Is Laos worth visiting in 2024? Get the pros and cons

Laos is one of the most untouched places in Southeast Asia with its beautiful landscape, waterfalls and temples. But is Laos worth visiting in 2023? I’ll give you the pros and cons.

Is Laos worth visiting - Kuang Si Falls

Considering Laos as your next travel destination?

I spent a week in Laos and would love to go back.

There’s a unique calmness to Laos. The nature and Mekong riverside is unspoiled, and it’s more off-the-path and affordable than other countries in Southeast Asia.

But can it measure up to larger countries like Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand? Is it worth visiting Laos?

Let’s find out.

This post contains referral links for products I love. Adventurous Miriam earns a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase through my links. I appreciate your support ♡ Learn more

Is Laos worth visiting?

The short answer is yes! Laos is worth visiting. It’s got amazing history, Buddha statues, natural beauty with lush mountains and beautiful waterfalls. Also, there’s a more laid-back vibe here.

BUT, if you’re going to Southeast Asia for the first time and only visit one country, I wouldn’t recommend Laos.

Visit the larger countries like Thailand, Indonesia or Vietnam instead as they have more to offer when it comes to attractions, food and varied nature.

Where is Laos?

Laos is located in South east Asia, bordered by Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, and Myanmar.

Best time to visit Laos

The best time to visit Laos is during the dry season from late November to early March.

This is when you’ll experience more pleasant temperatures and clear skies, which is perfect for outdoor activities.

You should avoid the rainy season (monsoon season) from June to September, as heavy rains can affect your travel plans and accessibility to some areas.

Keep your expectations real

Personally, I think Laos is worth visiting. It’s a great place!

But as with all travel, you should have realistic expectations. Remember, Laos is more laid-back than some of its buzzy neighbours.

The roads and infrastructure might test your patience a bit, and not everyone is fluent in English.

The nightlife isn’t super vibrant, but that’s part of its charm.

Think of Laos as a genuine, less-commercialised Southeast Asian experience. No mass tourism here!

Embrace it, and you’re in for a treat.

Pros and cons of visiting Laos

To give you a better overview of the pros and cons, I’ve listed them here below:

✅ Beautiful landscape Limited public transportation
✅ A rich culture Not everyone speaks English
✅ Ancient temples Health concerns
✅ It’s affordable Slower pace
✅ Fun outdoor activities❌ A landlocked country (no beaches)
✅ Friendly locals  Heavy rainfall
✅ Less touristy Not much nightlife

10 great reasons to visit Laos

1. You’ll love the landscape

One of the best reasons to visit Laos is its breathtakingly beautiful landscape that seems straight out of a dream.

Lush green mountains, tranquil rivers, and cascading waterfalls is what you can expect to find in this beautiful country.

Whether you’re exploring the serene beauty of Luang Prabang, cruising along the Mekong River (⭐ 5/5), or trekking through the stunning countryside, Laos has some incredible places that you won’t find anywhere else.

Is Laos worth visiting - Laos landscape

2. Laos is the safest country in Southeast Asia

Feeling safe when we travel is the most important factor for a good trip.

And I can honestly say that of all the countries in Southeast Asia, I feel the most safe in Laos (and SE Asia is a safe place in general, so that says a lot!).

Not only does it have a low crime rate and a welcoming atmosphere, but the Global Peace Index ranks Laos as the 46th safest country in the world!

Read next: 27 essential travel safety tips everyone should know

Is Laos worth visiting - Laos (2)
One of the many buddhist temples

3. There are lots of adventure activities

You can try cave tubing, trek through wild landscapes up north, rock climbing, and even zip-line through lush forests.

Think kayaking on the Mekong River and exploring hidden caves, too.

Vang Vieng used to be the hotspot for tubing and partying, but in 2012, the Laotian government closed the bars after multiple reports of injuries and even deaths on the tubing river.

Since then, Vang Vieng has reinvented itself as an adventure tourism hub. So, this is where to go to in Laos to get your adrenaline rushing.

Is Laos worth visiting - Laos adventure
You can also try a hot air balloon ride

4. Laos is the cheapest country in Southeast Asia

Want to make your money go the extra mile? Head to Laos.

You can chow down on tasty street food, find comfy places to crash, and explore awesome sights without putting a dent in your wallet.

Think delicious noodle soup for a few bucks or renting a bike to cruise around Luang Prabang on the cheap.

Your money stretches far in Laos, which is perfect if you’re on a tight budget.

5. Lao people are welcoming and friendly

I think most Southeast Asian countries have friendly locals. And Laos is no exception.

Whether you’re exploring the bustling markets, local life or serene temples, you’ll meet friendly people that are eager to share their culture and have a chat with you.

