There is no denying that Ankgor Wat is the big draw to the region, but if you are looking for a less touristed experience check out Laos. While it lacks the beaches of its neighbors it has a variety of sights and activities to keep you entertained without the crowds of more popular destinations.


For this 3 week trip through Laos and Siem Reap, Cambodia we used Bangkok as our international gateway. After flying to Luang Prabang we traveled by road through Laos hitting, Vang Vieng, Vientiane, the Tham Kong Lor Cave outside of Thakhek and on to Pakse. From Pakse we did overnight trips to Champasak to see Wat Phu, the Bolaven Plateau and finally Don Det. We ended the trip with 4 nights in Seim Reap to explore Angkor Wat.

Orange Line – By Plane
Blue Line – By road


Luang Prabang
Sights of Luang Prabang
This laid-back, smallish old colonial town with myriad temples is probably the prettiest town in the country.
Mekong River Trip to Pak Ou Caves with Banana Boat
While the Buddha filled caves may not be as exciting as advertised, a day on the Mekong makes it all worth while.
Motorbike Trip to Kuang Si Falls
The popular Kuang Si Falls is a fun day trip. Even better is renting a motorbike and tackling the 30k trip on your own.
Sleeping and Dining in Luang Prabang
With pleasant riverside hotels and one of the best authentic restaurants in the country it’s an enchanting place to hangout.

Vang Vieng
Kayaking the Nam Song with Green Discovery
Vang Vieng has rebranded itself as a outdoor adventure destination with kayaking the Nam Song one of its top draws.
Cycling with Green Discovery
Biking through the rice paddies surrounded by karst limestone formations is another great way to enjoy the beauty of the Nam Song River valley.
Sleeping and Dining in Vang Vieng
Despite being a rather shabby town Vang Vieng boasts some of the best view hotels in the country.

Shared Minivan Between Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane
Practical advice for traveling between these popular towns.

Sights of Vientiane
Honestly there isn’t much to see in the capital city and your time may be better spent elsewhere.
Sleeping and Dining in Vientiane

Central Laos
Tham Kong Lor Trekking and Kayaking Trip with Green Discovery
Tham Kong Lor, a 7.5K river cave, offers the unique opportunity to kayak through a pitch black cave lit only by your headlamp.
Homestay in Natane Village
An authentic homestay experience in a working village of about 20 houses that allows tourists to spend the night and learn first hand how locals live.
Sleeping and Dining in Thakhek
This gateway town to the Tham Kong Lor is still a 3.5 hour drive to the cave. Unfortunately there are few other tourist options in the region.

Private Minivan from Vientiane to Pakse via Thakhek
Giving up on the crowded shared minivan option we splurged for a private minivan for the next leg of our trip.

Wat Phu and Champasak
River Resort Champasak
If you are looking for a quiet respite next to the Mekong this place is lovely with many outstanding river view rooms.
Wat Phu
If you have already seen Angkor Wat, Laos’s most famous ruin may be completely underwhelming, but if you haven’t it’s a beautiful introduction to Khmer architecture with a fraction of the tourists.

Bolaven Plateau
The Bolaven Plateau, located about an hour east of Pakse, is known for its waterfalls, coffee plantations and cooler temperatures. 
The Waterfalls of Tayicseua
This funky “resort” with access to a hiking route between several waterfalls makes for a fun afternoon of stomping through the jungle.
Waterfalls near Paksong
Although the area around Paksong boasts a number of impressive falls, the new zipline above Tad Fane is the highlight of the region.
Review of Sabaidee Valley Resort
This upscale resort has great views overlooking the Sabaidee Valley outside of Paksong.

Sleeping, Dining and Logistics, Don Det
Don Det blogs will tell you that Si Phan Don (4 Thousand Islands) is a great place to chill on a budget. This may be true if you set your expectations appropriately.
Don Det by Bicycle
When it’s too hot and muggy for walking, which is most of the time, bicycling is a good alternative for exploring the islands.
Kayaking with Mr. Mo
Kayaking offers the opportunity to explore this unique riverine archipelago from the water with dolphin viewing, visits to the local waterfalls and a sunset paddle home.

Sleeping and Dining in Paske
While not a top destination in itself, Pakse is the second largest city in Laos and a central transportation hub with an international airport, bus connections and easy access to Wat Phu, the Bolaven Plateau and Si Phan Don, the 4000 Island region.
Talat Dao Heuang Wet Market
This is a large working market with tons of local culture and few if any tourists. Don’t miss the Golden Buddha at Wat Phu Salao accross the bridge from the market.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat and surrounding templesare an absolute must see for any world traveler. Yes, it’s always hot and often crowded, but with more than 45 structures to explore (that’s just the number listed in the guidebook) it’s also possible to find moments of solitude in some of the most fascinating ruins in the world, from the intricate carvings of Banteay Srei to the Indiana Jonesesque Ta Prohm where the ficus trees overtake the crumbling ruins.

Day 1
Morning – Banteay Srei, Bantaey Samré
Afternoon – Preah Khan, Neak Pean, Ta Som
Day 2
Morning – Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm
Afternoon – Bayon, Angkor Wat
Day 3
Angkor Thom South Gate, Elephant Terrace and Leopard Terrace, Thommanon, Sunset at Pre Rup
Sleeping and Dining in Siem Reap
Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor Wat, boasts a wide range of international as well as Cambodian fare in all price ranges.

Bangkok, Thailand

Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel
This large business type hotel located at the airport is ultra convenient.
Khlong Toey Market
If you love wet markets this busy working market where local home cooks and restaurateurs come to buy their raw ingredients is not to be missed.