable sight from August to November. Unlike…

  • Limestone Forest Viewpoint

    Central Laos

    As you approach Ban Khoun Kham along Rte 8 from Rte 13, there is a sala (open-sided shelter) viewpoint between Km 32 and Km 33. Do not, whatever you do,…

  • Green Jungle Park

    Luang Prabang

    Thirty-two kilometres west of the city, this slice of natural paradise reclaimed from a rubbish dump uses the forest and a stunning cascade as its…

  • Heuan Chan Heritage House

    Luang Prabang

    Footpaths lead back from the commercial main drag into a little oasis of palm-shaded calm around Heuan Chan, an authentic traditional longhouse on tree…

  • Tham Nam

    Vang Vieng

    Tham Nam is the highlight of the cluster of caves north of Vang Vieng. The cave is about 500m long and a tributary of the Nam Song flows out of its low…

  • Buddha statues in the Pak Ou Caves.

    Pak Ou Caves


    Where the Nam Ou (Ou River) and Mekong River meet at Ban Pak Ou, two famous caves in the limestone cliff are crammed with myriad Buddha images. In the…

  • Laos Royal Palace Museum

    Royal Palace

    Luang Prabang

    Evoking traditional Lao and French beaux-arts styles, the former Royal Palace was built in 1904 and was home to King Sisavang Vong (r 1904–59), whose…

  • Ethnic clothes at Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre Museum, Phousi Hill.


    Luang Prabang

    Visiting this professionally presented three-room museum is a must to learn about northern Laos' various hill-tribe cultures, especially if you're…

  • Close-up of bamboo sticks used for weaving at Ock Pop Tok Living Craft Centre, Ban Saylom.

    Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts Centre

    Luang Prabang

    Set serenely close to the Mekong, this beautiful, traditionally styled workshop, where weavers, spinners and batik makers produce top-quality fabrics,…

  • Hintang Archaeological Park

    Northern Laos

    Almost as mysterious as Xieng Khuang's more famous jars, this unique, unfenced collection of standing stones is thought to be at least 1500 years old…

  • Exterior of Wat Ho Pha Bang, Luang Prabang

    Wat Ho Pha Bang

    Luang Prabang

    The sacred Pha Bang image, from which the city takes its name, is stored in this highly ornate pavilion that wasn't completed until 2011. The 83cm-tall,…

  • Laos, Vientiane, Arc de Triomphe. The Victory Gate, Gate of Triumph or Patuxai is a war monument in the centre of Vientiane which was built between 1957 and 1968 by the French.



    Vientiane's Arc de Triomphe replica is a slightly incongruous sight, dominating the commercial district around Rue Lan Xang. Officially called 'Victory…

  • Inside Tham Jang cave near Vang Vieng.

    Tham Jang

    Vang Vieng

    The most famous of the caves around Vang Vieng, Tham Jang was used as a bunker to defend against marauding jęen hór (Yunnanese Chinese) in the early 19th…

  • Se Pian NPA

    Southern Laos

    Se Pian NPA is one of the most important protected areas in Laos. The 2400-sq-km park boasts small populations of Asiatic black bears, yellow-cheeked…

  • War Museum & Ho Chi Minh Trail Site

    Central Laos

    Twenty kilometres east of Sepon, Ban Dong (Dong Village) was on one of the major thoroughfares of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and was the site of the only Lao…

  • Dong Natad


    Dong Natad is a sacred, semi-evergreen forest within a provincial protected area 15km east of Savannakhet. It's home to two villages that have been…

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