Vientiane is the capital of Laos with the area of 3,920 square kilometres and the population size of 569,000. It is located on the bank of the Mekong river. Through the largest city in the country: Most travellers are fascinated by the city’s exotic Eurasian setting.
The confluence of several cultures has given Vientiane an appealing ambience. Tree-lined boulevards, French historical dwellings and Buddhists
Thalaung temples dominate the scene of central Vientiane and impart a unique character of timelessness.
Vientiane’s That Luang stupa is the most impressive and biggest stupa in Laos, featured on the Lao insignia. This stupa was constructed in 1566 by King Setthathirat. The Siamese damaged it badly during their invasion in 1828, but it was restored in the 1936s. In mid-November, religious rites as well as a fair are held here during the That Luang festival.
Vat Phra Keo was also constructed by King Setthathirat. It was rebuilt after the Siamese razed it during the Siamese-Lao war of 1828. The building had housed the Emerald Buddha until it was taken to Bangkok following a skirmish with the Lao in 1778. Vat Phra Keo still displays some of the finest Buddha sculptures found in the country.
The Patousay on Lane Xang Avenue is a large monument reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. its architecture incorporates typical Lao motifs. From the top one can have a panoramic view of the entire city.
Vat Sisaket is the oldest temple of Vientiane which has survived in its original form. Inside the main hall, and along the walls of the courtard surrounding it, a total of 6840 Buddha images rest in small niches or on shelves. At Vat Ong Teu resides the Buddhist Institute where monks can study their religion under the guidance of senior instructors.
Revolutionary Museum, housed in an impressive French colonial building, The museum pays tribute to the sacrifices of the Lao People in freeing the country from colnial rule. The upstairs galleries feature photographs, artifacts and old weapons from the revolution, as well as maps, paintings and dioramas. Downstairs hlds an archaeological display and exhibits about modern Laos.
Vat Xieng Khouane (Buddha Park): the park is in pleasant and it’s a religious sculture park located by the Mekong River 24 kilometres downriver from Vientiane. Features include an enomous concrete reclining Buddha, and a three-tiered model of heaven, earth and hell which visitors may climb through.
Vientiane Province offers impressive scenery with the area of 15,927 square kilometres and the population size of 311,000. At Vangvieng, 160 Km north of Vientiane municipality, breathtaking limestone formations nestle along the Song river. The rocks are honeycombed with numerous caves, the nost famous of which is Tham Jang. Many of these caves can be reached by foot from Vangvieng.
Located 90 Km north of Vientiane municipality is the Nam Ngum reservoir, a huge artificial lake created as part of a hydroelectric scheme.
The lake is dotted with hundreds of picturesque islands, which can be explored by cruising around in small boats. It might also be interesting to watch the locals felling underwater teak trees which were submerged when the Nam Ngum lake area was inundated. Near the lake, at Vangsang, primitive Buddha images, dating from the 11th century, are carved into a rock cliff.
Is situated in the most Northern tip of Laos, enclosed three sides by china and Vietnam and cut off to overland travel from Oudomsay to the South with the area of 16,270 square kilometres and the population size of 165,000. It consists of six districts: Phongsaly, Muangmai, Muangkhua, Samphan, Sombounxay and Yot Ou. More than twenty ethnicities make up the province’s population of approximately 153,400; among them Iko, Loma, Akha, Pusang, Thai Dam, Thai Deng, Yao, Thai Lu, Khamou, Phai, Solo, Lao Hoy.. etc. All retain distinct cultures, Languages and religious beliefs, though their most obvious difference is their dress of the women of each tribe. Handicraft skills-notably in weaving, embroidery and making silver jewellry are also well developed.
Phongsaly can be reached by road and river, from Oudomsay it is possible to travel by road as far as Muangkhua in Southern Phongsaly then continue from Muangkhua by boat. From Luangnamtha it is possible to travel by road via Muangla (Yunnan province, china). From Luangprabang it is possible through the Nam Ou river straight north into the hearth of Phongsaly. Another way, you can travel by Lao Aviation which provides two flights per week.
Huaphanh province, a mysterious, beautiful and abundant land, is situated in the North East of Laos, bordered by Xieng Khuang and Luang Prabang to the west and Vietnam to the East with the area of 16,500 square kilometres and the population size of 265,600. It was the base if the Lao People’s Revolutionary activities and especially the historic interest as the geographical heart of the liberation struggle.
