Best places to visit in Laos 2023 – tourist attractions centres

Southeast Asian landlocked nation of Laos is well-known for its varied attractions, stunning scenery, and rich cultural heritage. Travelers seeking adventure, leisure, or cultural immersion can find something to suit their needs in Laos. 

Laos has a long and complex history, influenced by various kingdoms, empires, and colonial powers. It has several UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the ancient town of Luang Prabang, the former royal capital, and the Wat Phou complex, a pre-Angkorian temple dating back to the 5th century. You can also explore the mysterious Plain of Jars, a collection of thousands of stone jars scattered across the landscape, whose origin and purpose are still unknown.

The best time to travel to Laos and what to bring, Vientiane’s cultural and religious attractions, often-asked questions, and much more will all be covered in this piece, which also lists some of the top tourist destinations in Laos for 2023.

Best places to visit in Laos

Top 20 tourist attractions centres in Laos 2023

Laos, a stunning Southeast Asian country, offers a wealth of experiences. Here’s a concise list of top attractions for 2023:

  1. Kuang Si Falls: Mesmerizing three-tiered waterfalls near Luang Prabang for swimming and hiking.
  2. COPE Visitor Centre: Museum highlighting the impact of UXO in Laos and rehabilitation efforts.
  3. Wat Xieng Thong: Magnificent 16th-century Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang.
  4. Vieng Xai Caves: Secret base for the Pathet Lao movement during the Second Indochina War
  5. Wat Phu Champasak: UNESCO site featuring ancient temple ruins.
  6. Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands): Mekong River islands for relaxation, kayaking, and wildlife.
  7. Plain of Jars: Mysterious archaeological site with scattered stone jars from the Iron Age
  8. Tube the Nam Song: Enjoy floating down the Nam Song River in Vang Vieng.
  9. Luang Prabang Old Town: UNESCO Heritage site with historic buildings, temples, and markets.
  10. Kong Lor Cave: 7.5-km cave in Phu Hin Bun National Park offering boat rides.
  11. Bokeo Gibbon Experience: Zip-line tour in Bokeo Nature Reserve for wildlife spotting.
  12. Xieng Khuan (Buddha Park): Sculpture park near Vientiane with religious statues.
  13. Tad Sae Waterfalls: Cascades and pools perfect for swimming near Luang Prabang.
  14. Pha That Luang: Gold-covered stupa in Vientiane, a national symbol of Laos.
  15. Trekking in Luang Namtha: Diverse landscape for trekking and encounters with ethnic minorities.
  16. Mekong Riverside Park: Scenic park along the Mekong River in Vientiane.
  17. Pathet Lao Caves: Caves in Khammouane Province used by Pathet Lao leaders during the war.
  18. Royal Palace: Former royal residence turned museum in Luang Prabang.
  19. Coffee Culture: Explore Bolaven Plateau’s coffee plantations and local brews.
  20. Vientiane: Capital city blending modern and traditional attractions, from temples to nightlife.

 Best time to visit Laos and what to pack

The best time to visit Laos is between November and April, when the weather is warm and dry throughout the country. This is also the best time for river travel, especially along the Mekong River, which has high water levels from November to January. However, this is also the most popular tourist season, so airfares and lodging rates may be higher.

Some of the most colorful festivals in Laos take place during this time as well. The dry season is divided into a cool, dry period from November to February and a hot, dry period from March to April. The wet season lasts from May to October and may limit some activities.

The history and significance of the Plain of Jars

The Plain of Jars in Laos holds intriguing mysteries:

  1. Dating from 500 BCE to 500 CE, it’s a significant Iron Age site in Southeast Asia.
  2. Thousands of stone jars, varying in size and material, scatter the landscape, often with unique carvings.
  3. These jars, found in clusters across 90+ sites, likely served burial purposes, housing human remains or cremated bones.
  4. Theories suggest ties to an ancient civilization with social structures and possible trade links, some likening the jars to the Indus Valley Civilization’s ash mounds.
  5. Sadly, the site bore witness to conflict during the Second Indochina War, suffering heavy bombing and leaving unexploded ordnance, still a danger today

Cultural and religious attractions in Vientiane

Vientiane, Laos’ capital, boasts a rich cultural tapestry with significant landmarks:

