Backpacking in Laos: the best 2 weeks in Laos itinerary
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Backpacking in Laos is a fantastic experience that you won’t soon forget! From the stunning scenery of the countryside to the friendly locals, there’s something for everyone.
The natural beauty of Laos’ lush forests and rolling hills provide some of the most breathtaking views anywhere in Southeast Asia. You can visit ancient sacred shrines, cascading waterfalls, and limestone caves while trekking through the jungle.
Or take a boat ride on one of Laos’ pristine rivers or catch sight of the giant Mekong River. Try local cuisine like authentic curry or Lao-style noodles and explore traditional Laotian villages where they still live in a traditional way.
In this article, you’ll find the complete itinerary, personal experiences, helpful tips, and impressive photographs to inspire you.
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How to get to Laos?
Because of its location between Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand, Laos can be reached in a number of different ways and is very convenient to visit. The most common way to travel to Laos is by bus, plane, or boat.
However, since I was in Bangkok, I searched for the most convenient option and flew to Vientiane, which takes about one hour and costs only € 35. A bus ticket cost roughly US$ 20 and takes 12 hours from Bangkok.
International flights to Laos will cost between €600 – 1000 for a return flight. Although it’s a bit more expensive than flights to Thailand or Vietnam, a visit to Laos is truly magnificent. You can either combine it with other destinations in Asia when you have more time to travel.
BY BUS: There are many buses leaving from major cities such as Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh City, and others, heading in the direction of Vientiane in Laos. The 12GO Asia website or app is the best way to find transportation in Asia.
BY FLIGHT: Since Vientiane is home to the largest international airport in the country, I decided to start these 2 weeks in Laos there and travel by land to the north, where I eventually embarked on a cruise along the mighty Mekong River.
BY BOAT: As just mentioned, it is also possible to travel to Laos by boat. Either from Thailand or Cambodia along the Mekong River. There are many Mekong River Cruises going in both directions.
How to get around Laos?
If you are looking for an exciting way to travel across beautiful Laos, there are numerous options available. You can explore the countryside by motorbike or by bicycle, while it is recommended to hop in a minivan or local bus to travel between the bigger towns.
For example, the bus from Vientiane to Vang Vieng is easy to book on 12GoAsia for only €8-12, and on Viator, you can find other options for shared minivans to get across the country, However, The Mekong River Cruise from Luang Prabang to Northern Thailand is something you can’t miss.
No matter which way you go, Laos offers amazing landscapes and cultural experiences along the way.
The best time to visit Laos
December to March is the best time to visit Laos with blue skies and comfortable temperatures and almost no rainfall. The landscapes will not be very lush green but as when you visit Laos right after the rain season in October.
However, If you do plan to travel during the rainy season, which is also a possibility, keep in mind that the roads are very bad and heavy rainfalls can ruin your day trips.
November to March
The best time to visit Laos is from November to March. In the mountains, it is cooler and gets warmer in March and April. There are a lot of tourists in country at this time, so you might want to book your accommodation in advance.
July and August
Temperatures are warmer, humidity is high, and it’s been raining in most of the country. though the landscape and Richfield are turning into beautiful lush green. This can also be a busy time for travelers because of the summer holidays.
April to June and September to October
In April and May, it rains every day and the temperatures rise to 35°C to 40°C.
However, the rainfall is mostly a short period in the day but very heavy, nonetheless it can also last for days. Some parts of the country could have roads and rivers flood. The weather gets cooler in September and October, and nature shows off its beauty.
Because of floods and heavy rains, it’s also not a good idea to book a Mekong River cruise during the wet season.
Where to stay in Laos?
Finding great places to stay for your Laos itinerary shouldn’t be that hard since there are plenty of option in the country. From luxury resorts and boutique hotels to very cheap local guesthouse. It’s also one of the cheapest countries in Asia to travel.
You can sleep in a luxury hotel for just €50 per night, while a bed in a hostel will cost you between €5-10 in a dormitory. However, if you travel comfortable and stay in mid-range accommodation like I did, expect to pay around €20 for a night in a private room.
READ ALSO: 12 x best hotels in Laos
Map of Laos
The map of Laos will give you a perfect idea about this itinerary for Laos. The map also includes some highlights that are definitely worth visiting if you have more time to explore the country.
2 weeks Laos itinerary
Where to stay: La Seine
Recommended stay: 2-3 days
This super laid-back city, which is located on the Mekong River and close to the border with Thailand, is the perfect location to start this 2 weeks in Laos itinerary.
And like in any major city around the world, you can easily stay a few days here exploring the many wonderful sights, fantastic restaurants, and charming markets.
My favorite things to do in Vientiane were taking a sunset cruise on the Mekong River, going to the nearby Buddha Park, and experiencing the local culture at the night market.
However, spending Valentine’s day at the luxury La Seine hotel while tasting the amazing cocktails made my stay even more memorable.
How to get to Vientiane
- It’s easy to get to Vientiane by bus if you travel overland from Thailand or Cambodia and tickets can be purchased on 12GoAsia from €26
- If you are flying into Laos, check for the best flight fares on Skyscanner
Where to stay: Vang Vieng Topview Hotel
Recommended stay: 3-5 days
The town of Vang Vieng in Laos was famous as a party destination among backpackers back in the day, however, now it is still among backpackers but many other travelers come here to explore their magnificent landscapes and discover the local traditions.
