Laos: Southeast Asia’s Hidden Gem

Dave Brett

By Dave Brett
17 Aug 2016

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Travelling around Laos is an epic addition to your backpacking adventure around Southeast Asia. Cruising down the mighty Mekong, swimming in a multi-tiered waterfall or learning about rice production from local farmers are just some of the epic things you’ll be able to experience. Here’s a list of highlights from my Laos adventure with Busabout.

Cruising The Mekong River

There is no better way to travel around Laos than along the Mekong river on a river boat. The tour included a two day boat trip and Busabout had arranged our very own personal river boat managed and run by a local family. How fancy! This made all the difference as you’re practically having the whole boat and river to yourself. It was a great way to get to know the new group members!

Exploring The Sacred Buddha Caves Of Pak Ou Village

Stopping at the sacred caves close to the village of Pak Ou village was a great experience. The caves are hidden into a mountain face, and once you head up a flight of stairs you’re brought into the entrance that will unearth a collection of over a thousand Buddha statues. As you walk around you will discover loads of different Buddhas in a variety of different shapes and sizes, great way to spend some time off the boat, see some interesting statues of the Buddha and stretch your legs before embarking on your final voyage to the city of Luang Prabang.

Giving Of The Alms

If you can get up at crazy o’clock like the local monks do, it’s possible to take part in the giving of the alms. Due to the large amount of temples in Luang Prabang a huge monk community surrounds the city and every morning you can give an offering of food to the monks. This normally consists of sticky rice and chocolate bars and makes for an interesting way to see the city and local culture of Buddhism in the city of Luang Prabang which is part of what gives the city its UNESCO World Heritage title.

## ## Learning About Rice Production In Rice Fields At Living Land Experience Now this is not the type of excursion you would normally expect, but it’s good fun and a great way to learn about the daily life of Laos people. Rice is an important staple in Laos and especially sticky rice, which is popular in this area. Pop on your Asian sun hat, roll up your shorts and sleeves and jump into the watery mud to harvest some rice. You’re guided through all stages of rice production and learn how to plough with an Ox, harvest the rice and best of all enjoy your final results and eat some at the end too!

Luang Prabang Sunset

Luang Prabang was my favourite stop along my Laos Adventure, this city has so much to offer with lots to explore and great overall vibe. The first thing we did after checking into our hotel was to climb up to the top of Mount Phousi to catch one of the most amazing sunsets I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something. It’s so good you actually forget the stair climb to get up there!


Kayaking Through Vang Vieng

Kayaking down the river you start to notice that Vang Vieng is stunning! It has an incredible scenic backdrop and is for sure worth the experience. Stopping off for a Laos BBQ with authentic banana leaf plate was also a great way to sample local Laos life.

Kuang Si Waterfall

Located a short drive away from Luang Prabang you will find the Kuang Si waterfall. Bring your swimming gear and enjoy the many different stages of the waterfall, you can swim in about 5 different sections and as you walk further up you will discover the peak of the fall which is a photo opportunity not to be missed. For sure worth the short drive over.

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Plain Of Jars

The story goes that some local giants had a bit too much of the local tipple “Lao, Lao” and ended up dropping loads of these large jar shaped stones around the countryside of Laos. I like that story and I’m going to stick with it. Exploring the sites (there are about 3 main ones) you can discover all of these different jar shapes scattered randomly around the fields, they are fun to look at and wonder how they possibly ended up there, I will leave the real story for your guide to explain. I like the giant story best…


The Northern Thailand & Laos Adventure starts in Chiang Mai and finishes in Vientiane. Check the website for more details!