Would you like to discover more about Laos’ Buddhist past and see its historic temples and monasteries? Do you wish to see the people living in their rural homes and take in the breathtaking vistas of the Mekong River and its tributaries? Want to interact with the youthful, international crowd and enjoy the exciting nightlife and food of the nation’s capital? There is a city in Laos that will meet your expectations and pique your curiosity if you said “yes” to any of these questions.
Laos has a population of about 7.5 million people and covers an area of 236,800 square kilometers. It shares borders with China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar. Laos is one of the few remaining socialist countries in the world and has a single-party political system. Despite its political isolation, Laos has been gradually opening up to the outside world and developing its tourism industry. Laos is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Top Laotian cities for 2023, top activities in Laos’s Luang Prabang, the best handicrafts and souvenirs to purchase in Laos. This article will cover a wide range of topics, including which city in Laos is the most developed.
Top cities in Laos 2023
Here’s a list of 20 cities in Laos:
- Luang Prabang
- Vang Vieng
- Xam Neua
- Muang Xay (Oudomxay)
- Luang Namtha
- Ban Houayxay
- Nong Khai (border town with Thailand, often visited from Laos)
- Xaignabouli (Sayabouly)
- Xiangkhouang (Phonsavan)
- Ban Nahin
- Xam Tai
These cities offer a glimpse into Laos’s culture, history, and natural beauty, each with its own unique charm and attractions.
Best things to do in Luang Prabang, Laos
Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the former royal capital of Laos. It is known for its stunning temples, colonial architecture, natural scenery, and cultural heritage. Some of the best things to do in Luang Prabang are:
- Climb Phousi Mountain for a panoramic view of the city and the Mekong River. You can also visit the golden stupa and the Buddha statues on the hilltop
- Explore the Kuang Si Waterfalls, a series of turquoise pools and cascades surrounded by lush forest. You can swim, hike, or visit the nearby bear sanctuary.
- Admire Wat Xieng Thong, the most impressive temple in Luang Prabang, with its elaborate mosaics, gold leaf decorations, and carved wooden doors
- Experience the alms giving ceremony, a daily ritual where monks walk in a procession to receive food offerings from the locals and tourists. You can participate by giving sticky rice or other items, but make sure to dress respectfully and follow the etiquette
- Enjoy the night market, where you can find a variety of handicrafts, souvenirs, clothes, and street food. You can also watch traditional dance and music performances at the nearby Royal Palace Museum
Best souvenirs and handicrafts to buy in Laos
Best souvenirs and handicrafts to buy in Laos: Laos has a rich and diverse tradition of handicrafts, reflecting its ethnic and cultural diversity. Some of the best souvenirs and handicrafts to buy in Laos are:
- Pottery, made by the skilled and artistic hands of Lao women. You can find ceramic jars, vases, bowls, plates, and tiles with unique designs and patterns
- Silver and gold ornaments, crafted by the silversmiths of Luang Prabang and other regions. You can find earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and pendants with intricate motifs and symbols.
- Handicraft paintings, made from natural paper or saa paper, which is derived from the bark of the mulberry tree. You can find paintings of landscapes, animals, flowers, and religious scenes.
- Silk fabrics, woven by the Lao women using traditional looms and techniques. You can find scarves, shawls, skirts, bags, and wall hangings with colorful and geometric patterns.
Planning a budget-friendly trip to Laos in 2023
Here are some tips and suggestions for planning a budget-friendly trip to Laos in 2023:
- Best Time to Visit: November to February is ideal. March to May is hotter but cheaper. Avoid June to October due to rainy season.
- Getting There: Fly to neighboring countries like Thailand, Vietnam, or Cambodia, then use buses, trains, or boats. Direct flights to Vientiane, Luang Prabang, or Pakse are pricier.
- Transportation: Public options like buses, tuk-tuks, or shared trucks are budget-friendly. Consider motorbike/bicycle rentals or scenic but slow boat rides on the Mekong River.
- Accommodation: Stay in guesthouses, hostels, or homestays ($5/night), budget hotels ($10-$20/night). Booking.com, Agoda, Couchsurfing, or Airbnb are good options.
- Food: Local eateries and markets offer meals at $1-$3. Cooking your own food or buying snacks from convenience stores is also an option. Try Laotian dishes like laap, tam mak hoong, and Lao coffee.
- Exploring: Enjoy free or low-cost natural and cultural attractions such as temples, waterfalls, and markets. Join budget-friendly activities like trekking, kayaking, or cycling. Use Viator or GetYourGuide to book tours or ask local operators.
What are the 3 largest cities in Laos?
The 3 largest cities in Laos are Vientiane, Savannakhet, and Pakxe, according to WorldAtlas. Vientiane is the capital and the most populous city with a population of 562,244. Savannakhet is the second largest and second most populous city with a population of 93,277. Pakxe is the third most populous city with a population of 88,166.
What is the most developed city in Laos?
The most developed city in Laos is probably Vientiane, as it is the political, economic, and cultural center of the country. It has the most infrastructure, services, and attractions for tourists and residents. It also has the most foreign investment and influence from neighboring countries.
What is the capital city of Laos 2023?
The capital city of Laos in 2023 is still Vientiane, as it has been since 1975 when the Lao People’s Democratic Republic was established. Vientiane is located on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand.
Where is the best place to live in Laos?
The best place to live in Laos as a foreigner depends on your personal preferences and needs, but some popular options are Luang Prabang, Thakhek, and Vang Vieng. Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a rich cultural and historical heritage, as well as a vibrant expat community. Thakhek is a charming town with French architecture, limestone cliffs, and a national park. Vang Vieng is a tourist hotspot with stunning natural scenery, outdoor activities, and nightlife.
What is Laos main city?
Laos’ main city is Vientiane, as it is the capital and the largest city in the country. It is also the main hub for transport, communication, and education in Laos. It has many attractions such as the Pha That Luang temple, the Patuxay monument, and the Buddha Park.
What is Laos currency?
Laos’ currency is the Lao kip, which is the official national currency since 1952. The kip is divided into 100 att and has 15 different banknotes in circulation. The currency code for kips is LAK and the currency symbol is ₭. However, the kip is not convertible outside the country and has low value, so many people also use US dollars and Thai baht for larger purchases.
What are the two major cities in Laos?
The two major cities in Laos are Vientiane and Savannakhet, as they are the largest and most populous cities in the country. They are also important centers for economic, cultural, and political activities in Laos. They have many similarities and differences in terms of their history, geography, and attractions
Is Laos a large country?
In terms of both land area and population, Laos is a small nation. At 236,800 square kilometers, it is roughly 42 times smaller than the United States. By area, it is ranked 84th in the world. Approximately 7 million people live there, making up 0.09% of the global population. Its population places it 105th in the world.
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