You can visit caves, go for beautiful walks, learn about the local culture, go river tubing, or even take a breathtaking balloon ride over the massive rice fields during the day and at night take a stroll along the night market and try some delicious Laotian food.
Unfortunately, I stayed only a few days here, which was actually way too short as there are so many things to do in Vang Vieng.
How to get to Vang Vieng
- The best way to get from Vientiane to Vang Vieng is by a shared minivan or a bus which you can easily book on 12GoAsia for only €7
Where to stay: Burasari Heritage
Recommended stay: 3-5 days
Luang Prabang is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and an amazing place to stay for a few days or longer. This marvelous little town in Northern Laos is surrounded by the mighty Mekong River and has a perfect mix of culture, character, food, and nature.
There are so many amazing things to do in Luang Prabang such as exploring the famous waterfalls, visiting beautiful temples, or going on a Mekong River cruise and watching the sun go down.
However, one of the most impressive traditions is the praying monks’ ritual. Every morning, hundreds of monks walk along the streets to collect offers from the local people. Truly inspiring!
The town has also many influences from the French colonization and besides the beautiful architecture, there is also the delicious food that you have to try during your visit.
Luang Prabang was by far my favorite place and I highly recommend adding it to your Laos itinerary.
How to get to Luang Prabang
- Take the bus or minivan from Vang Vieng, most shops offer tickets for around $8 or buy your tickets here in advance
Where to stay: Luang Say Lodge
Recommended stay: 1 day
After Luang Prabang, you can go back to the South to explore more of Laos, or you can take a cruise down the Mekong River to Huay Xai in Northern Thailand. And this was for me the best way to end my 2 weeks in Laos.
There are many options in every budget range, however, I chose to hop on the luxurious Luang Say Cruise, which takes you along the most beautiful parts of the Mekong River for 2 days.
You will visit local villages, discover a temple in a cave, and witness breathtaking views of unspoiled natural landscapes. The best part is staying the night in Pakbeng, where you can watch a beautiful sunset and see a traditional dance performance.
Although the Luang Say is quite expensive if you go backpacking in Laos, this unique experience is well worth it.
How to get to Pakbeng
- Pakbeng was part of the 2-day Mekong River Cruise with the Luang Say vessel. So I would recommend hopping on a cruise to Northern Thailand if you want to explore this area.
Where to stay: Fortune Riverview Hotel Chiang Khong (Thailand)
Recommended stay: 1 day
Experiencing a journey down the Mekong River in Laos is an awe-inspiring experience to remember for a lifetime. From idyllic landscapes of mountains, jungle, and minority villages, to meeting the ever-friendly hospitality of locals along the riverbanks, there’s so much to see and explore on this majestic river.
Ending in Huay Xai is especially rewarding since this captivating town lies next to the border of Thailand and has plenty of natural attractions just waiting to be explored including temples, caves, and some stunning waterfalls that will take your breath away!
However, as soon as the Luang Say Cruise arrived in Huay Xai, I decided to cross the border to Thailand and hop in a minivan to Chaing Rai.
How to get to Huay Xai
- The most fantastic way to get to Huay Xai is by joining a Mekong River Cruise as you will experience stunning sunsets and beautiful views.
- Another option is to book a minivan from Luang Prabang to Huay Xai which takes about 11 hours and costs €22
Laos is a long-forgotten paradise bursting with captivating culture, lush landscapes, and friendly locals. It’s the perfect destination for anyone looking to experience an up-close-and-personal backpacking adventure.
From its endless mountains and vibrant cities to its spellbinding beauty spots and sacred temples, this Laos itinerary will leave you with amazing memories that are sure to last a lifetime!
If you’ve been to Laos and would want to share any tips or have any questions regarding this itinerary, please leave them in the comments.
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Backpacking in Laos: the best 2 weeks in Laos itinerary
Plan your Laos itinerary with my favorite travel apps
To plan my adventures, I use these FREE websites and apps as they provide the best information, the best deals, and they are user-friendly.
- Trip – Flight deals
- Booking.com – Hotels and accommodation
- TourRadar – Group trips
- TripAdvisor – Reviews and activities
- HostelWorld – Hostels
- GetYourGuide – Activities and excursions
- RentalCars – Car rental
- Omio – Transport
- iVisa – Travel documents
- Wise – Money transfer
- VisitorCoverage – Travel Insurance
PICTURES AND EDITING
All the pictures on this page are made and owned by me. If you are interested in some pictures to use for your magazine, website, blog, or any other purpose, just send me an email and we’ll figure it out.
Do you like the edits? My Presets will be online soon so you can edit your pictures in just one click!
The camera gear I used for this trip
I never go out without my camera and many people ask me which gear I use. So to make it quite easy, I listed all the gear I used for this trip below.
Most of the time, I travel with the Sony A7III and the Sony 24-105mm/f4 as my primary lens but depending on the location, I change to another setup. However, I love the Tamron 17-28 to shoot in the big cities.