Laos is a very interesting country which has opened up to tourism in recent years. When one thinks of cities in Laos, what comes to mind is the country’s spectacular landscapes, vibrant and diverse culture, and beautiful natural surroundings. There is something here for everyone. Adventure enthusiasts can have fun exploring various river caves and ziplining, while culture lovers can immerse themselves in one of the many temples. For a place that is still largely untainted by tourism, there are many places that one can visit. Your trip to various places around the country will leave you raving for a long time to come. Continue reading below to find out more about the top 10 cities to visit in Laos.
List of Famous Cities in Laos
Vientiane is the capital of Laos set up on the banks of the Mekong river and is designed as per the French architecture. This major city in Laos was initially laid back a bit is now experiencing rapid growth and is receiving investment from outside companies as well as firms. This place is home to numerous temples as well as to other bars and restaurants and has an ambiance that will definitely keep your mesmerized. This place is situated on the banks of the river Mekong and has numerous temples which you can visit and pray in. The name of this city has been deriving from the french word “Wiang Jan” which means “The city of Sandalwood”. The lifestyle of the people over here is usually slow and you won’t see much hustle-bustle even on weekends. This is one of smallest capitals in South East Asia and has a population of only 8,50,000. Over the years this city is expanding and there have been numerous investments from the foreign people into this place. The tourism industry of this area is fast expanding.
Located in southwestern Laos, Champasak is a city, close to the borders of Thailand and Cambodia. It is best known for Champasak Cultural Landscape, which comprises of a series of 12th century Angkor temples, which are UNESCO heritage-listed sites. Tourists mostly visit this place during the Champasak festival but during the rest of the days, it’s very quiet and peaceful. There are a few viewpoints in this area that offer beautiful views of the Mekong River. Along the riverside, there are a lot of accommodation options available here each having balconies. The city to visit in Laos is home to French colonial architecture, and the province has a lot of attractions to offer for tourists including the best waterfalls, Si Phan Don islands and Laotian countryside on the banks of the Mekong River.
Located in central Laos, Phonsavan is the capital of Xieng Khouang province. This popular city in Laos is known for the fertile plateau lined with rolling hills, caves, waterfalls and series of archaeological sites consisting of the mysterious plain of jars. It is one of the recommended places for tourists visiting Laos to explore Phonsavan for its natural beauty and ancient history. Phonsavan means “hills of paradise,” which is a good place to experience the U.S.’s Old West. It’s not uncommon to see Hmong “cowboys” wearing violet and brown cowboy hats since cattle raising is one of the city’s main businesses. The city even hosts bullfights during Hmong New Year.
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4. Huay Xai
Huay Xai is the capital of the Bokeo province in Laos. Huay Xai, also known as Ban Houayxay, lies on the border of Thailand by the side of the great Mekong river. This famous city in Laos is mainly a stopover city for tourists traveling between Laos and Thailand by land. There is nothing much to do in the town for tourists in terms of attractions, but it is worth spending a day or two to admire the laidback life by the Mekong river and enjoy the green, lush Laotian countryside. Huay Xai is yet another one of the best cities to visit in Laos that has a number of different ways to spell its name, including Huay Xay and Hoauy Xai. This city shares it’s the border with Thailand, and in this sense, it often operates as a simple entry and exit point.
5. Luang Namtha
Luang Namtha is located in the north of Laos and is the capital of the province of Laos of the same name. Luang Namtha city lies on the bank of the river Tha and borders with China on the northern front and Burma on the northwest. Luang Namtha attracts nature lovers from all over and provides a base for trekking and biking to the nearby tribal villages. It is worth visiting for tourists looking to explore the natural beauty of Laos and to know the ethnic communities. This most visited city in Laos is known for its sugar cane and rubber production with plantations spread around hundreds of acres. The Nam Ha National Biodiversity Conservation Area is also located here.
6. Luang Prabang
Laos is a country where you will not see anything Western such as McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Huts, or Starbucks Coffee there. Luang Prabang is a land of a wonderful patchwork of traditional wooden houses and hints of European architecture. It is one of the best cities in Laos having 58 adjacent villages, of which 33 comprise the UNESCO Town Of Luang Prabang World Heritage Site. Luang Prabang’s World Heritage-endorsed old city certainly lives up to its name. Home to Indo-Chinese architectural styles and unique marriage of French colonial, its easy to see why the main center had World Heritage status. Every visitor should start one day off by giving alms to the local monks. More than 1,200 monks live here (ten percent of the city’s population) that sometimes the whole city can seem like a monastery. A number of colonial mansions of past time have been converted into hotels and restaurants. In the night market, one can find a lovely selection of handmade textiles made by the local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.
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Savannakhet is a city located on the banks of the Mekong River in Laos. Bordering Thailand, it is the capital of the province of the same name. It is a quiet city of Laos, which is mostly used as a stopover by tourists passing into Laos and Thailand, and offers not much for people looking for attractions. But this little city has its charm for visitors, including the rich colonial architecture, lovely old Buddhist temples, and a chance to experience the laid-back life along the Mekong including enjoying the beautiful sunsets. Here you will experiences a wet and dry tropical climate with an average annual precipitation of 1500mm. This popular city in Laos is an important cultural, religious and historical town with Buddhist temples, monuments, Christian churches, and Chinese temples. The beautiful city of Savannakhet currently serves other functions such as religious, tourist and transport center too.
Pakxe the third most populous and best city in Laos to visit. It is also the capital of Champasak District with a population of 88,166 people. After its establishment by the French rulers in 1905, the city served as an administrative center in the Kingdom of Champasak. The location of the important commercial centers, as well as a cultural center, is at the River confluence of Mekong and Xe Don. Today this city is home to the Champasak Provincial Museum. Due to its collection of both historical documents and artifacts, the museum is important to the history of the province. Other functions such as health services, transport and communication, and tourism, the city also serve. Include Wat Phu and Si Phan Don are some of its tourist attractions.
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9. Moung Xai
Moung Xai is the second-largest city in the country located in Udomxai province in North Western Laos. Its capital city. This major city in Laos is known for its fertile plains used for cultivation, mineral deposits and the natural caves situated amidst limestone cliffs. It is one of the recommended places in Laos for tourists to experience an offbeat destination rich in natural beauty and culture adopted by the remote ethnic villages. Chom Ong is a natural cave located close to Moung Xai. Spreading for over 16km, it is the second-longest cave in Laos and the 9th longest in South East Asia. Best explored with a guide, it is one of the worth-visiting attractions for tourists traveling in northern Laos. Visitors can also savor the local cuisine including desserts, different kinds of BBQs and noodles.
10. Nong Khiaw
Located on the banks of the Ou River in Laos, Nong Khiaw is a small but beautiful town. It is known for the natural beauty consisting of limestone mountains, caves, and forests. The terrain offers many hiking and cycling trails, which makes Nong Khiaw one of the popular destinations for tourists visiting Laos looking for adventure. For tourists and backpackers, this one of the most beautiful cities in Laos is only just beginning to be a popular destination that doesn’t make it isn’t as crowded as some of Laos’s other tourist destinations, but you will love to find a selection of accommodations, restaurants, and tour companies. For accommodations, you’ll be able to choose from a good variety of river lodges, bungalows and guesthouses. Most of these are budget options, but you can find places with hot water, Western-style toilets without a problem, and electricity.
The land of natural beauties, mesmerizing sites, modern shopping malls and major cities in Laos are waiting for you. What are you waiting for? Plan your vacation to Laos and discover this peaceful, peace-loving and beautiful cities in Laos.