Experience a Unique Holiday in Laos With Divine
Divine curates highly personalised itineraries and unique travel experiences within Laos for you. We will ensure you are exploring at your own pace and seeing the sorts of cultural and natural attractions that interest you most on your curated private experience of Laos.
Watch monks collecting alms in Luang Prabang
Each day as dawn breaks over the former royal capital of Laos, silent processions of hundreds of saffron-robed monks thread through streets bordered by cafes, markets and a multitude of golden stupas. Many are novices from Luang Prabang’s temples, the most important being Wang Xieng Thang, which is adorned with gold-painted figurines and intricate mosaic-covered walls.
Early in the morning locals wait patiently with their offerings on mats for the monks to pass by. This is an age-old ritual for Buddhists, conducted in silence, and the food collected forms an important part of the monks' daily diet.
Create local dishes during a cooking class
Laotian food is heavily influenced by Vietnamese, Cambodian and Thai cuisine, and certainly tantalises the taste buds. The national dish, Laap, is a mixture of minced fish, beef or chicken cooked with mint and chilli, fish sauce, lime juice and sticky rice. Dishes are simple, but tasty and often incorporate chilli, although they tend to be less spicy than Thai food.
Luang Prabang is one of the best places to learn how to cook typical Laotian fare. Tamarind, a restaurant with a picturesque riverside location, has a cookery school housed in open-sided thatched pavilions overlooking the landscape.
Take a night safari in Nam Et-Phou Louey National Park
Tucked away in the northeast corner of Laos lies the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Park. Covered in cloud forest, it sits in the shadow of the poetically named Mount Forever and offers good hiking opportunities.
As twilight fades, your guide turns off the boat’s engine and you float downstream. Creatures on the banks begin to stir and your guide will highlight them with a torch. Try spotting wildcats and pythons!
Discover the secret caves of the Pathet Lao
In the 1960s, the Pathet Lao, a communist organisation, established a base within the honeycomb network of these caves. The cave system protected many from the bombing campaign waged by the USA in support of the Royal Laos Government.
Used as the headquarters for the party during Laos’ Secret War, communities of thousands lived in the dark caves by day, emerging only at night to farm. With a wry smile, my guide recounted a local myth that farmers would paint their cows in order to camouflage them in the fields.
Cruise the Mekong and the Ou Rivers
The Mekong twists its way down through Laos and forms a natural border with Thailand. All manner of vessels, from longtail fishing boats and barges to cruisers, traverse its waterways, ferrying passengers and goods.
As well as being a relaxing way to travel, the country’s waterways reveal little vignettes of everyday Laotian life – fishermen casting nets, children playing and buffalos cooling off from the heat of the sun.
Enjoy the slow pace of life in the 4,000 Islands
Further south, the Mekong River swells to its widest as it negotiates the Si Phan Don Archipelago, or the 4,000 Islands. Time here slows to reflect the easy, laid-back nature of the islands’ inhabitants, whose existence revolves around the river.
In truth, the 4,000 islands can be touristy, but you can spend a pleasant day exploring the islands by boat with a private guide. With a little luck, you’ll spot a pod of the rare Irrawaddy river dolphins, which swim these waters and you can also venture to Khone Falls, the largest waterfalls in Southeast Asia.