13 Days in Laos: Comprehensive Guide for a First-Timer’s Experience

Laos, with its rich cultural heritage, stunning natural landscapes, and warm hospitality, promises an immersive travel experience. In this guide, we’ll take you through the bustling capital of Vientiane, the adventure-filled town of Vang Vieng, the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Luang Prabang, and the serene beauty of Nong Khiaw and Muang La. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural exploration, our 13 days in Laos itinerary has it all.

Why Visit Laos in 13 Days?

Spending 13 days in Laos offers a perfect balance of cultural immersion, adventure, and relaxation. This timeframe allows you to explore the vibrant capital city of Vientiane, experience the thrill of outdoor activities in Vang Vieng, and soak in the cultural richness of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Additionally, you can venture into the serene landscapes of Nong Khiaw and Muang La, where natural beauty and local traditions await. Nearly 2 weeks in Laos provide ample opportunity to delve deep into Laos’ diverse attractions, ensuring a comprehensive and enriching travel experience.

In addition, you can extend your trip to nearby countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand to enjoy a round-up experience of Southeast Asia. Most of our travelers choose a Vietnam – Laos tour to immerse in a diverse range of landscapes and cultures.

Best Time for 13 Days in Laos

Laos Weather

Laos Weather

The best time to visit Laos is during the dry season, from November to April. During these months, the weather is cooler and more pleasant, making it ideal for exploring the country’s many attractions. Temperatures range from 15°C to 30°C, providing comfortable conditions for outdoor activities and sightseeing. The dry season also ensures that roads and trails are more accessible, making travel easier and more enjoyable.

If you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy more favorable prices, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of May and October. While these months may see some rain, the landscapes are lush and vibrant, and tourist numbers are lower.

For those who wish to admire the lush landscapes of Laos, the wet season from May to October can be surprisingly rewarding. Although there is more rainfall, the countryside transforms into a verdant paradise, and the waterfalls are at their most spectacular. Additionally, the wet season sees fewer tourists, which means you can enjoy popular sites without the crowds and often find better deals on accommodations and tours.

>>> For more information on Laos weather and the best time to visit this country, please check this article.

Laos Suggested Itineraries for 13 Days

Itinerary 1: Laos Classic Tour 13 Days

Laos Classic Tour 13 Days

Day 1 – Arrive in Vientiane.

Day 2 – Vientiane city tour: Check out the National Museum, Wat Si Saket, Pha That Luang, Patuxay Monument, and Buddha Park.

Day 3 – Transfer to Vang Vieng. En route stop at Vang Xang, a famous archeological site built in the 11th century.

Day 4 – Tham Phu Kham Cave and Blue Lagoon Tour: Admire the magnificent stalactites and stalagmites and relax in the green-blue waters.

Day 5 – Transfer to Sam Neua.

Day 6 – Discover Sam Neua: Visit several weaving villages and the famous Vieng Xai Caves.

Day 7 – Transfer to Xieng Khuang.

Day 8 – Explore Xieng Khuang: Visit the mysterious Plain of Jars and the interesting Central Market in Phonsavan.

Day 9 – Transfer to Luang Prabang: Travel through beautiful mountainous regions.

Day 10 – Luang Prabang City Tour: Visit the Royal Palace Museum, Wat Sene, Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Visoun, and Wat Aham. In the afternoon, continue to the Arts and Ethnology Center and the weaving villages of Ban Xangkhong and Ban Xienglek.

Day 11 – Discover Pak Ou Caves and Kuang Si Falls: Get up early to join a morning alms-giving ceremony before embarking on a 2-hour boat trip along the Mekong River to Pak Ou Caves. After that, continue to Kuang Si Falls, where you can relax in the beautiful natural scenery.

Day 12 – Day trip to the Living Land Rice Farm: Experience the process of rice-making at a Living Land Farm; join the local farmer in plowing, planting, and harvesting rice.

Day 13 – Depart Luang Prabang.