All in all, that makes Laos a truly inviting destination.

Is Laos worth visiting - Laos people (2)

6. The most beautiful waterfalls

Alright, get ready to have your mind blown because Laos has the most beautiful waterfalls. We’re talking jaw-dropping cascades that’ll make your Instagram explode.

Check out Kuang Si waterfall and the Pak Ou caves near Luang Prabang – it’s like swimming in a real-life tropical paradise.

And don’t even get me started on Tad Fane, where you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a nature documentary.

Tad Fane waterfall

7. The food tastes great

The food in Laos is unassuming, so although it might not top Thai food or Vietnamese food, it’s still tasty!

Lao food has dishes like sticky rice and the famous laap, a spicy minced meat salad. And don’t even think about missing out on som tam, a zesty green papaya salad.

Here are three must-try foods in Laos:

  1. Laap: This minced meat salad is a burst of flavors, mixing meat with herbs, spices, and lime juice.
  2. Sticky Rice: A Laotian staple, it’s perfect for scooping up other dishes and getting a taste of authentic local cuisine.
  3. Khao Poon: This spicy noodle soup is a must-have, combining rice vermicelli with herbs, vegetables, and often meat or fish for a flavorful and satisfying meal.
Is Laos worth visiting - Khao soi

8. You can find peace and quiet

Indonesia has Ubud, Thailand has Pai and Laos has Luang Prabang.

Nestled beside the Mekong River, this sacred town isn’t just about the calm—it’s an enchanting blend of cascading waterfalls and golden-robed Buddhist monks walking in morning alms.

The spiritual aura of this UNESCO World Heritage site, with its historic temples and the reverence it holds in Lao culture, makes Luang Prabang the best place in Laos.

Is Laos worth visiting - Laos Monks

9. A cultural hidden gem

Laos is like a cultural gem in Southeast Asia.

It’s not as developed as some of its neighbours, and that means you get a strong dose of authentic Laotian history and cultural heritage without Western tourism taking over.

Here’s the crazy part: there are about 160 ethnic groups in Laos. And get this – they talk in over 80 different languages!

What blows my mind is that even locals can’t chat with everyone because of these unique languages.

So, Laos is a total melting pot of cultures, where you can still experience the real deal without things getting too mainstream.

Is Laos worth visiting - laos people culture

10. Laos is less touristy than its neighbouring countries

And that takes me to the final point: Laos is way less touristy than its neighbours, like Thailand or Vietnam.

Think awesome landscapes, beautiful temples, French colonial architecture, and genuine local culture without the usual tourist mob and selfie sticks.

This small country is a breath of fresh air if you’re looking for a more chill experience.

Is Laos worth visiting - Laos people

FAQ – Is Laos worth visiting?

Is Laos good for tourists?

Absolutely! Laos is a hidden gem with awesome scenery and a chill vibe. It’s perfect if you’re looking for something a bit off the beaten path.

Which is better to visit Cambodia or Laos?

Tough call! If you’re keen on seeing the mind-blowing Angkor Wat in Siem Reap and diving deep into ancient history, Cambodia’s your go-to.

But if you’re after lush landscapes and a chill pace, Laos is where it’s at. Both countries are worth visiting!

Is Laos or Thailand better?

Although my heart is set on Thailand, both Laos and Thailand have their unique charms:

Thailand is well-known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant cities like Bangkok, bustling markets, and a wide range of activities. It’s more developed for tourism, so you’ll find both luxury and budget experiences.

Laos, on the other hand, has a more laid-back, less commercialised experience. It’s perfect if you’re looking for untouched nature, serene landscapes, and a glimpse into traditional Southeast Asian life.

Which is better depends on what you’re looking for in a trip. Beaches, party and a place where they’re used to tourists? Go Thailand. Chill vibes and authenticity? Laos is your spot.

Should I go to Laos or Vietnam?

Choosing between Laos and Vietnam? Here’s a quick lowdown:

Laos: Think relaxed vibes, untouched nature, and authenticity. It’s the go-to for a chill escape away from the usual touristy hustle.

Vietnam: Way larger with a ton of attractions – from bustling cities to iconic spots like Halong Bay. And if you’re a foodie? Vietnam’s diverse and flavorful cuisine is a game-changer.

In short: if you’re after a wider range of sights and some amazing, world-renowned food, Vietnam’s your spot.

But if a slower, more relaxed experience is what you’re craving, Laos is your best choice.

Save it!

Similar Posts

One Comment

  1. Great info. I will be visiting Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam for the first time in March next year. The visit is centered around golf and sightseeing seeing. Your advice?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *