Laos with Kids: 10 Things to Do on Family Vacation
When traveling to Laos with kids, the parents can seem daunting, “What kind of activities are kid friendly?”, “Is it safe to travel with kids?”. This is very common concern to every family when traveling with their kids to a new destination. So, what Laos has to offer family trip in this country?
Settled in South East Asia with borders to many neighboring countries of China, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar & Vietnam, it is not surprising that Laos is a cultural melting pot. In recent two decades, Laos has been opened its doors to the world with many attractions which are appealing not just independent traveler but with group and families. Lao’s charm lies in its simplicity, slow pace and peaceful atmosphere, interesting outdoor activities, the people’s hospitality and more. As there are lot of things to do so traveling with kids in Laos is never going to be a massive issue.
Here is the list of activities available for families which can make your traveling with kids to Laos fun, educational and more importantly, safe for travelers of all ages!
- 1. Attend the unique Alms giving ceremony in Luang Prabang
- 2. Explore the most authentic hill-tribe experience in Northern Laos
- 3. Learn more about history, culture, architecture of Laos through visiting the highlight attractions
- 4. Close to the nature at waterfalls
- 5. Discover Caves
- 6. Have a fun and educational experience on the farm in Luang Prabang
- 7. Enjoy time at Elephant Village Sanctuary in Luang Prabang
- 8. Explore the Plain of Jars
- 9. Join in a cooking class
- 10. Try local food & drinks
- Travel Advisory
1. Attend the unique Alms giving ceremony in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang is probably the best known and most visited place in Laos. The city itself was a royal capital until 1975 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Centre in 1995. With the Mekong on one side and golden temple-lined streets, this city sums up its diverse influences in Laos.
Possessing many pagodas and temples in Laos, visitors can easily see Lao culture connecting to Buddhism. One of these is Alms Giving Ceremony which only takes place at dawn when the monks get out of their temples to collect offerings from local people. Traveling with kids will give them chance to observe saffron robed monks walking along the streets gathering alms before returning to their temples to study and pray. They also learn how respect that Laotian people make during this ritual which will be done in silence. If your family join this ceremony, wake up early (5am-6.00am), dress appropriately, prepare offerings and patiently wait for the monks on the streets.
2. Explore the most authentic hill-tribe experience in Northern Laos
Unlike the neighbors such as Vietnam, Thailand, when coming to Laos, you will find that their life continues here as it has for centuries while hidden places are quite undisturbed by mass tourism. Although the trekking routes can be a challenge, Lao’s hilltribe villages are worth to visit. When reaching here, you will feel the authentic culture of each minority with their warm attitude towards your family. Your children will have opportunity to interact with the locals and the children will be the ultimate ice-breaker when a language is not shared.
Spending an overnight stay at one of the homestays here is also another memorable experience that your family can try. Living as a local, cooking or be hosted with the family, trying new activity which are sure to be fulfilling and educational one.
3. Learn more about history, culture, architecture of Laos through visiting the highlight attractions
Laos possesses many incredible sights from the beauty of nature to rich culture and history. So, spend your day touring to the best of each city will be an interesting experience which give travelers at all ages better understand about the destination that you visit. The capital Vientiane and UNESCO Heritage Site – Luang Prabang are always on the top visiting list in Laos. With long-lasting history, each city has many attractions to appeal visitors to come.
While in Vientiane – the largest city of Laos, your family can visit Patuxai Victory Monument, one of the best known landmarks of the capital; famous and sacred temples including Pha That Luang Stupa, Ho Phra Kaew, Wat Si Saket; or Lao National Museum.
If you are in Luang Prabang, you will see its outstanding culture, history and architectural magnificence because the varied colonial past adds an extra dimension to this humble city together with its foundations of root in spirituality and Buddhism. There are some places that you should not miss here including Wat Xieng Thong, Royal Palace Museum, Mt. Phousi or Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center (TAEC), etc.
4. Close to the nature at waterfalls
Laos has full of urban and rural tourist sites that are family-friendly, and the country is also home to many amazing waterfalls. These sites are suitable for all ages to get there and enjoy fun time.
One of the most popular waterfalls in the country is Kuang Si Waterfall which is located about 20 miles south of Luang Prabang. You can spend half or full day to cool down in the pools or hike to the top for magnificent views of the surrounding. There’s also a bear rescue center nearby for your good look at some local animals that have been saved and are being rehabilitated.
Another local waterfall in Luang Prabang that is also worth a visit, although it is not as famous as Kuang Si Waterfall, is Tad Sae Waterfall. This fall is only accessible by boat which makes the journey more adventurous and a chance to immerse yourself into the nature and get close to the locals.
Southern Laos is also home to many amazing waterfalls. We can list some names such as Tad Fane Waterfall in Don Hua Sao National Protected Area in Champasak Province; Li Phi Waterfall or Khone Phapheng Waterfall in the 4,000 Islands area of Lao’s southern border with Cambodia.
