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Best attractions in Laos: Top 10

The small state of Laos is a wild, exotic, multi-faceted neighbor of well-known Vietnam and Thailand. Although there is no sea here, this point is compensated by a variety of attractions of Laos - the most ancient temples, the history of which is measured in centuries, dense tropical forests, mysterious caves, picturesque mountains, gorges and waterfalls, as well as the special way of life of inhabitants of this state. Anyway, you won’t have any questions about what to see in Laos, the choice of interesting places here is very rich. Warm weather in Laos is pleasant at any time of year, just take into account the rainy season.

What to see in Laos first

Despite the fact that tourism in the country is only developing, hotels in Laos are classified according to the European system of service evaluation. Excursions in Laos does not imply fuss and rush, each trip is an opportunity to thoroughly get acquainted with the next attraction, which has its own unique mystery. So when choosing what to see in Laos in 1 day you should focus not on quantity but on quality, as detailed acquaintance with every historical and natural monument will allow you to take in the spirit of these places and discover the real Laos. A rating of interesting places in Laos will allow you to choose the best attractions to compose your travel itinerary.

1. Buddha Park (Wat Xiengkhuan)

Central Buddha Park religious sculptures

All guides in Laos recommend visitors to the country to visit this place. 20 kilometers from the capital of Laos is the Buddha Park, a sculpture complex in the heart of the park area. This landmark of Laos is famous for the amazing Hindu and Buddhist statues, arranged here in a chaotic order, all of them here more than two hundred. Each of the sculptures is unique in its own way, the painting technique gives the impression of antiquity - however, the entire complex is a modern creation. Particularly popular is the bright 3-story building, which embodies the three religious hypostases - earth, hell and paradise. Once inside, you can see for yourself what awaits you in each of these places.

2. The Arc de Triomphe de Patoussay

Musical fountain in the square in front of Patusay Arch of Triumph

When choosing what to see in Laos, namely in its capital, the Patusai Arch is worth looking at. The structure was erected in the heart of Vientiane at the end of the 1960s. Structurally, the architectural masterpiece is a copy of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, but the latter is several meters lower. The arch symbolizes the struggle for independence of the inhabitants of Laos from the French and Americans. Today, local residents are proud of their symbol of independence immortalized in this monument. On the towers of the arch is four viewing platforms from which you can view the panorama of many city streets. There you can buy souvenirs and other paraphernalia in the numerous shops and cafes.

3. Royal Palace and Ho Kham Temple (Luang Prabang)

The majestic temple at the Ho Kham Royal Palace-Museum

In the northern part of the republic, two hundred kilometers from its capital, is another attraction in Laos, the Ho Kham Palace. The palace, originally decorated in Lao and neoclassical French styles, was built in honor of the republic’s first ruler, Sisavang Vong, and today there is a museum inside the palace. Among its famous exhibits is an exact replica of the Golden Buddha, presented by the Khmer king to the ruler of Laos. Particular attention should be paid to the frescoes on the walls of the palace. There is also a majestic temple in the palace complex, where the royal throne sits under the watchful eye of the local guards.

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4. Pak Ou Caves

Wooden boats on the Mekong River in front of Pak Ou Caves

What to visit in Laos from natural sites? One of the most revered sanctuaries and most important attractions in Laos is the Pak Ou Caves. This complex of caves has been used as a temple since before the advent of Buddhism. Since the advent of Buddhism, the caves have been filled with countless Buddha figures of different sizes and shapes, and by today their number is several thousand. The locals believe that the caves are home to a good spirit. The great cultural value makes these caves an important attraction.

5. Wat Sisaket Temple

View of the temple at Wat Sisaket Monastery

Wat Sisaket is a Buddhist landmark in Laos in metropolitan Vientiane, erected in 1824. According to some versions this temple is the oldest in the capital and was thoroughly reconstructed in 20-30 years of the last century. The temple itself is surrounded by a wall, which is not typical of Buddhist sanctuaries. In the niches of the temple installed more than two thousand silver and ceramic statuettes of Buddha. In general, the Wat Sisaket complex includes several buildings - for example, there is a library with a mass of valuable manuscripts. The main temple is generously covered with frescoes that are considered the oldest in the entire city. In the center of the pagoda stands a large statue of Buddha with a snake covering the deity. Around the temple are cells for the temple servants.

