Can’t wait to visit Laos? It’s a naturally beautiful, diverse and historically fascinating place, with more to see and do than we could possibly tell you about here. But if you’re visiting for the first time, here are some of the best Laos highlights to put on your itinerary…

10. Puzzle at the prehistoric Plain of Jars

One of the most enigmatic and important prehistoric sites in Laos is the Plain of Jars, a landscape of carved stone jars believed to be more than 2,000 years old. The jars is believed to be associated with prehistoric burial practices, but the site still remains shrouded in mystery.

9. Lose yourself in the charming French Quarter of Vientiane

If you’re visiting Laos, you have to swing by its so-often-overlooked capital of Vientiane at least once. Highlights include a its French Quarter with delightful French-inspired architecture, plus brilliant local markets, temples and Laos’ own version of the Parisian Arc de Triomphe.

8. Explore the history of Laos’ war shelter caves

Take the unique opportunity to explore the seven cave complexes in Vieng Xai which were used as war shelters by politicians, civilians and even royalty during the conflict years of 1964 to 1973. There were living quarters, hospitals, weaving mills and a library, all under the natural protection of the cave. Make sure you get a guided tour, as there’s so much fascinating history to learn here! Similar caves exist across the north.

7. Stroll through Buddha Park

Perfect for a day trip, Buddha Park boasts 200+ religious statues, including an enormous reclining Buddha.

6. Kayaking and riverside hammocks at Vang Vieng

There’s so much to do in the ruggedly beautiful, laid-back Vang Vieng, from white water rafting and kayaking to ziplining and cave exploration. And when you need a break, hop into a riverside hammock with a Beer Lao and watch the world go by.

5. Phongsali mountain trek with forest views and Chinese architecture

Wrap up warm and start the challenging trek up to mountainous Phongsali. Here, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic forest views and a glimpse of multiple examples of Chinese architecture – a key part of the region’s history.

4. Stay in a treehouse with the gibbons

Any visitor to Laos must visit the Bokeo Nature Reserve, for the chance to see native wildlife including Asiatic black bears, gibbons and even giant squirrels. You can even live among them at the Gibbon Experience, where you’ll sleep under the forest canopy in treehouses.

3. Go palace and temple hopping in Luang Prabang

You can’t move for former royal palaces, temples, orange-robed monks and French colonial architecture in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang. And make sure you check out the colourful night market, a real feast for the senses.

2. Hit the biking trails of the Bolaven Plateau

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll love the biking and trekking opportunities at the Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos. Here, you’ll find beautiful, unspoilt scenery, ethnic villages and some of the most jaw-dropping waterfalls in this part of the world.

1. Marvel at the Tat Kuang Si waterfalls

Just 30km from Luang Prabang, you’ll find one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Asia. Tat Kuang Si is a multi-tiered cascade of water falling into dreamy turquoise pools – many of which are perfect for a refreshing dip. Swing off ropes into the water, take a picnic in the public park and fall in love with the gorgeous wild Asiatic moon bears which have been rescued from poachers.

Love the sound of some of these fantastic experiences, or want to do it all? Speak to your personal travel expert at Blank Canvas and pop it all on your own bespoke itinerary. Find Laos travel inspiration, and start planning your trip right here.