How to Plan a 6-Days Trip in Laos?
Laos, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a renowned eco-tourism destination. It features expansive forests, high mountains, and navigable rivers. However, Laos boasts a rich cultural and historical legacy, allowing travelers to enjoy rewarding sightseeing.
You can see a lot during a several-day tour of the republic. And this article will help you plan a six days trip in Laos that grants the best experience.
The most classic Six-day Laos Tour Itineraries
When planning how to spend six days in Laos, buy airline tickets for efficient transfers. Buses, the other main transport option, tend to be inconsistent due to various reasons. So resort to flying whenever possible since even short journeys can become very long.
With that settled, let's see how your classic Laos itineraries should like.
Classic Laos Tour 1
Day 1 - Vientiane
Arrival in Vientiane, the Lao capital. Depending on the time of your arrival, visit some top attractions in the downtown area or have a stroll. Wat (Temple) Sisaket and Hophakaew Museum, a former place of worship, are good places to begin your Laos tour.
Hophakaew used to shelter Emerald Buddha, whose present location is in Bangkok, Thailand. Inside the ex-temple, you can admire various Lao objects and Khmer carvings. A gilded throne, Buddha statues, and Hindu motifs are some exhibited items.
Wat Sisaket is the only Vientiane temple featuring the original design. Built in the early 19th century, it is a Thai-style structure. The Buddhist place of worship prides on exceptional wall paintings, Buddha images, and illustrations of Jataka tales, among other exhibits.
Day 2 – Vientiane
On the second day of your trip in Laos, visit Wat Si Muang, Pha That Luang, and National Museum. Wat Si Muang honors a female who sacrificed herself for a greater good and, thus, is considered a patron saint of Vientiane. Scenes of Buddha's lives, friezes, and carved, gilded pillars are some highlights of Si Muang Temple.
Pha That Luang, a golden stupa northeast of the city center, is a symbol of Laos. The locals believe that it shelters Buddha's relic. The surrounding, smaller stupas feature inscriptions conveying teachings of the founder of Buddhism.
Pha That Luang
Finally, the National Museum, housed in a colonial-style villa, exhibits showpieces relating to the history and culture of Laos. Here, you can learn about the Lan Xang Kingdom and Siamese (Thai) and French occupations, among other things.
During your second day of the Laos six-day tour, allocate time to admire Patuxay Monument, the local version of Triumphal Arch in Paris. While elaborating on the monument, acquaint yourself with Brahma, Vishnu, and Erawan, a few principal deities of the Hindu religion.
Day 3 – Journey from the Lao capital to Luang Prabang
If you are an early riser, catch a flight from Vientiane to Luang Prabang that takes off at 9:30 am. Otherwise, book a flight that departs the capital's airport at noon. On average, the duration of the journey is 45 minutes.
During the rest of the day, explore Buddhist temples the city is famous for. Sample local, French-influenced dishes in Buffet Street and shop at the Night Market. Around sunset, climb Mount Phousi to admire panoramic views of the city, nearby mountains, and the Mekong River.
Day 4 – Mekong cruise and a trip to Kuang Si Waterfalls
On the fourth day of your trip to Laos, join a morning Mekong River cruise. It takes you to Pak Ou Caves via Bang Xanghai Village.
At first glance, the village is like any other in Laos, but what makes it a must-visit Lao destination is rice wine produced there. When browsing drinks, don't flinch when you see a snake or an insect inside the bottle. It is there for a better flavor.
Kuang Si Waterfalls
Pak Ou Caves, overlooking the Mekong, is the attraction consisting of two caves. Accessible via a jetty, Pak Ou shelters thousands of Buddha statues. The lower cave benefits of daily light, but to tour the upper one, bring a lamp or some other source of illumination.
The second part of the day takes you to Kuang Si Falls, one of the top natural attractions of the Republic of Laos. Located in a verdant jungle, the 50-meter (165-foot) high waterfall offers exceptional photo opportunities from up and down. Water flows over cascades into pools, which tempts travelers to have a bath.
Day 5 – Luang Prabang and optionally Tad Sae Falls
If your trip to Laos and Luang Prabang takes place from August to November, make sure to visit Tad Sae. During the wet season, the waterfall features streams whose waters, flowing over limestone formations, produce roaring noise. Enjoy swimming in the pools at the base of the Tad Sea.