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See the beautiful places of Laos in this wonderful video!

Laos sights: what else to visit in Laos?

The main attractions are not the whole list of things to see in Laos. Other interesting and memorable places also deserve separate attention, and if you have some time left at your disposal, we recommend to go on a trip to other, no less attractive sights of Laos, the rating of which is given below.

6. Valley of Pitchers

Scenery of the mysterious Jug Valley

What to see in Laos in Sianquphuang province? Of course, it is first and foremost the Valley of Jugs, a mysterious place with thousands of stone vessels chaotically “scattered” all over the area. Giant jugs have different shapes - from cylindrical to rectangular, ranging in size from half a meter to 3 meters, some of them stand upright, others are fallen. They are believed to be between 1,500 and 2,000 years old. There are countless speculations as to why and by whom these peculiar gigantic vessels were created. According to scientists, they were used by ancient peoples, and historians believe that the pots may have been used as funerary urns. There is also a version that the vessels were used to collect rainwater. Locals, on the other hand, believe that the jars were used to store rice wine.

7. Pha That Luang Temple

Golden figure of the reclining Buddha in the open air at Pha That Luang Temple

Asked what to see in Laos, it is recommended to pay attention to another Laos attraction - the temple of Pha That Luang, also called the Golden Stupa. This recommendation is justified - the pagoda has become a symbol of the whole country, and since 1991 its image even appeared on the emblem of the Republic. The temple itself is perhaps the most revered shrine in Laos. The history of the temple is 4.5 centuries - it was built in 1566 and immediately after its construction around the shrine were built other temples. Today there are many Khmer and Laotian statues on the grounds of the pagoda, and there is also the current residence of the Laotian patriarch. Every year the area hosts the Great Stupa Festival for three days in November.

8. Mekong River

Green mountains along the banks of the Mekong River

The main waterway in Laos is the Mekong River, which has excellent water transportation. If you are advising where to go in Laos for a vivid experience, it is certainly rafting on the Mekong - a great way to get to know the country from the inside. The sources of the Mekong River originates in the mountains of Tibet, and making a path length of 4.5 thousand miles, the river flows into the South China Sea. The riverside has become an ideal place for a large population of Laos. There are many rice paddies and countless fish in the waters. Nevertheless, enormous hydropower resources are practically unused here - the level of technical development is very low.

9. Ruins of Wat Phu

The ancient road among the ruins of Wat Phu temple complex

What to visit in Laos from architectural monuments? The ruins of Wat Phu temple complex is a distinctive monument to Khmer history, a rock temple built presumably in the 6th-12th centuries on the foundations of older sanctuaries. The temple is surrounded by palaces in the early Angkor style - the northern and southern, the purpose of which is still unknown. The architecture of the temple complex uses Cokerian and Angkorian styles, and the skillful wood carvings on the façade delight in the fine detailing. From the rock, next to which the temple is located, there is a healing spring, which makes Wat Phu a unique structure among all the buildings of the Khmer civilization.

10. Tat Quang Si Falls

Tat Quang Si Falls turquoise water pools

In the thickest part of the jungle is the picturesque natural landmark of Laos, the Tat Quang Si Waterfall. The beauty of the waterfall is accentuated by the many rapids, where water cascades down, and the unusual bluish water color resulting from the interaction of lime and carbon dioxide in the water. The highest threshold of the waterfall is 54 meters high, and it reproduces the deafening roar of falling water, which can be heard from afar. The waterfall is at its fullest during the rainy season, which lasts from August to November.

Travelling to Laos is not like a typical vacation with a passive vacation at the seaside, but reviews of the trip are always only positive. There are no noisy parties, extreme entertainment and jogging, but there is an atmosphere of calm, serenity and unity with nature, and rest in Laos ends with a lot of beautiful photos and wonderful memories. Near Laos is a country with many temples and natural attractions - Myanmar. While traveling in Laos, think about visiting this country as well. Read about Myanmar attractions and get inspired for your future journey to Asia!