Things to Do in Laos Not Many People Know

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Laos has always been a fascinating country in Southeast Asia. There are many things to do in Laos that allow you to explore more of its history and rich culture. Their economy is growing faster than in the other countries in this region.

Vientiane, the capital, is a great example. This is a modern city that has had a lot of influence from the country’s history that is still prominent today. There is also a wide range of scenic landscapes that you can discover. The landmarks around the cities and villages are great for sightseeing. 

Other tourists like the more adventurous side of Laos to experience its natural wonders. The major tourist sites have started to get international attention from travelers. There are still plenty of things to do in Laos that are worth your attention.

Vat Visounarath

Vat Visounarath is the oldest standing temple in Laos which amazes with its unique architecture.

You will come across a site in the city center of Luang Prabang that has several temples. The most known temple on this site is Vat Visounarath. Vat Visounarath is the oldest temple in Laos that is still standing. It’s more than 500 years old, originally being completed in 1512, although it was rebuilt in 1898.

The first noticeable characteristic of this temple is the architecture. Its design was influenced by another temple which was in the south of the country. It stands out from the other temples on the site since it resembles more of a building structure than a stupa. 

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Visitors can explore the inside of the temple. You will discover an extensive collection of various Buddha statues that are kept here. Vat Visounarath is still an active temple so you may even come across a ceremony of monks praying.

The architecture and cultural significance make Vat Visounarath one of the top things to do in Luang Prabang.

Setthathirath Statue

Located in the Pha That Luang is the statue of the most important leader in Laotian history.

The capital of Laos is Vientiane. It is the country’s largest city and holds many of the top things to do in Laos. There are landmarks all around the city. Some of them are the most popular in all of Laos. 

The most iconic monument in Vientiane is Pha That Luang. This monument is known as the golden stupa. Behind this monument is another noteworthy statue of Setthathirath. Without him, Laos wouldn't be a country today.

Setthathirath is considered one of the most important leaders in Lao’s history. He successfully defended the country while being King from being taken over by neighboring countries. He also commissioned several significant landmarks to be built while in reign. The most popular is Pha That Luang. 

The Setthathirath statue often gets overlooked because the main focal point is the stupa. His statue is located on the same grounds. Many worshippers come to pray at the statue. During prayer, they may leave behind gifts such as flowers, candles, and even money.

Phou Khoun Observation Site

Phou Khoun Observation Site showcases the beautiful nature and landscape of Laos, contrasting the city life.

Laos has a fantastic landscape. A view and experience of it should always be on your things to do in Laos. A must-see destination is the Phou Khoun Observation Site.

This site is along a major highway that stretches a significant length of the country, from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. Many visitors come across this site while traveling between Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng.

The Phou Khoun Observation Site will give you incredible views of the country’s scenic landscape. It’s a huge contrast from the city life you’ll find in the capital. Everything around this region is more rural. There are many layers of mountains surrounded by lush green forests. The high elevation actually places you above the clouds.

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Tour buses traveling this route often stop here for pictures. The winding roads also make it a popular cycling route. Visitors can also enjoy the local restaurants and shops that are in the area.

Tham Nam

Tham Nam is one of the numerous caves carved by a vast river network in Northern Laos.

There is a vast river network located near Van Vieng that runs through the mountains in the region. These rivers have carved out numerous caves over time. The most known cave that attracts tourists is called Tham Nam.

Tham Nam is a water cave that’s open to visitors to explore. It’s an entire experience visiting this site. First, you have to climb the mountain. It also must be partially explored using tubes since it’s a water cave. Tubing with a group is a standard way to journey into the dark cave.

You can also choose to kayak or even swim through it. The cave is filled with various rock formations that have developed naturally. After making it through the water entrance, you can then explore the rest of the cave on foot.

Tourists often consider this activity one of the most fun things to do in Laos. Not only do you get the chance to be adventures, but also you can explore the cave with a guide that provides detailed information about everything you discover here. You can get a bus from Vientiane to Vang Vieng and enjoy the beauty of Tham Nam.

Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden

Pha Tad Ke is a great showcase of beautiful Laotian landscape.

The Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden was built to support the growth of eco-tourism in Laos. This is one of the many things to do in Laos to experience nature. 

The garden was set up as a research and educational center. Its design also keeps in mind the enjoyment of visitors, so they are always welcome.

There are many things to see at this botanical garden. It houses a wide variety of plant life that’s found around Laos. Visitors can explore the garden as well as the surrounding landscapes that are incorporated with your visit.

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Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden offers several tours to add to the excitement. The garden is located along the Mekong River so many of the tours include a boat ride down the river. There is also a nearby Buddha Cave that’s open to tourist.


You can find many of the most iconic landmarks in Laos around the main cities and tourist hubs. Although it is not a vast country, there are still a lot of things to do in Laos. Sometimes, the best sites can be found traveling between destinations. Laos has an amazing culture that has shaped a lot of the top attractions. The landscape of the country also provides visitors with lots of natural beauty. You can easily get around Laos to get to some of the best sights. It really is a place worth exploring more to be a part of the growing tourism industry in Laos.

Bryan Shelmon a freelance writer for aSabbatical.com
The best part about travelling is experiencing completely different ways of living that make you appreciate life even more.