How to Spend 15 Days in Laos?

Laos is a breathtaking and captivating country that has recently gained popularity as a top destination in Southeast Asia. This country remains largely untouched by mass tourism, offering a unique blend of stunning scenery and a relaxed, slow-paced lifestyle. While a fortnight might not be enough to see everything this beautiful country has to offer, 15 days in Laos will give you ample time to explore and fall in love with its many wonders.

Here are some essential tips and suggested itineraries to help you plan an unforgettable 15-day trip through Laos.

Things to Know Before Visiting Laos in 15 days

Always Give Respect in Laos

Laos is a Buddhist country, so it’s important to respect local customs and traditions during your visit. Dress modestly at all times, especially when visiting temples. Ensure your shoulders and knees are covered. Always remove your shoes before entering a home or temple. Be prepared to do the same in some guesthouses and quaint cafes. Look for signage or a pile of shoes at the entrance and follow the locals’ lead.

One significant tradition you may encounter is the giving of alms to monks, an ancient and sacred practice still observed today. If you wish to participate, do so with the utmost respect. Dress modestly, offer appropriate food (usually local and fresh market rice), avoid disrupting the ceremony, and refrain from intrusive photography. If you’re unsure about the proper etiquette, observe from a distance.

Dress modestly when visiting Laos temples

Dress modestly when visiting Laos temples

Always Carry Cash

In Laos, the local currency is the Lao kip, and it’s essential to have it with you, especially when venturing outside the major cities. Unlike neighboring countries, banks and ATMs are less common in Laos, and finding a place for currency exchange might not guarantee fair rates. To avoid inconvenience and potential hunger, it’s advisable to carry cash. However, be mindful of the numerous zeros on the currency notes, as distinguishing between denominations can be tricky. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the notes and carefully check your change during every cash transaction to avoid confusion.

Laos Kip

Laos Kip

Cheap but Slow Transportation

Getting around in Laos demands one essential quality: patience. While transportation is relatively inexpensive and offers breathtaking views along the way, expect journeys to take longer than anticipated. Despite distances seeming short on the map, Laos’ rugged terrain and underdeveloped infrastructure pose significant challenges for travelers. A six-hour bus ride can easily stretch into nine hours, with bumpy roads causing discomfort for much of the journey (consider bringing motion sickness medication if needed).

Tuk Tuk in Laos

Tuk Tuk in Laos

Although there have been discussions about constructing a railway network in Laos, such plans have yet to materialize. Additionally, domestic flights within Laos are limited and come at a higher cost compared to other Southeast Asian destinations. Therefore, buses and minivans remain the primary modes of transportation, unless you are skilled in motorbike riding and prepared for the rough road conditions. For a more comfortable experience, you can consider hiring a private car with a driver. This will help to minimize the waiting time and avoid too-crowded situations on public transportation.

Significant French Influence in Architecture and Culture

Similar to many other nations in Southeast Asia, Laos was once a colony of France. Although the French relinquished their control in 1946, remnants of their legacy are still evident throughout Luang Prabang, one of Laos’ liveliest cities. From the colonial-style buildings to the delectable baguettes reminiscent of those found in Parisian bakeries, Luang Prabang offers a fascinating blend of Southeast Asian charm with a touch of France.

Watch Your Step

Exploring the picturesque landscapes of Laos might make it easy to overlook its grim history as one of the most heavily bombed nations globally. The scenery is serene and devoid of falling bombs, and the urban areas resemble typical Southeast Asian towns. However, upon venturing into Xieng Khouang Province, particularly to witness the enigmatic Plain of Jars, unsettling reminders of past conflicts become evident. Old bomb remnants, locals bearing the scars of war, and even trinkets fashioned from sharp metal serve as poignant reminders of a dark period in history.

Between 1964 and 1973, the United States conducted over 580,000 bombing missions, dropping an estimated 260 million cluster bombs -equivalent to about 2.5 million tons of munitions – across Laos. This devastating campaign has resulted in over 34,000 casualties since the bombings ceased, with nearly 300 new casualties recorded annually. Xieng Khouang Province bears the brunt of this tragic legacy.

While visiting the Plain of Jars, a trip to the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) center provides invaluable insights into the history and ongoing efforts to clear the countryside of explosive remnants. Although landmines have been removed from the more frequented areas, exercising caution is crucial, especially when venturing off the beaten path in this region.

Suggested Itineraries for 15 Days in Laos

Itinerary 1: Discover Northern Laos in 15 Days

Discover Northern Laos in 15 Days

Day 1 – Arrive in Luang Prabang. Check in to the hotel and relax.