Itinerary 2: Northern Laos Trekking Tour 13 Days

Northern Laos Trekking Tour 13 Days

Day 1 – Arrive in Luang Prabang.

Day 2 – Luang Prabang city tour: Visit Luang Prabang’s National Museum, Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Mai, Arts and Ethnology Center, bang Xangkhong, and Bang Xienglek. Conclude your day with a climb to Mt Phousi.

Day 3 – Luang Prabang – Pak Ou – Pakbeng: Embark on a boat trip to Pak Ou Caves to see thousands of Buddha images. Arrive in Pakbeng at dusk.

Day 4 – Visit & trek the Mekong Elephant Camp: Join bathing the elephants and trekking through bamboo plants and forest.

Day 5 – Pakbeng – Oudomxay – Luang Namtha: Visit the morning market before departing for Luang Namtha, and travel through Oudomxay.

Day 6 – Discover Luang Namtha: Check out the Luang Namtha Museum, followed by the old Phou Pouk Stupa, Ban Nam Ngean “Tai Dam” and Ban Pieng Ngam “Tai Deang” to learn how local people in Laos make whisky and bamboo baskets. Then, travel to the village of Ban Nam Dee “Lanten” to join a traditional Baci-ceremony.

Day 7 – Transfer to Phongsaly. En route stop at several Khmu and Hmong villages.

Day 8 – Trek on Phongsaly: Experience the region’s evergreen forest. Have lunch at a whiskey-producing Phunoy village.

Day 9 – Visit a tea plantation & transfer to Muang Khua: Explore a well-known 400-year-old tea plantation and enjoy the delicious Phongsaly tea.

Day 10 – Muang Khua – Muang Ngoi – Nong Khiaw: Embark on a boat trip down the Nam Ou River to Nong Khiaw. On the way, stop to relax at one of the bars in Muang Ngoi.

Day 11 – Discover the 100 Waterfalls: Indulge in the gorgeousness of water and jungle & have a picnic lunch in the beautifully green nature.

Day 12 – Transfer to Luang Prabang: Visit Ban Na Yang before returning to Luang Prabang.

Day 13 – Depart Luang Prabang.

Itinerary 3: North Vietnam and Laos 13 Days Tour

North Vietnam and Laos 13 Days

Day 1 – Arrive in Hanoi.

Day 2 – Hanoi – Ha Long Bay Cruise: Spend 24 hours discovering the magnificence of Ha Long Bay with visits to many islands and caves, and a chance to take a dip in the warm waters.

Day 3 – Return to Hanoi & city tour: Disembark from the cruise at noon, return to Hanoi in the early afternoon, and join a 3-hour city tour.

Day 4 – Hanoi – Mai Chau: Morning transfer to Mai Chau, lunch at a local restaurant before embarking on a trekking tour of terraced rice fields and small villages.

Day 5 – Mai Chau – Dien Bien Phu: Transfer to Son La through Pha Din Pass.

Day 6 – Visit historical relics in Dien Bien Phu: Discover an ethnic market, Muong Phang – the base of the Command of Dien Bien Phu Campaign, Dien Bien Phu Museum, and A1 Hill.

Day 7 – Dien Bien – Muang Khua – Nong Khiaw: Drive through Muong Thanh Valley to reach the Tay Trang border to enter Laos. Travel through Muang Khua – Laos’ most remote region to Nong Khiaw. Night in Nong Khiaw.

Day 8 – Transfer to Luang Prabang. En route stop to visit Pak Ou Caves and Ban Xang Hai village – where you can learn how to make Laos whisky and rice wine.

Day 9 – Luang Prabang city tour: Check out the Royal Palace Museum, Wat Xiengthong, Wat Aham, and Wat Mai.

Day 10 – Luang Prabang – Phonsavan: Visit hill tribe villages.

Day 11 – Explore the Plain of Jars and Muang Khoun: Start with a visit to the central market and MAG exhibition before discovering the mysterious Plain of Jars.