5. Discover Caves
Laos has dozens of intricate cave systems dotted across the country. As one of the best places to visit in Luang Prabang, Pak Ou Caves are an important site for Buddha followers where are filled with hundreds of carved Buddha statues and images. Located on the river bank, a compulsory boat trip to reach the caves is also an interesting combined experience for your family.
Vang Vieng, on halfway of Vientiane and Luang Prabang, is also known with many amazing caves. Of which, the most-visited caves can be listed including Tham Chang Cave (the most famous one around the town); Tham Phu Kham Cave & nearby Blue Lagoon (a favorite cave with cave interest and some fun activities at nearby blue lagoon); Tham Nam (Water Cave) or Tham Xang (Elephant Cave), etc. Due to the steep stairways or darkness in some caves, you can consider the visit if traveling with infant or small children.
6. Have a fun and educational experience on the farm in Luang Prabang
Becoming a rice farmer may be a something different that can attract your family to join. This unique activity introduces you on an in depth and hands-on learning experience at step of making rice manually. As the ultimate foundation of everyday life in Asia including Laos, rice is still a mystery for many visitors of how to cultivate and grow in the traditional way. Working on the land like the natives will definitely be a fun time and your kids can also have more educational experience on the farm as well as understand a life of the farmer.
7. Enjoy time at Elephant Village Sanctuary in Luang Prabang
The Elephant Village Sanctuary is an educational facility dedicated to the rehabilitation and protection of Asian elephants in Laos. This is one of the most comprehensive, hands-on experiences in the country and a rare chance to get up close to these magnificent animals. There are 3 tour packages for your choice: half day elephant experience, full day experience or two-day mahout. During the tour, you will take part in interesting activities such as bathing the elephant, feeding them, exploring their hospital or museum, jungle trekking, visiting the stunning Tad Sae Waterfall…Your family will have good time when being close with nature and the animals as the cultural symbol of Laos.
8. Explore the Plain of Jars
Located near Phonsavan commune of Xieng Khuang Province in Laos, the Plain of Jars is one of the most important prehistoric sites in Southeast Asia. This destination has been a challenge to Laos and international archaeologists with many myths and its origin is still unknown up to now. Having outstanding values, Megalithic Jar Sites in Xieng Khuang – Plain of Jars become the 3rd World Cultural Heritage of Laos recognized by UNESCO in 2019, after 20 years of waiting for approval.
Following its long dating since the Iron Age, you will be amazed with the fantastic mixture without any fixed arrangement of about 2000 jars scattered in many locations of the province as well as their different shapes and sizes. Also take a side trip to the land mine museum in Phonsavan, it does give those travelling to Laos with kids a valuable insight into its darker past of Laos.
9. Join in a cooking class
Learning how to cook typical cuisine of destination that you travel to is always a great experience. To join a traditional cooking class, you will be taken to the local market where you can pick the fresh ingredients and herbs for your meal. Then the professional chef will show you how to cook a bunch of dishes. After finishing the dish on your own, it is time for you to sit down and taste what you have just done. If you whip up fancy Lao meals, let’s try to practice and invite your friends to taste when you are back home.
10. Try local food & drinks
Both Luang Prabang and Vientiane are gateways of tourist sites as well as popular and delicious Laotian food. Many Laos food staples and the own specialties of each city attract visitors, especially those who are foodie.
One of the main staples that you can see in every meal is sticky rice or Khao Chi or Khao Jee. It can be served with other dishes such as grilled meat, fish dishes, salads or even omelets. Some other food that should not be missed when your family travel to Laos including Lao sausage; Mekong catfish; Khao piak (rice noodle soup); Larb (meat salad), Tam Mak Hoong (spicy vegetable and green Salad) …
For drinks, Beerlaos are very popular and go very well with most Lao staples and specialties. You can also try other good drink types such as fresh fruit, soy milk, coffee…
Your dining experience can be done at local restaurants from standard to luxury style or street food stalls or at night markets where you have time shopping around and try your bargain skills.
– To compare with its neighbors, Laos may not have great sanitation, healthcare facilities and infrastructure. A good preparation with affective travel insurance and consult your travel doctor about necessary vaccinations a few months ahead of your Laos family trip can work better. However, in case of sickness, the Vientiane French Medical Centre has a paediatrician who speaks English and French or Laos Friends Hospital for Children in Luang Prabang that provides treatment to kids;
– Bring your own well-stocked medical kit and any children-specific medication to use in emergency case;
– The road condition and vehicle quality standard in Laos can be a challenge so prepare yourself of these prior to the trip;
– Be aware of mosquitoes. Mosquito repellents are especially important during the rainy season;
In conclusion, traveling with children in Laos can be both rewarding and challenging. Laos is a friendly and welcoming country for families while the Lao people adore children and will show their attention on your kids. They can find playmates and become ice-breakers to interact with the locals in good way. If you have any inquiries for the family trip to Laos, please feel absolutely contact Laos Travel team to get the prompt assistance and best advice for your expecting journey ahead.