Easy-going and laid back, it is jokingly said that the PDR in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic actually stands for “Please Don’t Rush.” When encountering the natural beauty, stirring spirituality, and welcoming people of Laos, rushing should be the furthest thing from your mind.
This lush, mountainous region—surrounded on all sides by Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and China—was first established as the Kingdom of a Million Elephants (Lan Xang) in 1353. For 400 years, it reigned as one of the largest empires in Southeast Asia, but internal conflict tore it apart. The region then became a French protectorate in 1893, and French colonial influences are still very strong here today. Laos finally reunified and gained its independence back in 1953.
The road for Laos has not been an easy one. During the Laotian Civil War, the Lao government was accused of genocide and other human rights violations against the indigenous Hmong people—some of whom fought on the Royalist against the communist-backed Pathet Lao. The fallout caused many Hmong to flee the country. While there was a repatriation effort, very few Hmong returned to Laos. But those who still live in Laos today continue to live off the land as they always have.
From its gilded temples and saffron-robed monks to the mighty Mekong River and vibrant green mountainsides, Laos is a land of man-made and natural wonders, emerging from its once-turbulent past to invite travelers to come, discover, and above all—take your time.
Most Popular Films
Films featuring Laos from international, independent filmmakers
People of South East Asia
Witness the essence of Southeast Asia, reflected through the eyes of its people, in this short film featuring locals from all walks of life.Produced by Janis Brod
Laos Foundation Site: Tin Keo Village
See the difference we're making at the weaving center and local school in Tin Keo Village.
Pictures of South East Asia
From bucolic scenery to cheeky wildlife to whirling cityscapes, experience a visual love letter to Southeast Asia.Produced by Janis Brod
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Small Group Adventure
Days in Laos
6 NIGHTS FROM $1,645
PRE-TRIP EXTENSIONVientiane & Luang Prabang, Laos
Days in Laos
- Traverse the Mekong River by traditional longboat
- Rise early to participate in an ancient alms-giving ceremony
- Meet the villagers of a rural Hmong hill tribe
- Explore the beguiling capital city of Vientiane
Vientiane & Luang Prabang, Laos
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Our Activity Level rating system ranks adventures on a scale of 1 to 5 to help you determine if a trip is right for you. See the descriptions below for more information about the physical requirements associated with each rating.
Activity Level 1:
Travelers should be able to climb 25 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 1-2 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last at least 1-2 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.
Activity Level 2:
Travelers should be able to climb 40 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 2-3 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for at least 2-3 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.
Activity Level 3:
Travelers should be able to climb 60 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 3 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 3 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.
Activity Level 4:
Travelers should be able to climb 80 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 4 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 7,000 to 9,000 feet.
Activity Level 5:
Travelers should be able to climb 100 or more stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 8 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 10,000 feet or more.
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