The province has a total population of around 247,300; consisting of many ethnic groups, each with their own life styles costumes folk ways in wedding and songs, differing from each other.
Huaphan has six districts: Viengxay, Xamneua, Xamtai, Viengthong, Xiengkho and Huamuang.
The Principal town is Viengxay the former name know as Nakai, according to the former time this area had many of birds, reptiles, wild animals.
The Province is also a famous by limestone mountains and caves; more than one hundred caves are located in this area, such as Tham Than Souphanouvong, the former name know as Tham Phapount, in 1964 Mr. Souphanouvong came to set up his residence in this cave. Tham Than Kaysone, the former name Known as Tham Yonesong, in 1964 this cave was established for the residence of Mr. Kaysone Phomvihane. Tham Than Khamtay is the part of Tham Xanglot, it was also the residence of Mr. Khamtay Siphandone; consisting of many compartments, such as meeting room, reception room and research room..etc.
Is situated in the North West of Laos; sharing borders with Vientiane and Luang Prabang in the East and Thailand in the west with the area of bounXang16,389 square kilometres and the population size of 316,800.
Sayaboury is the most attractive destinations with sights and charms peculiar to itself and picturesque North-West region.
The landscape of Sayaboury is magnificent by several peaks altitudes of more than 1000 metres; the meadows and pastures with flower in full boom; the thick and tangled virgin forests etc…there are many beautiful things to see in Sayaboury.
The Principal town is commonly called Muang Sayaboury, where many impressive temples such as Vat Ban Thin, Vat Ban Phapoun and Vat Ban Natonoy are located.
The area of Muang Phieng, such as Ban Fainamtan, Ban Nakhem and Ban Nampoui have a tradition of agriculture because the land is fertile suitable for agricultural production; particularly rice, water melons, cabbages and sugar cane.
According to the local tradition, people who live in this area have been using elephants for pulling logs.
Luang Prabang Province
Luang Prabang is the ancient capital city of the Lane Xang Kingdom. According to legend, its first name was Muang Swa with the area of LuangPrabang
16,875 square kilometres and the population size of 396,100.
Later it was Known as Xing Thong, In recognition of the city’s vast array of Lao monuments and its historic and culturally signigicant setting, UNESCO declared Luang Prabang as a World Heritage Site in 1995.
Luang Prabang is situated at the confluence of the Khan and Mekong rivers. It is surrounded by green hills and impresses travellers with its gleaming temple roofs and crumbling French architecture. The town is dominated by the Phou Si hill. On its slopes several vats can be visited, and it is peaked by a 24-metre high stupa, That Chomsi. The top of Phousi affords astonishing views, especially during the serene sunsets which are characteristic of Luang Prabang.
Luang Prabang offers a numerous attractions. Vat Xieng Thong, built in 1560, represents classic local temple architecture. Its sim (chapel) is richly decorated and has a notable roof sweeping low to the ground. Other interesting temples are Vat Wisunalat, Vat Aham and Vat That Luang.
The Royal Palace Museum was constructed 1904-1909 as King Sisavang Vong’s palace. These days it functions as a museum. It houses the royal throne and some interesting royal artefacts. The building itself features a mixture of French beaux arts styles and traditional Lao motifs.
The ground floor of the museum is divided into several halls and rooms in which are displayed gifts from other countries to the Lao Kings and collections of swords and Budda images.
The room to right of the entry hall, once the King’s reception room, has walls covered with large scale murals painted in 1930 by the French artist Alix de Fautereau. They depict scenes from traditional Lao life. A room in the rear of the former palace contains a small collection of traditional musical instruments and dancers’ masks used for performances of the great Indian and Southeast Asia epic the Ramayana.
The spectacular Kuang Si waterfall is situated 29 km south of Luang Prabang deep in the forest. The waters tumble over multi tiered limestone formations into several cool, turquoise green pools ideal for relaxation and swimming.
Equally fascinating are the Pak Ou caves which can be reached by a 2 hour boat trip upstream from Luang Prabang. They are located within the steep rock cliff which rises vertically from the waters of the Mekong river at the point where it meets with the Nam Ou river. The lower cave, called Tham Ting, and the upper cave, Tham Prakachay, shelter numerous Buddha images of varying styles, ages and sizes, which have been brought to the cave by genrations of Buddhists.
