Laos, known as the “Land of a Million Elephants,” is a captivating destination in Southeast Asia that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and serene spirituality. If you’re planning a trip to Laos and wondering what to do in Laos for 5 days, we’ve got you covered. Join Indochina Voyages, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you make the most of your time in Laos.
A Glance at Laos
Being a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, Laos is often described as the serene jewel of the region, offering a blend of natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality with a slow and tranquil life. Here’s a quick glance at the highlights and useful information about Laos:
- Laos, officially known as the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, is a socialist state and a landlocked country, bordered by Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, and Myanmar.
- The capital city of Laos is Vientiane, known for its laid-back atmosphere and French colonial architecture.
- Laos covers an area of approximately 236,800 square kilometers, making it a relatively small country in terms of landmass.
- A population of approximately 7.2 million people, composed of various ethnic groups, including the Lao Loum (lowland Lao), Lao Theung (upland Lao), and Lao Soung (highland Lao), Lao people are known for their warm and welcoming nature, making visitors feel at home in their presence.
- Buddhism is the predominant religion in Laos, deeply ingrained in the daily lives and culture of the Lao people.
- The country is dotted with numerous temples and monasteries, offering visitors a glimpse into the spiritual traditions of Laos.
- Lao culture is heavily influenced by Theravada Buddhism, reflected in its architecture, arts, festivals, and daily rituals.
- Traditional arts and crafts, such as silk weaving, pottery, and wood carving, are an integral part of Lao culture and can be seen in local markets and villages.
- The official language of Laos is Lao, which is closely related to Thai. However, English is also spoken in major tourist areas and by some locals involved in the tourism industry.
Although a small country with no beaches, Laos still being perfect for you to spend holidays to refresh with the slow life, tranquil landscape with rich history, and warm hospitality from local people. Let’s hop on a journey through 5 days to explore what to do and what to see in this Hidden Indochine Jewel!
What to do in Laos for 5 days?
Why 5 days to explore Laos, not less or not more? The ideal duration for exploring any destination can vary depending on individual preferences, travel interests, and available time. You can choose 7 days, 3 days or even 10 days to explore Laos. However, the suggestion of spending 5 days exploring Laos is a general recommendation that aims to provide a balanced and immersive experience within a limited timeframe.
So what can you expect when spending 5 days to discover Laos?
- Explore the serene capital of Laos, Vientiane, known for its laid-back atmosphere and ancient Buddhist temples.
- Wander through the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang, where charming streets are lined with ancient Buddhist temples.
- Marvel at the grandeur of Pha That Luang, the national symbol of Laos, and explore the sacred Wat Si Saket and Wat Phra Keo temples.
- Stroll along the banks of the Mekong River, enjoying the riverside cafes and taking in the panoramic views.
- Visit the COPE Visitor Centre to learn about the country’s history and efforts to address the impact of unexploded ordnance.
- Experience the local cuisine by trying traditional Lao dishes like sticky rice, laap, and tam mak hoong.
- Take part in a traditional Baci ceremony, a Lao ritual to bring good luck and prosperity.
Day 1: Vientiane Arrival and Free To Strolling Around
Upon arrival in Vientiane, take the opportunity to freely explore the laid-back capital city at your own pace. Immerse yourself in the blend of French colonial and traditional Lao architecture, wander through charming streets, discover local markets, and enjoy the tranquil ambiance along the Mekong River. Indulge in the local cuisine and experience the vibrant nightlife.
Besides being free to explore, if coming in the morning, you can choose to visit two attractions first:
- Patuxay monument, where you can climb the stairs to the roof for sweeping panoramic views of the city.
- Visit That Luang, the holiest site in Laos. It was constructed by King Setthethirat in the 16th century. The temple becomes resplendent as the sun is shining upon its towering golden spire.
This day of exploration sets the stage for an exciting journey through Laos and prepares for the fascinating Vientiane City Tour tomorrow.
Day 2: Vientiane City Tour and Begin to explore Luang Prabang
Begin your day on the Vientiane City Tour by visiting the city’s highlights:
- Starting with Wat Sisaket, the only temple that survived the Siamese invasion in 1828. Admire its beautiful architecture and explore the well-preserved collection of Buddha statues.
- Next, head to Wat Phra Keo, which serves as a religious museum, showcasing an impressive array of Lao and Khmer artwork. Take a moment to appreciate the intricate carvings and serene atmosphere.
- Nearby, you’ll find the Presidential Palace, although it’s not open to visitors.
- Continue your journey to Wat Simuang, the city’s most revered temple, believed to protect the spirit of Vientiane. Don’t forget to make a wish as you circle the Angkorian-era pillar three times.
After a delightful lunch at a local restaurant, transfer to the airport for a short flight to Luang Prabang. Upon arrival, take some time to rest before embarking on a climb up Mount Phousi. Ascend the 328 steps to the summit and savor the breathtaking view of the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers. As evening falls, the rest of your time is yours to enjoy at your leisure. Overnight in Luang Prabang, ready for more adventures tomorrow.
Day 3: Luang Prabang Exploration
Embark on a captivating city tour of Luang Prabang:
- Begin by visiting the former Royal Palace, now transformed into the National Museum, where you’ll delve into the rich history of Laos. Admire the royal artifacts and gain insights into the country’s cultural heritage.
- Continue your exploration on foot, making your way to Wat Mai, renowned for its exquisite golden bas-relief, and Wat Sensoukarahm, an architectural gem.
