If you’re planning a 10 Day Trip to Laos and not sure how to plan and what to do in Laos, this blog post is for you! Overshadowed by its more famous neighbors like Thailand and Vietnam, Laos remains a gem of a destination waiting to be explored. It offers stunningly natural beauty with laid-back beaches and adventurous jungle treks, delicious food and a unique culture. That’s why I created this Laos Itinerary for 10 Days so you get a glimpse of the country. Get there before it gets over run with the mainstream tourist crowds!
It was a part of my Solo Backpacking trip around South East Asia, so don’t forget to check out other blog posts that I have on other countries there!
Overview of the Laos Itinerary for 10 days:
Day 1-3 – Vientiane
Day 4-6 – Vang Vieng
Day 7-10 – Luang Prabang
+ Additional suggestions
But first let’s start by mentioning some important things
HOW TO GET TO LAOS:
The most convenient way to get into Laos is by flying.
There are several international airports in the country: Pakse, Vietiane, and Luang Prabang.
Always check the prices online as there can be very cheap airplane tickets for your dates.
Alternatively, for a cheaper option you could take an overnight bus from Thailand or Vietnam. However be prepared that the ride will take a lot longer than you might think!
My bus trip from Da Nang, Vietnam to Vientiane, Laos was supposed to take 18 hours, but in the end it turned out to be a 28-hour journey. It seems to be a common experience according to other backpackers, so be prepared!
Use 12Go.Asia to book your bus, train and ferry tickets. It works great for all South East Asia.
Most countries need a visa to enter Laos, but always check the rules applicable to your country before departing.
Visa-free countries include Russia, Japan, South Korea and Switzerland; however, most countries can get a visa on arrival at the border.
It’s better if you pay in USD for your visa, even though they accept Laotian Kip and Thai Baht.
Also, if you don’t have a photo with you, you’ll have to pay $2 extra.
In short, Laos is very safe country. I felt perfectly safe traveling through the country as a solo female. With that being said, of course you have to follow common sense safety rules as you would anywhere else in the world.
Don’t leave your belongings unattended, don’t get drunk, don’t go along with any people if you don’t feel safe, be aware of popular tourist scams. Always negotiate all prices before agreeing to get in the vehicle.
Weather in Laos / When is the best time to visit Laos:
The best time to visit Laos is from November to April during the dry season.
However, if you want to beat the crowds, I would suggest going at the end of May or June.
It will be hot during that time, but personally, I’d rather deal with the heat than fight with huge crowds all the time.
Laos currency is Laotian Kip. 1 USD is around 8,860 Laotian Kip, so you’ll be a millionaire there!
And it’s a very affordable country to visit – you’ll be able to find very cheap food, clothing, accommodation, etc. As in most South East Asian countries, cash is the best form of payment.
Of course you will be able to pay with a card in your hotel, but for shopping, street food, buses and taxis, you’ll need cash.
Most people travel around Laos by renting a motorbike. It’ll be the easiest and most convenient option.
Because I had never ridden a motorbike before and was travelling by myself, I considered that it’s not the best option for me.
I decided that it would be better to travel by bus between cities as it’s much easier and you don’t have to be responsible for any breakages.
The cost of tickets varies depending on the route you’ll take. Either way it won’t break your bank. For example for the trip from Vientianne to Vang Vieng I paid $7 and for a trip from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang it was $10. So, breaking the bike or getting into an accident, it’s not worth all the hustle for me.
Depending on your budget, you’ll be able to find all sorts of accommodations in Laos.
It has a lot of budget-friendly hostels as well as luxurious hotels and resorts.
I chose the hostel option as I was traveling alone and was conscious of my budget since I wanted it to last me longer period of time. My preference is to save money to use it on more exciting experiences like excursions and tours – which also allows me to meet more people on my travels.
I traveled in June and paid $4-5 a night for my hostel stays.
Places that I stayed in:
Vientiane – NT Hostel, which I can highly recommend. It was very clean and in a good location. For $4 a night, you also get a breakfast of one egg, banana, bread, tea and coffee.
Vang Vieng – Chillao Hostel is located on the main street, very close to everything. It has a pool and clean dormitory or double rooms. It costs only $2,88 a night and included a breakfast spread of bread, fruit, eggs or pancakes, which were pretty good.
Luang Prabang – City Central Hostel is again in a great location near the Night Market. Costs were $3.11 a night and it also included breakfast and offered clean rooms.
Now, with all that sorted out let’s get to our Laos itinerary 10 Days
Day 1 – Arriving to Laos
It’s very likely that you will arrive either to Luang Prabang, if you’re traveling from Thailand or to Vientianne if you’re traveling from overseas or Vietnam.
It doesn’t matter because you can just swap the dates of your 10 Day trip to Laos, of this particular list.
I wouldn’t suggest you to do a lot on your first day because it’s very likely that you will be jetlagged or very tired after the journey. So maybe just go out, to walk around and grab something to eat nearby and get some rest for your busy itinerary ahead.
Of course, if you feel fine and ready to explore, don’t waste any time and continue to Day 2.
Day 2-3 – Vientiane
Vientiane is the most chilled capital in all of South East Asia. You won’t hear the constant beeping of car horns here, or experience intense traffic like in other countries. It’s a nice city to walk around in and try different coffee shops and just sink in that feeling of being in a new country. Three days will be more than enough to explore all its main parts. Don’t stay here too long as I would suggest heading to other places in Laos.