Every April, during the celebration of the Lao New Year, Luang Prabang residents come up the Meknog by boat to make merit at the cave. The people bring Buddha images made of wood and metal as offerings.
Bane Pak Ou: on the eastern bank of the Mekong river opposite the caves of Tam Ting is Bane Pak Ou is a fishing village which regularly supplies fish to the market in Luang Prabang. The village grow rice in the paddy fields behind the village.
The village is a peaceful place with a thriving elementary school small shops sell among other things sweets and bottled drinks.
Xieng Khouang Province
Xieng Khouang province offers the awesome beauty of high green mountains and rugged karst formations with the area of 15,880 square kilometres and the population size of 311,100. The orighinal capital city, Muang Khun, was almost totally obliterated by US bombing and xiengkhuang
consequently, the capital was moved to nearby Phonsavanh. Of several Muang Khun Buddhist temples built between the 16th and 19th century, only ruins remain. Vat Pia Vat, however, survived the bombing and can be visited.
The main attraction in Xieng Khouang province is the Plain of Jars. Stone jars of different sizes, apparently carved out of solid rocks, are scattered all over the plateau. The biggest one reaches a height of 3.25 metres. Researchers have advanced different theories as to the function of the stone jars, which are estimated to be 2,500 to 3,000 years old. According to local legend, in the 6th century King Khun Chuang had the jars constructed in oreder to store wine for the celebration of his conquest of Xieng Khouang. Alternatively, some researchers have suggested the jars were crafted as sarcophagi. This theory is supported by the discovery of human bones and daily utensils nearby. To date, the exact use of the jars remains a mystery.
Approximately 52 km north of Phonsavanh, hot spring will appeal to travellers in search of relaxation. The waters of both, Ban Noi (Little Spring) and Ban Yai (Big Spring), reach a temperature of around 60 C.
Located along the three-border intersection of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, form part of the Golden Triangle with the area of 6,196 square kilometres and the population size of 123,300. It is home to a large number of minorities. Bokeo has five districts: Houixay, Ton Pheung, Muang, Pha Oudom, with 36 townships, more than 450 villages and a total population of 61,000, consisting of many ethnic groups, each with own lifestyles and customs. The most lucrative occupation in Bokeo is gold panning and digging for precious stones, where you can see at Ban Nam Khok (The Lu village), 6 km from the town and Ban Houi Sala (The Hmong village), it’s around 18 km far from the town of Houixay.
At Ban Namkeung Kout, Ban Namkeung Mai and Ban Done Deng, its’s 26 km far from the centre of Houixay town to the north where you can visit the traditional Lu village, who came originally from Muang Sing, Luang Namtha. The villages can be reached by boat trip, upstream from Houixay.
This moutainous northern province is wedged between Luang Prabang in the east, Phongsaly in the northeast, Xayaboury in the south and China sharing a small northern borders with the area of 15,370 square kilometres and the population size of 228,200. Most of the provincial population of 283,000 is a mixture of 23 ethnic groups such as Hmong, Iko, Khamu, Lamet etc, each with its own distinct culture, religion, language and colourful style of dress.
They are nonetheless hospitable and welcome visitors to their singular cultures are mostly untouched by 20th century.
The capital, Muang Say, lies between two strings of Hmong villages.
Oudomsay is also the ideal base for excursion and trekking to the varied sights and attractions, as well as destination in its own right.Muang Say is connected by road to Pakbeng, a rustic town stretching along the Mekong. Rrom there one can continue to Luang Prabang by boat, passing stone cliffs, undulating mountains and little fishing villages.
Luang Namtha Province
Luang Namtha with the area of 9,325 square kilometres and the population size of 124,000, is a northern province bordering on China and Myanmar and its selection is based upon a series of environment, social, cultural, historical and development factors which make the site an excellent location to evaluate the potential for sustainable cultural and ecotourism in and around a protected area. The forests are dense, and cover near 99% of the protected area. Wild cattle (gauar and banteng), Asian wild dogs, tigers, clouded leopard, bears and gibbons also having in the forests and there is still a large bird population.