  1. Pha That Luang: The revered Golden Stupa, Laos’ national symbol, believed to house Buddha’s relic. Adorned with gold leaf, it’s a symbol of spiritual significance and hosts an annual grand festival.
  2. Patuxai: Dubbed Laos’ Arc de Triomphe, it honors the country’s independence fighters. Built using US-donated funds intended for airport expansion, it showcases traditional Lao motifs and offers panoramic city views.
  3. Wat Si Saket: Vientiane’s oldest surviving Buddhist temple, housing over 10,000 Buddha images. Its unique architecture and history stem from its survival during the Siamese invasion in 1828.
  4. Buddha Park: An otherworldly sculpture garden featuring 200+ statues of Buddhist and Hindu deities. Crafted in the 1950s-70s, these concrete statues have a whimsical appearance, with a giant ball-shaped monument providing a unique vantage point.
  5. COPE Visitor Centre: A poignant museum highlighting COPE’s work in aiding UXO victims. Laos remains heavily affected by unexploded ordnance, and this museum sheds light on the organization’s rehabilitation efforts amidst the nation’s UXO-laden landscape.


What is the most visited place in Laos?

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Laos is Luang Prabang, the former royal capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Luang Prabang is known for its beautiful temples, colonial architecture, natural scenery, and cultural diversity. It is also a base for exploring the nearby waterfalls, caves, and ethnic villages.

What is the most beautiful place in Laos?

Laos has many beautiful places to visit, but one of the most stunning ones is the Kuang Si Falls, a three-tiered waterfall that flows into turquoise pools surrounded by lush jungles. You can swim in the pools, hike to the top of the falls, or visit the nearby bear sanctuary.

What attracts tourism to Laos?

Laos attracts tourists with its rich natural, cultural, and historical attractions, as well as its laid-back lifestyle and friendly people. Some of the main reasons to visit Laos are to experience the Mekong River, the lifeline of the country; to see the ancient temples and monuments, such as Wat Phou and Pha That Luang; to explore the caves and mountains, such as Kong Lor Cave and Mount Phousi; to enjoy the local cuisine and markets, such as the Luang Prabang Night Market and the Alms Giving Ceremony; and to support conservation and community projects, such as the Gibbon Experience and the Living Land Farm

What is Laos famous for?

Laos is famous for being the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by five other countries and the Mekong River. It is also known as the “Land of a Million Elephants”, a name that reflects its historical and cultural significance. Laos is also famous for its diverse ethnic groups, its Buddhist heritage, its French colonial influence, and its tragic history as the most bombed country in the world

What is Laos main city?

The main city and capital of Laos is Vientiane, located on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. Vientiane is the largest and most populous city in Laos, with an estimated population of over 800,000. It is the political, economic, and cultural center of the country, and home to many landmarks, such as the Patuxay Monument, the Pha That Luang Stupa, and the Buddha Park

What to be seen in Laos?

There are many things to see and do in Laos, depending on your interests and preferences. Some of the most popular attractions include:

  1. Luang Prabang: the ancient and charming city with temples, museums, markets, and waterfalls.
  2. Vientiane: the modern and relaxed capital with monuments, parks, museums, and nightlife.
  3. Si Phan Don: the 4,000 islands on the Mekong River with waterfalls, dolphins, and hammocks
  4. Wat Phou: the ruined Khmer temple complex in southern Laos with stunning views and carvings
  5. Vieng Xai: the network of caves that served as a secret base for the Pathet Lao during the war.
  6. Plain of Jars: the mysterious archaeological site with thousands of stone jars scattered across the fields.
  7. Vang Vieng: the backpacker hotspot with tubing, kayaking, rock climbing, and partying.
  8. Nong Kiau: the scenic riverside town with trekking, cycling, and caving opportunities.
  9. Bokeo: the nature reserve with zip-lining, tree houses, and gibbons
  10. Phonsavan: the town near the Plain of Jars with war memorials, markets, and hot springs.


Is Laos a cheap country?

Laos is generally a cheap country to visit, especially compared to Western countries. However, it is slightly more expensive than some of its neighboring countries, such as Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, due to its limited infrastructure and development. The average daily budget for a traveler in Laos is around $40-50, which covers accommodation, food, transportation, and activities. However, you can spend less or more, depending on your travel style and preferences.

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