- The morning tour reaches its pinnacle with a visit to the stunning Wat Xieng Thong, one of Laos’ most revered temples, adorned with intricate carvings and vibrant mosaics.
- In the afternoon, head to Wat Visoun, the holiest temple in the city, and immerse yourself in its serene ambiance.
- Then, venture to the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre, a fascinating museum that showcases the cultural diversity and traditions of Laos’ ethnic minorities. Marvel at traditional costumes, tools, and artifacts while gaining a deeper understanding of the local people.
As the afternoon unfolds, you can cross the Mekong River for a short walk on the opposite bank and ascend to Wat Chompet. From its vantage point, witness a breathtaking sunset and take in a panoramic bird’s-eye view of the city. Then conclude the day with an overnight stay in Luang Prabang, filled with cherished memories and cultural discoveries.
Day 4: Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Cave & Kuang Si Waterfall
After vibrant city tours in Luang Prabang and Vientiane, let’s stay away from the city zone by Embarking on a scenic cruise along the enchanting Mekong River to reach the Pak Ou Caves and Kuang Si Waterfall.
- Locally known as Tam Ting, Pak Ou includes impressive caves, nestled within towering limestone cliffs, adorned with thousands of golden lacquered Buddha statues. Marvel at the intricate craftsmanship and soak in the spiritual atmosphere as you explore the caves.
- In the afternoon, embark on a picturesque drive through the countryside of Luang Prabang, immersing yourself in the serene landscapes. Your destination is the breathtaking Kuang Si Waterfalls, located approximately 32 kilometers southwest of the city. Take in the natural beauty and unwind amidst the tranquil surroundings.
- Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the bear sanctuary, managed by Free the Bears Fund Inc., located near the falls. Witness the conservation efforts and learn about these fascinating creatures.
- After a fulfilling day, return to your hotel in Luang Prabang for a restful overnight stay, cherishing the memories of your exploration.
Day 5: Luang Prabang Explore on your own
Today is your free to stroll around Luang Prabang City. Here are some activities you can consider while free to explore before saying goodbye to Laos and going to the airport for the next destination:
- Explore the UNESCO-listed Old Town, with its charming streets and well-preserved colonial architecture.
- Visit the Morning Market (Phousi Market) to experience the vibrant local atmosphere and browse through a variety of fresh produce, handicrafts, and souvenirs.
- Take a leisurely walk along the Mekong River, enjoying the scenic views and observing the local way of life.
- Indulge in the local cuisine by trying traditional Lao dishes like sticky rice, Lao sausage (sai oua), and the famous Luang Prabang noodle soup (khao soi).
- Participate in a traditional alms-giving ceremony, where you can offer food to the Buddhist monks and experience a spiritual ritual.
Above is a typical itinerary for includes all the highlights of the country, that covers both Vientiane and Luang Prabang. This may be enough for you to explore and experience this charming land and its friendly people in a short period of time. Indochina Voyages also has the same A glance at Laos 5 days Tour with the same duration for you to explore Laos.
Besides, if 5 days are not enough for you, while you’re interested in Laos and you also want to delve into this charming country, Laos Tours which was built by Local Travel Experts from Indochina Voyages may inspire your travel hobby!
For Laos off-the-beaten-path experiences when coming, you can go to some hidden parts of this country and tailor-made your own itinerary. Just tell us your requirements and hobbies, Indochina Voyages will always welcome you warmly with our travel specialists.
Useful Information Before You Go
Before embarking on your Laos adventure, it’s essential to have some useful information to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Here are some key details you should know:
The official currency of Laos is the Lao kip (LAK). However, Thai baht and US dollars are also widely accepted in tourist areas, hotels, and larger establishments.
Most nationalities require a visa to enter Laos. You can obtain a visa on arrival at international airports and land border crossings. Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date, and have the necessary visa fee in USD or local currency ready upon arrival.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Laos is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. This period offers pleasant weather with cooler temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing.
- However, keep in mind that the tourist season peaks from December to February, so expect larger crowds and higher prices during this time.
- Laos has a tropical monsoon climate, characterized by distinct wet and dry seasons.
- The wet season spans from May to October, with higher temperatures and occasional heavy rainfall.
Wifi, SMS and Internet
Wifi is readily available in hotels, restaurants, and cafes in major tourist areas. However, the internet connection may be slower in more remote areas. It’s a good idea to purchase a local SIM card upon arrival for reliable mobile data. Major telecommunication providers offer affordable data packages that will keep you connected throughout your trip.
Electronic Items needed to bring
Make sure to bring a universal adapter as the power sockets in Laos generally adhere to European standards (Type C and Type E). Additionally, it’s advisable to bring a power bank to keep your devices charged, especially during long journeys or when electricity is limited.
Must-visit beside Luang Prabang and Vientiane
- Vang Vieng: Experience the stunning karst landscapes, adventure activities like kayaking and caving, and relax along the Nam Song River.
- Plain of Jars: Uncover the mysteries of the ancient archaeological site, featuring hundreds of giant stone jars scattered across the landscape.
- Bolaven Plateau: Immerse in the natural beauty of waterfalls, coffee plantations, and ethnic minority villages in this highland region.
Laos offers a serene and authentic experience for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature, explore ancient traditions, and connect with warm-hearted locals. With its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and spiritual ambiance, Laos always is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered although you have 5 days or 7 days or even 3 days.
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From Indochina Voyages Travel Specialists