Planning a trip to Laos? This beautiful south-east Asian country is a true hidden gem. It’s not flooded with tourists, but it probably should be – thanks to its dramatic mountain scenery, excellent trekking opportunities and vibrant culture. 

If it’s your first time visiting Laos, you might want to start with one of its most popular destinations. Read on for the lowdown on Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Vang Vieng.

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang boasts a rich architectural, artistic and cultural heritage, which is one of the reasons the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It has remarkably well-preserved colonial architecture, incredible street food and markets, and a number of stunning golden temples to explore.  

Luang Prabang also has nature on its doorstep, so you’ll be within easy reach of dramatic waterfalls, turquoise waters, hiking trails and native wildlife. 

Best things to do in Luang Prabang:

  • Explore 30+ temples spread throughout the city, including the oldest – Wat Xieng Thong
  • Grab a croissant from one of the many excellent bakeries in Luang Prabang
  • Hire a motorbike and visit Kuang Si Falls
  • Browse and eat your way around the Luang Prabang Night Market.


The country’s capital sits on the banks of the mighty Mekong River, so there are plenty of opportunities for  promenade strolls and coffee at one of the many riverside cafes. Vientiane is famously laid-back, as well as budget-friendly – with a low cost of living and many free attractions. 

It’s also known for its fabulous street food, making it one of the best places to visit in Laos for authentic cuisine. 

Best things to do in Vientiane:

  • Sightseeing – including landmarks like the Patuxai Victory Gate, Presidential Palace, Wat Si Saket temple and the incredible Pha That Luang monument
  • Visit the Buddha Park, an open air sculpture park just outside the city centre
  • Browse the bustling Vientiane Night Market on the Mekong Riverfront
  • Spend an educational day at the Lao Textile Museum and Lao National Museum. 

Vang Vieng

Known as a party town, the small town of Vang Vieng is also the unofficial outdoor adventure capital of Laos. It sits in dramatic scenery, on the Nam Song River and surrounded by limestone mountains and caves. If you love hiking, exploring, kayaking, swimming and immersing yourself in nature, Vang Vieng will be the perfect base camp for your trip to Laos. 

Best things to do in Vang Vieng:

  • Drink in panoramic views and see the sunset at the Pha Ngern and Nam Xay viewpoints
  • Explore the Jang Cave and Tham Change cave
  • Visit the Kaeng Nyui Waterfall
  • Go swimming at one of the Blue Lagoons
  • Kayak along the Nam Song River.

Need help putting your dream trip to Laos together? Personalise every detail with the help of your own Blank Canvas travel expert. You can do whatever you want, from foodie tours of Luang Prabang’s night markets to motorbike excursions in Vang Vieng. Get in touch to start planning!