Day 2 – Day tour to Kuang Si Waterfalls. En route stop at the Ock Pop Tock Living Craft Center for an introduction to traditional weaving in Laos. After the discovery of Kuang Si Falls, spend time visiting the Bear Rescue Center and Kuang Si Falls Butterfly Park before returning to Luang Prabang.

Day 3 – Visit Pak Ou Caves & Transfer to Pakbeng: Take a boat along the Mekong River to Pak Ou Caves to see thousands of Buddha images. On the way back, stop at Bang Muang Keo (famous for Laos traditional rice wine) and Ban XangKhong (known for wood-paper making and silk weavings).

Day 4 – Pakbeng – Oudomxay – Luang Nam Tha: Discover the morning market in Pakbeng before departing for Luang Nam Tha. En route stop in Oudomxay, an important trading hub of Laos.

Day 5 – Discover Luang Nam Tha: Visit Luang Namtha Museum, Phou Pouk Stupa, Ban Nam Ngean “Tai Dam”, etc.

Day 6 – Return to Oudomxay: Check in to the Namkat Yola Pa resort and relax.

Day 7 – Discover Namkat Waterfall: Spend about 2 hours cycling towards the waterfall, where you can experience zip-lining, swimming, etc., and a picnic lunch.

Day 8 – Transfer to Muang Khua & Muang Ngoi: Visit an old bamboo bridge and the beautiful village of Ban Natoun. Onward travel to Muang Ngoi along the Nam Ou River.

Day 9 – Trek Ban Sop Kong & Transfer to Nong Khiaw: Enjoy a soft trek in the morning to visit Ban Na village, Tham Kaang Cave, and Ban Sop Kong Khmu village. Have a picnic lunch before departing for Nong Khiaw.

Day 10 – Discover the 1000 Waterfalls: Embark on a serene boat ride along Nam Ou River to the 1000 Waterfalls Adventure Trail. Discover the magnificent cascades and enjoy a local-style lunch here.

Day 11 – Transfer to Ban Son Khua: This is a Khmu village in Muang Hiam – the most rural and least developed area of Laos. Stay the night at a local family.

Day 12 – Transfer to Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area & Visit Nam Nern Night Safari: Study medicinal plants, wildlife preservation, traditional agriculture, etc.

Day 13 – Transfer to Xieng Khuang. Visit the MAG Center if time permits.

Day 14 – Visit the Plain of Jars & Fly to Vientiane.

Day 15 – Half-day city tour & Departure: Check out famous monuments like Wat Sisaket, Wat Prakeo, That Luang Stupa, and Patuxay Monument.

Itinerary 2: Quintessential of Laos in 15 Days

Quintessential of Laos in 15 Days

Day 1 – Arrive in Vientiane. Check in to the hotel and relax.

Day 2 – Vientiane city tour: Check out major tourist destinations like Wat Sisaket, Wat Prakeo, That Luang Stupa, and Patuxay Monument.

Day 3 – Fly to Xieng Khuang. The rest of the day is yours to discover this city at leisure.

Day 4 – Discover Xieng Khuang: Visit a local market, the Plain of Jars, the old capital of Muang Khoun, and a Hmong hill tribe village.

Day 5 – Visit the Central Market of Phonsavan & Transfer to Luang Prabang. En route stop in Thampra to see a site with over-200-year-old Buddha images.

Day 6 – Luang Prabang city tour: Check out the National Museum, Wat Visoun, Wat Mai, Wat Xieng Thong, etc. You will also climb up the Phousi Mount for a beautiful sunset view of the city.

Day 7 – Visit a textile village and an elephant camp: Visit Ban Phom Nong to see the local weave and Henri Mouhot monument before arriving at the camp. Learn some information about the elephants and enjoy an elephant ride.

Day 8 – Day tour to Kuang Si Falls: Swim, relax, or trek to the top of the fall.

Day 9 – Transfer to Nong Khiaw: Enjoy a boat trip along the Ou River to visit local people in Muang Ngoy village.

Day 10: Return to Luang Prabang: En route stop to discover Pak Ou Caves.

Day 11 – Fly to Pakse & Onward travel to Tadlo: Visit a tea and coffee plantation, Tad Fan Waterfall, Ban Bong Neua village, and Tadlo waterfall.

Day 12 – Visit Wat Phou & Transfer to Khone Island: Check out the pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Phou, Wat Phou Museum, and Oum Moung Temple. Transfer to Khone Island at sunset. Watch the sunset along the Mekong River.

Day 13 – Discover 4000 Islands: Cycle through the old French Colonial buildings of this island and explore Liphi Waterfall. In the afternoon, take a boat trip to spot the Irrawaddy dolphins (if you are lucky).

Day 14 – Transfer to Don Daeng: Visit Khone Phapheng Waterfall and Don Daeng Island.

Day 15 – Departure: Transfer to Pakse Airport for your departure flight.

