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10 Unique Experiences We Had In Laos, The Tiny But Crazy And Beautiful Southeast Asian Country

Updated: Mar 31

Chances are you've only heard of Laos vaguely or in passing or bundled up in Vietnam. You never really hear of anyone or anything from Laos really, do you?

And yet Laos, this tiny, unassuming country packs a punch! Surrounded by Vietnam on the east and Thailand on the South, Laos is a great add-on country on your Southeast Asia trip but also just great travel destination by itself.


Even though I went to Laos in 2016 - almost 8 years ago and a lot might have changed by now, I remember my trip like it was yesterday.


So here's my recommendation for a fulfilling 3-day Laos itinerary and 10 unique and crazy experiences to have in this country.


Vang Vieng


1.Go to the The cafes that play Friends and Seinfeld


vang vieng cafes that play Friends and Seinfeld


Laos was the second leg of our Vietnam trip and we took a 36-hour long bus (!!!) from Hanoi to arrive in Van Vieng, the crazy and hippie small village in central Laos. At first, the village wouldn't strike you but spend a few hours and you'll get a taste of how unique the place. The tourist hub main street is lined with cafes that play Friends and Seinfeld in no particular order! Clearly catering to the Western tourists, but even then the rather unusual choice of sitcoms makes a familiar and fun thing to do.


2. Have happy pizzas and shrooms right off the menu



opium shakes and magic mushrooms in laos


Come evening, the happy Friends and Seinfield playing cafes are quite the "drug" hubs! Well not quite because drugs like shrooms and weed are looked aside in Laos and you'll easily find them listed on the cafe menu! Mind you, this info is from 2016, and things might have changed now.


Can someone confirm?


3. Go Tubing (or Kayaking) on the Nam Song river


tubing in laos


The Nam Song river snakes past charming countryside of Laos but that's not what it's famous in the backpacker circles for. Back in the day, Laos was famous for having its famous "tubing" parties where one would be loaded on a tube and float down the river stopping by the many bars along the river, taking a drink before floating off on and stopping by the next one, drunker and drunker as you went further along the river. Needlessly to say, this was a dangerous activity and the Laoan govt were quick to ban it! However, tubing is still alive in Laos, even as most of the river-bank bars have closed. But according to some accounts, a couple of cafe-bars are still on and tubing and Kayaking although much more regulated and under the watchful eyes of the govt are still happening and worth doing just for the serene and calming views on a lazy noon.


4. Go under-cave tubing


underwater caves in laos


Tubing is the recurring theme in Laos and almost rivers and water activities involve being on a tube. Laos and Vietnam have some of the most expansive cave systems in the world and accordingly under-cave kayaking, hiking and in this case, tubing are an attraction. In this case, we were on a tube tied to a cable going inside a large cave. As you go inside the cave, darkness envelops you and all you have is your rope and some LED lights to navigate you through the cavernous water cave. Scary in bits, it's a unique experience and must-do in Laos. End the cave-tubing expedition with a packed lunch of barbecued pineapple, potatoes and salad.


6. Dive into the Blue lagoon


blue lagoon laos

Close to the underwater caves is the famous Blue Lagoon of Laos. As the name suggests, it's a sparkling, if tiny, blue pond in the middle of a forest. You can try diving into the Blue Lagoon directly or after multiple attempts swinging from a tree-tied sling into the water. Either ways, the Blue Lagoon is a ton of fun and is a must-do experience in Laos.


7. Walk through the Kuangsi waterfalls park



kuangsi waterfalls laos
Kuangsi water falls, Laos

The Kuangsi waterfalls are and personally the most impressive and largest waterfalls I've seen. While the Niagra falls are famous for their width and height, Kuangsi falls are unique in terms of their unique step-formations across a large area. In that Kuangsi ain't one, but a series of waterfalls over steps across a large forest area. At their largest parts, they could cover upto 50 steps or levels, with their emerald waters falling gently surrounded by green forests.


Luang Prabang


8. Witness "Tak Bat" an alms giving ceremony in Luang Prabang



alms ceremony luang prabang laos


Just a few hours away from Vang Vieng is the spiritual town of Luang Prabang where many monasteries are located. An amazing experience to witness here is the alms ceremony every morning when all the monks come out and line up and food and other objects of daily convenience are given off as the alms by the locals. The entire ceremony happens like clockwork, quietly and puts you in a contemplative state of mind. (As a traveler, please avoid taking too many photos, absolutely no selfies with the monks or hounding them to get closeups.)


9. Sip a Beer Lao


beer laos


Every place in Southeast Asia has its own version of cheap National beer. Vietnam has Viet, Thailand has Chang's, (and of course the beer buckets) and Laos has Beer Lao. One is almost tempted to say "Beer Lao Beer Lao" to the servers! (My Indian audience would appreciate this joke.)


10. Go to the crazy Vientiane Buddha park


Buddha park vientiane laos


As the Laon capital, you will likely spend at least a day on your way to or way back from Laos. While it's a regular city for the locals, the crazy of Laos can be found even here! The Buddha park can be visited by taking a cheap local bus in the morning if you have a few hours to kill before your flight or bus out of Laos. The park is full of hundreds of statues of Buddha and many other deities in all poses and postures. Some are normal, but some are outright crazy. What makes the park crazy is just the sheer number of Buddha statues nonchalantly lying around, more like an amusement park than a temple!


We didn't go to Laos expecting much, but boy did it deliver! It's almost crazy how many travelers miss out on this tiny but experience-loaded country! Jao Jao, Lao jao! #sorry



 


About the author: I (Monica) am a lifelong traveler, (40 countries), sustainability and veganism advocate, and a marketer by profession. You can consider following me on Instagram, X, or Linkedin for more real-time content I'm too lazy to blog about.


Check out Shanti Spaces, a website I created to curate yoga schools, retreats and other spiritual and wellness events and courses across India.


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 I (Monica) am a lifelong traveler, (40 countries), sustainability and veganism advocate, and a marketer by profession. I'm old school in that I still like to blog and document rather than shoot and post.

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