Looking up a large river along the side of a slow boat at sunset

A Guide to Spending One Week in Laos

Sharing is caring!

Laos is a destination not to be missed when planning your Asian Adventure.

While Laos hadn’t originally been on our list of countries to visit, we added a 7-day Laos itinerary after researching the beauty of Luang Prabang, the adventurous Vang Vieng and the colonial French architecture of Vientiane.

Laos had piqued our sense of adventure in this lesser-known travel destination.

We knew little about what to expect when visiting Laos and, more importantly, how to tour the country.

This was one of the reasons we chose a small group tour with Intrepid Travel.

So, to help you with your travel planning, we have put together a guide on how to spend one week in Laos.

We have included for you some of the best places to visit in Laos, the best season to travel in Laos, and other requirements to make your travel more enjoyable.

And to give you more information on specific places to visit before you arrive, these blogs will help you decide where to spend your time.

Slow Boat Cruise on the Mekong River from Thailand to Laos

Best Things to Do in Luang Prabang, Laos

Spending a Day in Vang Vieng, Laos

Vientiane, the Capital City of Laos

Tip: Bring sunscreen and insect repellant and ensure your vaccinations are up to date, especially for Malaria.



Seven-Day Itinerary of Laos

Our Intrepid Travel tour started in Thailand, where we crossed the border to meet our slow boat Mekong River cruise.

Our Intrepid tour gave us plenty of interaction with local people, local guides and first-hand experience travelling between each town and city.

We suggest the following Laos itinerary to give you an overview of life in this amazing country.

How to Travel Laos in 7 Days

  • Slow Boat along the Mekong River – 2 Days
  • Explore Luang Prabang                    – 2 Days
  • Travel and Day in Vang Vieng          – 2 Days
  • Vientiane                                             – 1 Day


What Season to Travel Laos

Looking over a river to a large rock formation with a hazy background
Heat mist in Vang Vieng

Laos is a hilly and landlocked country, so the weather is not affected by coastal changes, but it can vary due to the altitude.

So while the North and Central regions can be affected by altitude, the South with the Mekong River is affected by humidity.

So when is the best time to travel to Laos?

November to March is the cool, dry season with temperatures in the 20s (Celcius) and is popular with tourists.

Make sure you pack a light jacket for an evening stroll and dinner.

April and October are the shoulder months and are a little wetter and hotter.

May to September tends to be the wet season (especially July and August), with temperatures rising to 30 degrees with high humidity.

Dry SeasonWet SeasonWettest SeasonHottest Months
November to MarchMay to SeptemberJuly and AugustApril and May

Visa Entry into Laos

A large ornate palace
Presidential Palace, Vientiane

When entering Laos, you can apply for a 30-day Tourist Visa at the border.

Tip: please check your own country’s requirements

  • two passport-size photos
  • cash – approximately USD20 to USD40
  • completed visa application
  • valid passport

The process, depending on the queues, is straightforward.

If you have access to a printer before arriving at the border crossing, print the tourist visa application and complete all details required. This is why having a guide is great.

Once you hand in your application to the counter, wait to the side until your name is called to collect your passport with the completed visa inside.

The website Laos Guide 999 has more information on the process. Just click here.

Tip: The border crossing has a currency exchange booth for USD into Lao Kip


How to Get to Laos

Laos is surrounded by five countries:

While there are many options for getting to Laos, our suggestion if coming from Thailand would be using Thai Airways International or a Slow Boat Cruise.

Some of the options for getting to Laos are:

  • International flights
  • Private mini-van or car with driver
  • Slow boat along the Mekong
  • Public bus

Tip: Booking directly with Thai Airways International can secure cheaper flights


Where to Stay in Laos

A two-story green painted guest house
Phonemani Guesthouse in Pak Beng, our stopover night on the Mekong River

Reading reviews will help with your selection of hotels and homestays in Laos.

While the hotels chosen for us were comfortable, you may find some of the hotels not at the quality you expected.

To book a hotel for yourself and receive a 10% discount, click here Booking.com

We love the low prices of Hotels.com, where after your 10th night is booked, your next night is discounted by your average stay rate. Click here on Hotels.com to start your discounts.

And if staying longer and you need the use of a kitchen, we use Airbnb. If you are new to Airbnb, then click here on Airbnb to get a discount on your first booking.


Slow Boat along the Mekong River

A long boat moored by the side of a river with caves in the cliff above
Pak Ou Caves along the Mekong River, Laos

One of the top things to do in Laos would have to be a slow boat cruise along the Mekong River. This mighty river is 4800km long and passes through seven countries.

Our trip was to start from Chiang Khong in Thailand, crossing the border into Laos, where we would board our long boat for the 2-day journey.

We had chosen to use Intrepid Travels, ensuring we would enjoy our two-day cruise on an uncrowded boat and with the nights’ accommodation at Pak Beng assured.

The two days were spent watching elephants and water buffalo, local boats and fishermen on the shores of the Mekong.

The highlight of the cruise was visiting and meeting villagers to learn more about the lives of the locals.

You can read more about our Two-Day Travel on the Mekong River here.


Luang Prabang Best Place to Visit in Laos

A series of small water falls in a jungle
Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is one of the best places to visit in Laos and should be at the top of your 7-day itinerary of Laos.

Luang Prabang lies on the peninsula with the Mekong River and the Nam Khan River, and this beautiful town was once the royal capital of Laos.

Each morning at dawn, you can experience the almsgiving to the local Buddhist monks living in monasteries within the town.

And the highlight would have to be visiting the Kuang Si Falls, about 29km outside Luang Prabang.

A walk up through the forest park will bring you to the waterfall and pools. The beauty of this natural place is overwhelming and a great way to spend an afternoon.

Make sure you bring your shorts and t-shirt for a swim in the pools lower down from the falls.

You can read more about the Best Things to Do in Luang Prabang here.

Travelling by Bus in Laos

When travelling by private minibus or a public bus, just know the experience will always be a memory.

You will find many of the roads travelled between the must-see places in Laos are in need of repair. Consequently, when having to travel over the hills from Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng, you will find the roads windy and scary at times.

The other option is to fly between the must-see places, but you wouldn’t have the story to tell.

To learn more about what the road conditions are like for travelling, then you can click on the links below for more information.

Travelling from Vang Vieng to Vientiane

Best Things to Do in Vang Vieng

Other Places to Explore in Laos

Laos is a country with so many places to explore besides the well-known Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, and Vientiane.

If you have more time, a 10-day or a 15-day itinerary of Laos would allow you to visit places like the Plain of Jars, Pakse or Bokeo Nature Reserve.