ສະບາຍດີ (sabaidi) from the Retired Toddlers in Laos!
One of the stops on our Around the World in 80 Days trip was to visit Laos. Our time traveling with kids in Laos was packed with adventure!!!
The Best Activities in Laos with Kids
We visited temples and learned about life as a Buddhist monk. Some of the temples we visited were Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Visun and Wat Aham. We also visited The National Museum.
We took a boat ride on the Mekong River (which Jagger LOVED!) and much to our surprise, we had a private boat! We visited a little village off the bank where a local family makes Whiskey and then stopped at the Buddha Caves. We loved visiting the village because it was a look into life as a local villager. The kids got to meet other kids running around and were able to try weaving with a local family. We all learned how to prepare some of the rice for rice whiskey! (And yes, Mama got to try the whiskey and it was a little strong!)
Whenever we have a chance, we like to learn how to cook the local cuisine - and even better when we can go out into the nearby villages and cook with a local family at their home. Seeing how the multiple generations come together to cook is so fun! We started by meeting them at the local fresh fruit & veggie market to select our ingredients and then drove out to their house in a nearby village to learn how to cook -- a true Laos foodie experience! (Want to book with this family - see Luang Prabang Home Cooking Experience)
One day, we took a short drive out to some local waterfalls - cold, but refereshing! And isn’t it the most gorgeous setting? After a day of swimming we got to participate in some more hands on activities - learning how silk is dyed and making paper.
One then there was this - one of my all-time favorite experiences ... up close and personal with elephants in the jungle of Laos!
To be honest I was a little hesitant to do go to MandaLao Elephant Conservation. We try to be conscious travelers and don’t want to participate in activities that may harm the animals. But after working with Journeys Within (our Southwest Asia tour company who are amazing at responsible tourism) we felt confident that the Mandalao elephants are happy and that this conservation center has helped them to restore their faith in humanity.
We started our interaction with the elephants by feeding them healthy and delicious treats we made using local ingredients. These elephants were saved from the local logging activites that were banned a few years ago. They can't be let back in the wild, so MandaLao has to provide them food, but lets them live as naturally as possible. It's quite beautiful seeing how much they care for these animals.
Then we walked into the cool waters of the Nam Khan River and watched the elephant enjoying their favorite pastime - bathing!
Biggest lesson learned at MandaLao: Don't Ride Elephants - it really hurts them. Don't go to circuses or partipate in activites where elephants are used to do tricks.
Riding in a Tuk-Tuk is always an adventure and a fun way to get around these small towns!
But we also got some exercise and we took a walk around Luang Prabang. You can get a glimpse into the villa and hotel we stayed at, as well as where we volunteered to teach English!
Accommodations in Laos
Kiridara Villa Visoun (we stayed here for a few nights and then moved over to the main resort. While the Villa was beautiful and large, there was construction going on next door and we found ourselves enjoying the resort pool more, so we opted for a King Room with extra bed and balcony there - it was a beautiful room!)
Interesting Travel Facts about Laos
Vientiane Lao is the dialect commonly spoken in Laos
Tap water in Laos is NOT safe to drink
If you like Thai food you’ll probably like the food in Laos because it’s very similar
Western travelers can get a visa at the airport or border, which is valid for 30 days
How Much Does it Cost to Go to Laos?
This is a little harder to breakdown costs because we used a tour company to go to Vietnam & Laos.
We paid: $9,498 for 19 nights, including flights from Vietnam to Laos and Laos to Thailand, all tours, accommodations, many meals, air-conditioned van with driver and car seats for the kids and much more!
Here is my honest review of JourneysWithin -- I absolutely love their custom tours. I love that they are really well versed in Southeast Asia - they have locals that they have great relationships with. They provide jobs for locals and are really invested in the local communities. They seem to be able to get us access to very unique experiences - into peoples homes and the outskirt villages and volunteering. In Cambodia, they’ve built a community center, JWOC (Journeys Within Our Communities), which gives scholarships to local students, provides free after school programs, as well as provides education and clean water to the rural areas. I highly recommend them for all those reasons. They only reason I hesitate to recommend them is that they can be painfully slow to respond when initially trying to plan any trip with them or ask them questions. Once the trip is planned and you are there, they are great, which is why I love taking their tours in Southeast Asia and have often recommended them!
Want more of our travel adventures? Check out our adventures in Egypt or click here to read about more of our travel experiences!
Michelle is a full-time traveler who also runs a business with Beautycounter.
Learn more about her business here or request free samples.
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