Itinerary 3: Splendors of Vietnam and Laos in 15 Days

Best of Vietnam and Laos in 15 Days

Day 1 – Arrive in Luang Prabang. Check in to the hotel in the city center.

Day 2 – Half-day tour to Pak Ou Caves. On the way back, visit Ban Xang Hai and join hands in making traditional Laos rice wine.

Day 3 – Day tour to Kuang Si National Park: Swim in the pristine clear water, enjoy a picnic lunch, and visit a nearby elephant camp.

Day 4 – Transfer to Phonsavan: Explore the Plain of Jars and visit Muang Khoun village.

Day 5 – Fly to Vientiane.

Day 6 – Vientiane city tour: Check out major tourist destinations like Wat Sisaket, Wat Phra Kaew, Pha That Luang, and the Patuxay Monument.

Day 7 – Fly to Hanoi.

Day 8 – Hanoi – Ha Long Bay: Embark on a 2-day 1-night cruise to discover this UNESCO World Heritage Site of Vietnam.

Day 9 – Ha Long Bay – Hanoi: Disembark from the cruise at noon and return to Hanoi. Be free to explore the city’s bustling nightlife.

Day 10 – Fly to Hue: Check out Hue Imperial Citadel, Thien Mu Pagoda, and Dong Ba Market.

Day 11 – Transfer to Hoi An via Da Nang: Stop to visit the Cham Museum in Da Nang. The afternoon will be time for a walking tour of Hoi An Ancient Town.

Day 12 – Half-day tour to My Son Sanctuary.

Day 13 – Fly to Ho Chi Minh City: Check in to the hotel and have free time to discover this city at your leisure.

Day 14 – Day tour to Mekong Delta: Visit Cai Be floating market and Binh Hoa Phuoc Island.

Day 15 – Depart Ho Chi Minh City.

>>> If you are interested in this tour program, please refer to our Splendors of Laos and Vietnam in 15-day tour. Or, check out our well-planned Vietnam – Laos tours for more similar itineraries.

How Much Do You Need for 15 Days in Laos?

The amount of money you’ll need for 15 days in Laos can vary significantly based on your travel style, accommodation preferences, and the types of activities you plan to engage in during your trip. Different travelers have different needs and desires, which can greatly influence the overall cost of a trip. Whether you prefer to stay in budget-friendly hostels, mid-range hotels, or luxury resorts, your choice of accommodation will play a substantial role in your overall expenses. Additionally, the types of food and dining experiences you seek out, ranging from street food vendors to high-end restaurants, will also affect your budget.

Furthermore, your mode of transportation within Laos, be it local buses, tuk-tuks, or even domestic flights, will contribute to your overall spending. Activities and excursions, such as guided tours, entrance fees to attractions, and adventure sports, can also vary in cost and impact your total expenditure. Personal spending habits, such as shopping for souvenirs or indulging in spa treatments, should also be taken into consideration when estimating your budget for a 15-day trip in Laos.

Below is a general breakdown to help you estimate your budget:

Estimated budget for 15 days in Laos

Estimated budget for 15 days in Laos

With these useful tips and suggested itineraries in mind, we believe that your 15 days in Laos will be an unforgettable experience. After all, the most difficult part of your journey is to leave this tranquil and friendly country. Contact us if you still have any questions or need a private consultation. Before that, don’t forget to check out our comprehensive Laos travel guide and Laos tours for more useful information.

Read more:

Frequently Asked Questions

15 days in Laos is enough for you to experience the country’s highlights, including its cultural sites, natural beauty, and local traditions. You can explore major destinations like Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, and Vientiane, while also enjoying some off-the-beaten-path adventures. You can even travel to a nearby country, like Vietnam, Cambodia, or Thailand.

Yes, Laos is generally safe for solo female travelers. The country is known for its friendly and welcoming locals, and many solo female travelers have had positive experiences. However, it’s important to take precautions, such as avoiding poorly lit areas at night, dressing modestly, and staying aware of your surroundings. Trust your instincts, and you should have a safe and enjoyable trip.

Tipping is not a common practice in Laos, but it is appreciated for good service. In restaurants, rounding up the bill or leaving a small amount is sufficient. For hotel staff and tour guides, a small tip is a nice gesture.

We are here to help you...

Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our specialists

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published

You might also like

How to Spend 2 Weeks in Laos? Best Suggested Itineraries for 2024

Spending 2 weeks in Laos offers an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage, stunning natural landscapes, and warm…

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…

12 Days in Laos: Best Things to Do & Suggested Itineraries for 2024 Trip

Planning an unforgettable journey through Southeast Asia? Look no further than Laos. This captivating country, with its rich cultural heritage and stunning…

Create My Trip