Experience the dramatic scenery and rich culture of Laos on an outdoor adventure to see the wild side of this country. Laos has plenty of white-water rivers to be rafted, vast cave systems to explore and excellent trekking opportunities in the mountainous terrain.
Nearly 70% of the country is made up of mountainous and high terrain that reaches a height of over 2,800 metres. The majority of the ranges is covered in lush-green rainforest, and the narrow valleys below include plenty of rivers that lead to the mighty Mekong River, which is a lifeline of Laos and flows the entire length of the country.
Let's take a look at the top adventures that are easily organised by the Laos tour operator:
The most popular and easiest adventure activity in the country is trekking with plenty of routes that challenge all skill levels. A tour of the countryside can easily be arranged to incorporate a 1 to 5 day trek that are not only environmentally friendly, but also have a minimal impact on the local population.
Trekking in the far north of the country is a great experience to appreciate the traditional villages, colourful ethnic tribes, forest areas and mountain scenery.
Some of the best towns to visit on the Laos tours for the organised trekking adventures are Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Muang Sing and Luang Namtha. They all offer a variety of single day or multi-day trip that take in the village and camping stays.
Many other treks have been developed throughout the country which have been planned to avoid impacting the region's natural beauty. Also, there are the independent trekking opportunities that include the English-speaking guide in places like Nong Khiaw, Vieng Phoukha, Houayxai and Muang Long.
Eco-tours in Laos are starting to become more popular and include visiting the wilderness regions of the country to witness exotic fauna and flora. This type of adventure is perfect for the birdwatchers and nature lovers interested in seeing the vast forest canopies and rarest species on the planet.
A great place to enjoy the eco-tours is at one of the National Biodiversity Conservation Areas (NBCAs) in the country. They are located across the country with most in the more remote regions with limited road access. The best NBCAs for the tourist looking for the guided walk and easier travel options are in Phou Hin Poun, Nam Ha, and Phou Khao Khouay.
If you are looking to make the most of your adventure tour in Laos, you will find the most promising opportunities in the north of the country. In this region of Laos, there are plenty of places to visit for a go on a zip line that passes over the lush-green forest below. Also, there are zip lines near to the home of the gibbons, which makes it possible to see these magnificent creatures from a safe distance.
The Mekong River between Houayxai and Luang Prabang is a practical choice for a slow river cruise with its stunning scenery, but there are also plenty of opportunities to experience the faster waterways.
White-water rafting is a popular adventure activity on northern rivers like Nam Ming, Nam Xuang and Nam Ou, and relatively easy to organise on the Laos family tours by those tourists based in Luang Prabang.
Other water-based activities include the river kayaking tours that range from simple day-trips on the calm waters for the complete beginner to the multi-day adventures that travel rivers with grade 5 rapids.
The northern rivers are perfect for the professional guide kayaking tours with a few of the best bases for this type of adventure, including Luang Namtha, Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane. A further scenic destination is the Khammouane Limestone NBCA with a natural river tunnel that spans 7 km and passes through a mountain. This type of tour is best organised by travellers staying in Vientiane.
Rock climbing and caving
Laos has great limestone karst scenery and forests which make a great destination for rock climbing and cave exploring. Some of the finest areas to appreciate the limestone karst backdrop include Vieng Xai, Thakhet, Kasi, and Vang Vieng. For the majority of tourists, the type of cave exploring activity will relate to the cave structures that have the well defined pathways and are fairly touristy.
However, for the more serious cave explorers there are plenty of tunnel and cave systems that are more remote and difficult to reach. One of the major destinations for the most keen explorers is the Hin Nam No NBCA and Khammouane Limestone NBCA. This country still has plenty of unnamed and unclimbed peaks that will ensure Laos has a long future of rock climbing to come. More and more climbing routes are being opened up in places like Vang Vieng.
Visitors to Laos on the adventure inspired Laos travel packages will find plenty of roads in unpaved conditions that have little traffic to make a great place for cross-country mountain bike tours.
Mountain biking is a viable option in northern Laos for both the organised tour and the independent travellers. One of the most popular paths to follow is route 13 between Vientiane and Luang Prabang. But, this particular route has several large ranges and extremely mountainous which makes it more practical for the most experienced riders.
For the more relaxing mountain biking adventure, there are several routes in Xieng Khuang and Houa Phan provinces that take in the local landscape of the countryside with remote villages, minimal traffic and not much in the way of traffic.
Any mountain bike route should be planned with care because the distance on a map may appear quite short, but will often take several hours to complete in reality. Also, the tours can take place at a slow pace with the opportunity to sign up for a 2 week tour that takes in the best sights of Vientiane, Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang, as well as plenty of countryside scenery.