The area is populated by a variety of different ethnic groups. They consist of Khamu. Akha, Hmong, Yao (Mien). Besides the province also consist of the lowland Lao, Tai Lue, Thai Neua and Thai Dam who live in village just outside the protected area and the historic town of Muang Sing. Muang Sing originally formed part of group of principalities loosely linked under the leadership of a political entity called the Sipsongpanna whose political seat centered in southern Yunnan province, China.
This province has a picturesque beauty with mountains, and many old temples. Although many temple have been destroyed during the war, there still remains one major attraction, and old temple noticeably different from other classical temples.
Usually tour itinerary includes and outing to Boten, the Lao-Chinese bouder checkpoint. South west of Luang Namtha, the still pristine forests of Nam Ha protected area with varieties of wildlife and vegetation can be found.
Is located in the central Laos in the narrow “neck“ with moderately high mountains sloping south west into the Mekong River valley with the area of 14,863 square kilometres and the population size of 177,600.
Vientiane and Xieng Khouang provinces lie to the north, Khammouane province to the south. Paksan the capital town is a commercial centre. In Borkhamasy province, between Vientiane and the provincial capital Paksan, a ‘ footprint of Buddha ‘ shrine at Vat Phra Bat is an important pilgrimage site.
The most famous attraction of the region is its striking landscape. At Ban Nahin, Poupha Mane, a stone forest featuring thousands of rock pinnacles, can be found. Due to its Proximity to Lak Xao, the latter is within easy reach for tourists crossing to Vietnam. South of Lak Xao, the still pristine forests of Nam Thuen, protected area with varieties of wild life.
konglorCaveIs situated in the central part of Lao PDR with an area of moderately high mountains sloping down to the Mekong valley with the area of 16,315 square kilometres and the population size of 295,800.
Fertile land here is well suited to plantations of rice, cabbage, sugar cane bananas etc…
A total population of 260,000 is made up of low land and uplanders Lao groups: Phuan, Tahoy, Kri, Katang etc…
Thakhek is the provincial capital and is well-know to day-tripping Thai from Nakhon Phanom, just across the Mekong river. It also has many wellpreserved French colonial architecture similar to that found in Vientiane.
About 8 Kilometres to the south of the town is the That Sikhotabong or Sikhotabng stupa, constructed around 9th to 10th century by King Nanthasen and restored in the 1950s. Besides, Khammouane province also rich with many caves, such as Tham Xieng Lieup, Tham Nang An, Tham Phanan and Tham Phaya In..
Khanthabouly, the provincial capital of Savannakhet, is a busy market place for trade with nearby Thailand. Numerous examples of French architecture tell of the town’s importance during the colonial era. Khanthabouly’s main attractions are its noteworthy temples such as the beautiful SavannakhetVat Saya Phoum and That Inghang. The latter is the holiest edifice in southern Laos, housing a hollow chamber with a distinguished collection of Buddha images.Savannakhet has common borders with Khammouane to the North, Thailand to the West, Saravane tothe South and Vietnam to the East with the area of 21,774 square kilometres and the population size of 729,000.
Near Muang Phin, on the route to Vietnam, dinosaur remains are on display. They were discovered by a French scientist in the 1930s. Not as old as these prehistoric relicts, but of no less significance, is the northernmost example of Khmer art at Heuan Hin ( stone house ). The buildings were constructed between 553 AD and 700 AD. Today little more than unrestored ruins remain.
Vistors interested in the latest period of Lao history may want to visit the former Ho Chi Minh Trail, whose outer edges are next to Xepon, 170 Km east of Khanthabouly. North and south along the trail, remnants of downed US helicopters, fighter planes and other war material can be seen.
Saravan province, a Southeastern provvince situated on the Bolavens Plateau is devoted to agriculture and nature offering idyllic scenerywith the area of 10,691 square kilometres and the population size of 278,200. A prehistoric site xists not far from the cascades where a wonderful scene can be seen. Within a caven huge stone caskets are piled one on top of the other, proveding not only beauty but much interesting thoughts as to how it originated. Tat Lo, Lodge. It’s located on the Northern edge of the Bolaven Plateau right beside the Sexet Dam., it’s only 10 metres high. The bungalows are blended into the embankment surrounded by lush tropical vegtation. A tour of the area on elephant back is an exotic attraction, ow exploring the ethnic minority villages on the Bolaven Plateau can provide a variety of interrests.