Things to do in Vientiane in no particular order:
Pha That Luang – is a gold-covered large Buddhist stupa in the center of the city.
Wat Si Saket Temple – it’s the only temple that survived after occupation in 1828. It features over 10,000 Buddha sculptures of varying sizes and styles.
Mekong River Waterfront & its Night Market – you can buy a lot of cheap handcrafted goods here, eat delicious street food and enjoy the sunset on the river.
COPE Visitor Center – it’s a non-profit organization which provides prosthetic limbs and rehabilitation for people who can’t afford it. It’s a very small place and won’t take much of your time. It’s a great cause which should be supported.
Wat Si Muang – another very beautiful Buddhist Temple built in 1563 worth visiting.
Patuxay Monument – is a war monument in the center of Vientiane. Built between 1957 and 1968. The Patuxai was dedicated to those who fought in the struggle for independence from France. You can even climb to the top to enjoy the view.
Day 4 – 6 : Vang Vieng
As I already mentioned the best way to get your tickets in too book them online on 12go.asia or to buy them from you hostel/hotel or a ticket office. Booking it from your accommodation means that the van will come to take you from there, so it has its advantages. The ride will take around 4 hours.
Vang Vieng is a stunning small town surrounded by green karst mountains and stunning views. This town is tops for loads of awesome day trips, viewpoints and tours to take in the natural beauty of Laos. It a place where you can just chill, immerse yourself into nature and just relax. The beauty of this small gem is unreal.
The most beautiful thing that I did here was to rent a bike and just drive around looking at beautiful landscapes.
You also have to visit Blue Lagoon & Tham Phu Kham Cave while in Vang Vieng. There are 4 Blue lagoons that you can visit but I recommend the one with the cave because the water here is very blue even in the summer.
Be careful while jumping in the water from that tree, as I heart my lower back pretty bad.
Vang Vieng was also made very popular by tubing . It was a huge party thing, in which party goers used to go down the river in a tube. The scene has died down now because many bars were shut down after several fatal accidents.
So, now I actually recommend doing it! It’s not a dangerous activity and you can enjoy jawdropping views while slowly getting down the river surrounded by beautiful mountains.
More things to do: Kaeng Nyui Waterfall , Phangern Mountain Viewpoint, Nam Xay Viewpoint, Tham Chang Cave and again don’t forget to enjoy the river side at the evening time.
Day 7-10 – Luang Prabang
Again just easily buy a ticket for a van/bus ride to get to your next city. It will cost only $10, the ride will be bumpy and the road very curvy but the views are gorgeous.
LUANG PRABANG is the city that I loved the most! It’s feels like more cultural and relaxed capital of Laos. It’s gorgeous and filled with cute cafes and art shops, has a great night market with a huge vegetarian buffet scene and again beautiful riverside area.
Phousi mountain – climb up this mountain in the city to enjoy a stunning view from the top. It’s a very easy hike and you will need to pay a small commission to enter but it’s worth it. Be prepared that you won’t be the only one at the top, especially for a sunset.
Kuang Si Waterfall – it was probably the best waterfall that I visited in Laos. I couldn’t believe how blue the water is. It’s pretty long waterfall with several swimming pools so it’s likely that you’ll find a spot to enjoy it for yourself.
Another thing that you can do here is to watch the morning alms-giving ceremony from afar. It’s a daily ritual which happens during sunrise time when locals give food to the monks. Don’t forget that it’s not a touristy thing but a part of Lao people’s culture and history. So respect that and watch it silently from a distance.
Definitely don’t skip going to the night market here as it has a lot of beautiful hand crafted goods to offer, fruit smoothies, vegetarian buffet, fried rice and a lot more deliciousness.
YOU HAVE TO TRY the coconut pancakes that are sold on the streets! I had them every single night. They are made out of flour, coconut milk and sugar — but they are so amazing!! No matter what you do in Laos, find them and eat as much as you can!
Additional things to do in Laos:
10 day trip to Laos might not be enough for some of you. Depending on the time that you will have in Laos and depending on your preferences, I wanted to add more additional interesting things to your Laos Itinerary 10 days , that you could explore
Buddha Park (Vientiane)
This park is located half an hour outside of Vientiane. It’s filled with different sculptures of gods and demons and is great, fun place to explore.
Very popular motorbike loop to explore Laos even further. Make numerous stops to see beautiful waterfalls and caves. Sleep in local home stays to make your experience even more authentic. Learn more about this beautiful country
Another nature paradise in the Southern part of Laos, where you can explore a lot of waterfalls, jungle treks and just escape that much tourism
Don Det & 4000 islands
Don Det is a very small island , the walking path is around 7 km and will take you aprx.2 hours. I didn’t made it there myself but heard a lot of great things from fellow backpackers.
It’s a place where most of the tourists moved after Vang Vieng tubing accidents, to drink, party and relax.
THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN VISITING LAOS:
You’ll have to pay for entering most of the temples.
Use Google Maps to get around, it works great in Laos also.
Buy your tickets for tours and different activities from your hotel, to save money and time.
Bargain for all prices on the street, including transportation, in general first price is always higher.
DO NOT ride the elephants. It’s very cruel industry that should have been over by now.
You’ll also find amazing baguettes here as Laos used to be a French colony.
Don’t be afraid to try the local beer called Beerlao, the most people find it very nice.