Our 3-week Laos Itinerary

In this blog, we’re diving headfirst into the hidden treasure of South East Asia – Laos! This wildly diverse and untamed land has a way of sneaking into your heart and stealing it right from under you. We thought we were just in for a casual two-week whirlwind through this underrated gem, but guess what? We got so swept away by its adventure-packed charm that we extended our stay to a whopping 24 days.

Luang Prabang

We travelled through Laos from north to south starting from Luang Prabang. We arrived in Luang Prabang after a 27-hour bus trip from Hanoi, Vietnam. You can easily take a flight to Luang Prabang International Airport if you’re coming from somewhere else.

We stayed for five nights in this charming village. We needed some time to rest after our big travel day and of course some time to discover this foodie paradise and its surroundings.

You can find more than 30 temples in Luang Prabang but the one up on Phousi Hill is definitely the most visited of all (especially at sunset). In the early morning, both locals and tourists wake up to behold the famous sai bat or morning alms of the monks. After this (tourist) attraction, walk through the lively morning market and see the locals grocery shopping. In the evening a large night market and food market come alive in the centre. And also don’t forget to check out the bamboo bridge and have a drink along the Mekong river.

If you go a bit outside the centre of Luang Prabang, you can have a cold dip in the fairy-like Kuang Si Waterfall or take a boat to cross the Mekong river and pay a visit to the Pak Ou Caves.

Vang Vieng

From Luang Prabang we took a train to Vang Vieng. The railroads and trains in Laos are financed by China, and you can see that in its grandiose! Although it’s a short trip, it took longer than expected because you have to be at the train station about an hour in advance, as you have to go through customs. Maybe a bus would have been better? Then you can also enjoy the landscape more as the train goes through many tunnels.

We spend five nights in Vang Vieng.

Vang Vieng is located in a gorgeous landscape full of limestone rocks. There are a lot of activities and adventures to do. Take a scooter to get around and climb viewpoints, swim at one of the blue lagoons, go kayaking, ziplining, rent a buggy, etc. You won’t get bored at Vang Vieng!


We reached the capital of Laos with a minivan from Vang Vieng. It’s a short trip so it only takes half a day.

We stayed for two nights in Vientiane, but one or none would have been enough. If we may give one recommendation for Vientiane, then skip this city if you don’t need to be there.

There is not a lot to do or see in Laos’ capital. We checked out the morning market and the night market but they were both disappointing. If you do plan to visit Vientiane, Patuxai is worth a stop. This is a triumph arc in European style. Also, instead of going to the night market, go to Rue Hengboun, because that’s where you can find lots of street food!

Thakhek Loop

From Vientiane, we took a bus to Thakhek. From here we would start the famous Thakhek Loop.

We had one night in Thakhek so we could start driving the next morning. You can drive the loop in 3 or 4 days. We opted for three days of driving and one day off to visit Kong Lor Cave and relax. For our last day of driving we booked one more night in Thakhek, so we wouldn’t have to hurry to be back in time to catch a bus.

Driving the Thakhek Loop through some spectacular landscapes will bring you to lots of caves and other cool stops. It’s an easy drive, even if you haven’t driven a motorcycle or scooter before. On the loop, you will witness some gorgeous limestone landscapes that might remind you of Vang Vieng and a special landscape with dead trees coming out of the water starting from Nam Theun before heading into the mountains. It’s one of our Laos highlights and we would definitely recommend you to take your time to drive the Thakhek Loop yourselves.


We took the bus from Thakhek to Pakse in the morning and stayed for three nights in Pakse.

When you’re visiting Pakse you probably won’t be exploring the town itself. There’s not a lot to do but it’s the perfect base to start the Pakse Loop or to discover the Bolaven Plateau and all the gorgeous waterfalls around it. You don’t necessarily need to drive the loop to explore its surroundings, but a motorbike or scooter is highly recommended if you don’t want to do a guided tour.

At the time we were in Pakse we were so tired we didn’t drive the loop. We just came back from the Thakhek Loop and only two weeks before we drove the Ha Giang Loop in Vietnam. So, for us, it was enough scootering around for a while.

Don Det

From Pakse, we took a bus and ferry to Don Det. We bought a ticket from the same place where we could rent a scooter and this bus ticket included the ferry. But there won’t be any problems if this is not included in your ticket, you can easily buy your ferry ticket at the harbour (read mini beach).

We stayed for four nights on this laid-back mini island. If we hadn’t booked our tickets to Cambodia yet, we would have stayed for at least one more night here, just to relax!

Don Det is an island located in the Mekong river. This is the perfect place to relax and get some island vibes. You can get around the island by bicycle but be aware that the paths are not always the best. There’s not a lot to do on the island, and that’s why you’re here. Come here to just do nothing and chill at one of the cute restaurants or bars. Everything goes a bit slower on the island, so don’t be surprised if you have to wait for a loooong time for your food. We also biked all around Don Khon where you can see Cambodia on the other side of the river!

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