Laos is an incredible country. The people here are giving and humble and if you take the time to talk to them you will learn some amazing life lessons through their attitudes to life and the way they live. It is sad that despite being not involved in the Vietnam War, Laos ended up being the most bombed country in the world because of the Viet Cong hiding in the jungle along the border between the two countries. The effects of the war are still seen in the country today among its people. They go on, however, and are happy to live without having to experience any more war.
While there is the odd one off hostel scattered along the Laotian border, the majority of the hostels in Laos can be found in the most popular travel destinations.
Vientiane is the capital city. The French name of the city is from the influence that the French had during this region during their occupation of the Indochina region. Many of the influences have stayed here, especially in the foods that you eat and you can find some incredible French bakeries and patisseries around the city. There are a few beautiful temples to visit around the city but otherwise you shouldn't need any more than a couple of days at a hostel here to explore.
Vang Vieng is the party town on the circuit in Laos. It is best known for its tubing but there is plenty more to explore in this region. Make sure you explore the caves around the area going cave tubing. You can also go kayaking with the buffalo. Of course the thing that everybody does is hire a tube and float down the river past all of the bars along the way that have some amazing rope swings and slides. It is a giant water playground that is a lot of fun. In recent years it closed down and was then again reopened. Its closure was due to an increased number of deaths of people getting way too drunk and making bad decisions while tubing. Make sure that if you are going to do this that you don't get too drunk and that you go with a friend. Safety should always come first.
The most stunning of the main destinations, and the one with the most hostels, is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang. The whole town has been listed for its astonishingly beautiful temples. You can spend a good couple of days exploring the temples around the town here. Don't miss the night markets where they have some spectacular handicrafts for a really good price. And of course no trip to Luang Prabang would be complete without climbing to the top of the hill in the centre of the city to watch the sun set over the river. All of the hostels and everything within the town is within walking distance or it is cheap to take a tuk tuk. You can take a boat from here down the river towards the Thai border as well to cross into northern Thailand.
Make sure you take ample time to explore Laos, talk to the locals and have an authentic experience. You won't regret it.
Hi, I'm Globetrotter,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Laos hostels. Welcome.