One of the lesser known tourist destinations in Asia, the landlocked country of Laos was once a hidden gem. Wedged between tourist favourites Thailand and Vietnam, Laos has become increasingly popular as a preferred side trip for tourists who want to cross the two aforementioned countries.
With only minimal western influences, Laos is your best bet if you are up for slow yet worth it travel. In short, it is a laid back destination, but it doesn’t mean, though, that it doesn’t have must-visit sights that tend to get crowded.
A less travelled country, there is much unexplored gems in Laos just waiting for you to unearth. You may be among those who cringe at Lonely Planet spots, or destinations often mentioned in guidebooks as well as travel blogs and shows. As for Laos, there are three popular cities that tourists frequent to: Vientiane, Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang.
If you haven’t been to the country, you may be surprised to know that Laos has great hotels and resorts. Albeit still among the least developed countries, you won’t have to struggle to look for the perfect accommodation, especially with Secret Retreats Laos luxury hotels and resorts.
If you prefer to take the road less traveled, see below a list of Laos’ off the beaten track spots.
1. The Bolaven Plateau
You will want to visit its peaceful small villages, plenty waterfalls, and lovely coffee plantations. You should not pass up the chance to hike around the waterfalls of Tad Yuang, Itou Falls, and Tad Fane. For breakfast, you won’t regret dropping by the minority village just outside Tad Lo for noodle soup and for a chat with the locals.
2. The 4,000 Islands
These are land masses of different sizes – from one as tiny as a bush to one big enough that it is inhabitable – on the Mekong River. Don Khong, the largest island, gives you a glimpse into how locals live, away from the touristy places. The most popular islands, however, are Don Let and Don Khon and are perfect for relaxation as well as in indulging in lots of exciting activities such as kayaking, with its luxury hotels and hostels.
3. Muang La
The small, peaceful town of Muang La is a perfect escape from your bustling city life. Built onto a small patch of land tucked into a river bend bordered by cliffs, this charming city holds a classically styled temple which houses the Pra Singkham Buddha, one of the most revered Buddha status of northern Laos.
4. Nong Khiaw
Be stunned by its limestone hills and immense forests. If you are aiming for self-pampering, comfortable accommodation, food that simply makes your mouth water, and lots of interesting activities, Nong Khiaw is just the place for you. Get a breathtaking view of the town by climbing up to the top of a mountain and at night, try the traditional herbal sauna to soothe those tense muscles.
5. Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area
If you want to see the wildlife of Laos, visit this open forest and shrub land. You can opt to take a trekking tour in NEPL NPA and spend the night in the core zone of the protected area or get on board a traditional long-tail boat. You will have the chance to take photos of animals which include langurs, dears, bears, muntjacs, among many others.
The abovementioned are just among the off the beaten track destinations you will want to include into your itinerary. For a longer list of this sort of places, you may want to contact a reputable travel agency, which won’t be hard to find. With just a quick Google search, you are bound to find one that can provide you a tour you will remember and treasure for the rest of your life.