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For the true cultural traveler, Laos has much to offer. The largely rural country remains free from mass commercialism and uncontrolled development. Eco-tourism and adventure travel are central to Laos’s small but growing tourist industry. The country also has many interesting historical sites and ancient ruins. Expect to pay a small entrance fee at some temples and cultural sites. Traveling in Laos alone is perfectly safe and feasible, but several excellent tour agencies operate in the country.

Things to do in Laos

Ban Saphai Weaving Village

The traditional weaving village of Ban Saphai, located on the small island Don Kho, produces excellent hand-woven textiles made on looms beneath stilted houses. Prices are often cheaper than in Pakse. Local buses make the journey from Pakse to Ban Saphai in 45 minutes. Boats can be hired for the short trip the island.

10 miles north of Pakse, Don Kho Island, Champasak Province,
Tags: things to do | culture | souvenirs | crafts

Don Khong Island

Travel downriver from Champasak to this inspiring 66-square-mile island. Expect gentle hills, paddy fields, old temples and self-sufficient communities working the land and netting fish in the surrounding waters. Green Discovery runs a shuttle bus service from Pakse to the boat landing opposite the island.

Green Discovery, Unit 47, Rd No.13, Ban Phabath, Champasak Province, 011-856-31-252-908,
Tags: cruise | things to do | culture

Lao National History Museum

Get perspective on the country’s turbulent history and the rise of the communist party. Rooms contain pictures and artifacts dedicated to the French colonial period and Laos struggle for independence and resistance against American aggression.

Vientiane; Ban Anou, Muang Chanthaburi, Samsenthai Rd., 011-856-21-212-460
Tags: things to do | culture | history

Luang Prabang night market

Browse this night market’s extensive selection of woven silk, silver jewelry, ethnic crafts, and clothing. Snack on Lao culinary treats such as a grilled bananas and fried crickets as you go on.

along the side streets off Sisavangvong Rd.,
Tags: things to do | culture | market | clothing

Plain of Jars

The Plain of Jars is one of Laos most popular and mysterious attractions. The rolling hills around the town of Phonsavan are covered with hundreds of large stone “jars,” some as tall as ten feet high and thought to date back 2,000 years.

12-18 miles south of Phonsavan, Xiang Khuang Province,
Tags: things to do | culture | history | archeology

Vieng Xai Caves

These elaborate caves were used as headquarters by leaders of the Pathet Lao communist movement for over nine years during the Vietnam War. After many years of being off limits, the expansive caves are now open to the public.

18 miles east of Sam Neua, Hua Phan Province,
Tags: things to do | culture | history

Wat Phu

This 6th-century hindu temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that pre-dates Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, is considered one of the most important Khmer-style ruins in Laos. The uppermost of several sandstone levels provides spectacular views east across the Mekong River. The pavilions feature exquisite relief work and sculptures.

About 9 miles southwest of Champasak town, near Ba Tong Khop village, Champasak Province,
Tags: things to do | culture | architecture | history

Wat Sainyaphum

Savannhakhet (affectionately known as Savan) is steeped in history. Wander into Wat Sainyaphum temple, parts of which date as far back as 1540. The low sweeping roof and beautifully carved and gilded décor is truly impressive. There's also a small workshop here producing cast Buddha figures.

Tha He Rd.,
Tags: things to do | culture | architecture | history

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