Is situated in the heart of the Southeastem part of Laos; has common borders with Saravane to the West, Champassack and Attapeu to the South and Vietnam to the East with the area of 7,665 square kilometres and the population size of 69,700.
The province has a total population of around 64,200. Overall, the Sekong river valley is characterized by a Landscape of a fertile plain patterned with a patch-work of rice paddies and fruits orchard. Dotted through out are villages and small towns; such as Lanam, Kaleum, Dakchung and Thateng, where the majority of people follow the unchanging lifestyle of traditional farming.
Its also a complex geographical conditions form colourful Eco-Tourism resources because it’s famous by rich of untouchable tropical forest, home to many rare species of flora and fauna.
The most Southeastern tip province of Laos; sharing borders with Sekong in the North, Champassack in the west, Vietnam in the East and Cambodia in the South with the area of 10,320 square kilometres and the population size of 94,700. The province has a total population of around 87,700; consists of five districts: Saysettha, Samakhixay, Sanamxay and Phouvong.The town is built in a large valley surrounded by mountains and also in the loop of the river, opposite the confluence of the Sekong and Sekhamane rivers. Where the join an island is formed by a small arm of water conecting them upstream.
In early morning you can visit the traditional market, where many different minorities go to buy and sell their product.
Most of the population in Saravane, Sekong, Attaper are uplanders minorities. Comprising nine major tribes: Alak, Katang, Kaleum, Katou, Suay, Nge, Lave, Tahoy, Nyaheung.
Champassack, lies to the South Westhern Laos with the area of 15,415 square kilometres and the population size of 544,400, the capital of champassack is pakse which located at the confluence of the Mekong and the Sedon rivers. Champassack lush, fertile land encouraged rice cultivation. It’s one of the largest producers of rice in the country. Parts of Bolaven plateau, which rests on the the border of Saravan and
Champassack are used for cultivation of coffee, cardamon, bananas and other crops.
Other parts, however, still offer pristine nature, especially in the mountainous central part constituting Dong Hua Sao, a proposed protected area. Several waterfalls drop over the escarpment. One of the most spectacular is Tat Phan with a height of 120 metres.
Forty six Km south of Pakse, Vat Phou, one of the most important sights in Laos, is located. Vat Phou literally means mountain temple. The different levels of the temple structure, built along the slope of the adjacent mountain date from the 6th century to the Angkor period of the 9th to 13th century. The upper platform of the temple affords a wonderful view of the Mekong plain. Energetic visitors may want to climb the near by Phou Passak, whose peak is shaped like a lingam or Shiva phallus. Another Khmer monument, Muang Tomo or Oum Moung, can be visited on the opposite side of the Mekong. It is, however, less accessible than Vat Phou.
Phapho Village: located 67 kilomeres south of Pakse on the road No. 13 The dong Houa Sao Forest reserve is in this area has dense jungle and abundant wild animal life. Elephants can be ride to this forest reserve. The area has the remains of an ancient Khmer stone temple on Mount Phou Asa.
At the most Southwestern tip of Laos, along the Cambodian border, the Mekong river reaches its maximum breadth of 14 km (during the rainy season). When the water level falls back again in the dry season, thousands of small islands rise form the river, giving the area the name Si Phan Done (4000 islands). The biggest island with 55,000 inhabitants is Done Khong, a peaceful place for an overnight visit. From here, South East Asis’s biggest waterfalls, Khone pha pheng, are within easy reach by boat or by road.
Another intersting island in this area is Done Khone, where the French built a 14 km long railway to by pass the rapids Visitors can follow the old railway line, view an old locomotive, pass a massive French-built bridge and watch a series of huge river cascades called Tat Somphamit, also Known as the Li phi falls. From the southern tip of Done Khone a small island is accessible from which Irrawaddy dolphins can be watched during the dry season and it is existed only one place in Asia. Mekong Dolphin Conservation Center is located on Done Khone Island. Tourists are welcome to visit the center. To visit the center, visitors must go by road to Bane Veunkham Village and then take a boat north a few kilometers to the center.
Please read the Do's and Don'ts in Laos for culturally and environmentally friendly travel in the country.