Temples of Xiengthong and Aham and Royal Palace are a few top points of interest in Luang Prabang for travelers. Xiengthong is, from artistic, cultural, and historical perspectives, the most significant temple in the city. There, examine murals, carved ornamentation, and the Luang Prabang architectural style, which combines Lao and Thai elements.
Aham introduces the protagonists of a famous Hindu Ramayana epic and Jataka tales. Wat Aham is also the place where you can learn how the Buddhists conceive hell.
Royal Palace Museum exhibits works of art relating to Buddhism and Hinduism, the way of life at the beginning of the 20th century, and statues of Lao monarchs. The building combines Lao and French Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts) styles.
Day 6 – Departure from Luang Prabang
If you have time before your departure, pay a quick visit to Wat Sena and Wat Wisunalat. The former is a brightly-colored temple, while the latter prides on the religious art collection.
Classic Laos Tour 2
Since international airlines fly both to Vientiane and Luang Prabang, you can reverse the order of the itinerary number 1.
Days 1, 2 and 3 – Luang Prabang
Please refer to the days 3, 4 and 5 of the previous Six Days Laos itinerary.
Day 4 – Flight to Vientiane
There are two daily departures from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, the capital of the Lao People's Democratic Republic. These take off at 10:45 am and 1:15 pm. Flight times are typically 45 minutes.
Refer to Day 1 of the Classic Laos Tour number 1 for the insights on how to spend the rest of the day.
Day 5 – Vientiane
Please take a look at the Day 2 section of the previous tour.
Day 6 – Departure from Vientiane and Laos
Vientiane airport is near the city center, and you can get there in around 15 minutes by taxi. The fare is usually a few USD.
Bonus Laos itineraries
If you wish to spend more time in nature and less in a city, Laos is one of the best destinations in Southeast Asia for that.
Bonus Tour of the Democratic Republic no 1
Days 1 and 2 – Vientiane
Please refer to the corresponding days of the Classic Laos itinerary number 1.
Day 3 – Journey to Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng is a small town located approximately halfway between Vientiane and Luang Prabang. It features a diverse nature that amazes outdoor enthusiasts.
The distance from the Lao capital to Vang Vieng is 150km/93mi. Travel times are over four, even five, hours by bus and around three hours by taxi if the road conditions are good.
Days 4 and 5 – Vang Vieng
During your time in and around Vang Vieng, you can enjoy various outdoor activities. Mountain climbing, water sports, caving, trekking, hiking, and biking are some of them. Rafting, kayaking, and ballooning are extra alternatives.
As you explore the countryside of Vang Vieng, take photos of scenic rice fields, blue lagoons, and karst formations. Also, you will have ample opportunities to admire panoramic views from the mountains.
Day 6 – Vang Vieng to Vientiane
Return to Vientiane, the capital of the Democratic Republic, and conclude your Laos trip.
Bonus Laos itinerary no 2
Days 1 and 2 – Luang Prabang
Please refer to the days 3-6 of the Classic Laos Tour 1 to identify activities and attractions you wish to include in this itinerary.
Day 3 – Traveling to Vang Vieng
To get from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng, you have two routes. The first route is a direct one, while the second takes you via Vientiane by airplane. As strange as this route may appear, it is worth considering since road conditions are much better between the capital of Laos and the final destination.
The distance between Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng is 180km/110mi. The average duration of the journey by bus is five hours if road conditions are OK. If you choose this option, you will have a great time enjoying the countryside along the way.
Days 4 and 5 – Vang Vieng Town
Please refer to the corresponding days of the First Bonus Laos itinerary.
Day 6 – Departure from Vang Vieng and Laos
As pointed out, choosing Vientiane over Luang Prabang as a departure point from the Lao People's Democratic Republic offers more benefits.
Besides Vientiane, Luang Prabang, and Vang Vieng, you can consider including some other tourist destinations of Laos in the itinerary. These are Pakse, Savannakhet, and Bokeo Nature Reserve near Huay Xai. Note, however, that including the destinations elaborated in the classic and bonus itineraries offers the best value for six-day trips in Laos.
The area around Savannakhet boasts national parks, while Bokeo teems with wildlife. The best reason why you may consider going to Pakse is Si Phan Don. "4,000 Islands" is an archipelago in the Mekong river some 150km/93mi away from the city of Pakse.
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