Day 12 – Xieng Khuang – Vientiane: Take a short flight to Vientiane. In the afternoon, visit the city’s highlights, such as Wat Si Saket, Haw Pha Kaew, Pha That Luang, and Patuxay Monument.

Day 13 – Depart Vientiane.

Laos Cuisine – Must-Try Foods in 13 Days in Laos

1. Larb (Laap)



Larb, the unofficial national dish of Laos, is a flavorful meat salad made with minced meat (chicken, beef, pork, or fish), mixed with toasted rice powder, fresh herbs, lime juice, and fish sauce. The dish is typically served with sticky rice and raw vegetables. Known for its balance of spicy, sour, and savory flavors, larb is a staple at Lao gatherings and offers a taste of the country’s vibrant culinary heritage.

2. Sticky Rice (Khao Niew)

Sticky Rice

Sticky Rice

Sticky rice is a fundamental part of Lao cuisine and is often considered the heart of every meal. This glutinous rice is steamed to perfection and served in small bamboo baskets. It is traditionally eaten by hand and pairs well with various dishes like larb, grilled meats, and spicy papaya salad. Its unique texture and slightly sweet taste make it a versatile and beloved staple in Laos.

3. Tam Mak Hoong (Papaya Salad)

Tam Mak Hoong

Tam Mak Hoong

Tam Mak Hoong is the Lao version of the famous Southeast Asian papaya salad. Made with shredded unripe papaya, tomatoes, chilies, lime, fish sauce, and fermented fish paste, this dish packs a punch with its intense flavors. It’s often garnished with peanuts and served with sticky rice or crunchy vegetables. The balance of spicy, sour, salty, and sweet flavors makes it a refreshing and addictive dish.

4. Khao Piak Sen

Khao Piak Sen

Khao Piak Sen

Khao Piak Sen is a comforting Lao noodle soup, similar to pho. It features thick, chewy rice noodles in a savory broth made from simmering bones, herbs, and spices. Topped with tender slices of chicken or pork, fresh herbs, and fried garlic, this soup is both hearty and flavorful. It’s a popular breakfast dish but can be enjoyed at any time of the day to taste authentic Lao comfort food.

5. Sai Oua (Laos Sausage)



Sai Oua is a traditional Lao sausage bursting with flavors from lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and fresh herbs. The sausage is typically grilled and served with sticky rice and a spicy dipping sauce. The aromatic and slightly spicy profile of Sai Oua makes it a favorite snack or appetizer, showcasing the bold and fragrant ingredients commonly used in Lao cooking.

Now, you know the basic information for your 13 days in Laos, including the best time to visit, mouth-watering foods to try, and suggested itineraries to make the most out of your time. For further information, please check out our Laos travel guide. Or, contact us if you need a private consultation. Before that, don’t forget to go over our well-planned Laos tours for more wonderful ideas for your trip.

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Frequently Asked Question

Yes, 13 days in Laos is generally enough time to explore the country’s major highlights and experience its diverse culture, history, and natural beauty. This duration allows you to visit key destinations like Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Nong Khiaw, and Muang La. You can enjoy a mix of city sightseeing, outdoor adventures, cultural immersion, and relaxation.

Here are some important apps you need for a perfect experience in Laos:

  • Google Maps: For offline maps and navigation, these apps are invaluable for getting around cities and finding attractions.
  • XE Currency: To help with currency conversions and keeping track of your spending.
  • Grab: Though not as widespread in Laos as in neighboring countries, it’s still useful for booking rides in larger cities.
  • Google Translate: Essential for translating Lao phrases and communicating with locals who might not speak English.

Yes, Laos is generally cheaper than Thailand for travelers. The cost of accommodation, food, transportation, and activities in Laos tends to be lower. Budget travelers can find affordable guesthouses and street food in Laos at very reasonable prices.

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Alice Pham

Hello, I'm Alice Pham - a travel blogger at IDC Travel. I have traveled to almost places in Vietnam and gained numerous useful experiences. I'm here willing to help you plan the most wonderful trip to our stunning S-shaped country.

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