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Best Hiking Trails in Laos

Overview

Officially known as Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Laos is a country in Asia sandwiched between its more well-known neighbours, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and China. Laos is mountainous and has hiking trails throughout, particularly in the north of the country.  Some of the main hiking regions include: Phongsali village trekking, Nam Ha NPA, Luang Prabang province and around Vang Vieng.  The best months to hike in Laos are November to March.  Read on for more information on where and when to go hiking in Laos. 

Capital: Vientiane

When To Hike in Laos?

November – March 
April; October
May – September: Rainy
Climate: Tropical for much of the country (wet and dry seasons); subtropical in the north.  Affected by monsoons and typhoons.

Accessibility of Hiking

Medium: Hiking is a popular activity and there are established trails in some spots but a guide is recommended.

Transportation required: Public transit to some areas, vehicle required for others

Where to stay in Laos for hiking:

  • Vang Vieng
  • Nong Khiaw
  • Luang Lamtha

Most popular hikes in Laos

The National Protected Areas (NPA) are where to go for hiking. The main mountain ranges are the Annamese Cordillera and the Luang Prabang Range. Northern Laos is the best place for hiking. Highest Mountain: Phou Bia (2819 m)

Filter out hiking places of Laos by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

Dong Hua Sao NPA

Nakai-Nam Theun National Park

Phou-Hin Poun NPA

Around Vang Vieng

  • Considered an adventure capital 

Phou Khao Khouay NPA

  • Close to Vientiane (capital)

Nam Xam NPA

Nam Et – Phou Louey NPA

Around Nong Kiaw

Phongsali province

  • Great for trekking from village to village
  • Phou Den Din NPA

Nam Ha NPA

  • Luang Lamtha a good base to explore

Long Distance Trails of Laos

  • Many multi-day treks can be organized in the regions mentioned here

Laos's Walking & Hiking Resources

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Laos Hiking Books: No hiking specific books

  • Lonely Planet Laos, by Austin Bush, Bruce Evans, Nick Ray, 2020, Lonely Planet Publications – https://amzn.to/3x3LlNp
  • Lonely Planet Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, & Northern Thailand, by Lonely Planet, 2021, Lonely Planet Publications – https://amzn.to/4a899P3

 

Laos Hiking Associations:

 

Best Hiking Trails in Laos:

You can find more details on hiking these trails from trail maps/apps, websites, and tourist offices:

  • Eagle Mountain – Nam Ka NPA
  • Katang Trail to Sacred Forest – Dong Phu Vieng NPA
  • Phar Khew Viewpoint Trail – Luang Prabang
  • Pha Daeng Peak – Luang Prabang
  • Silver Cliff Viewpoints – Vientiane
  • Pha Ngern – Vientiane
  • Pha Boom Viewpoint Trail – Luang Prabang
  • Phongsali villages

Easy Hiking Trails in Laos:

  • 100 Waterfalls – Luang Prabang
  • Vang Vieng Trail – Vientiane

 

Laos Hiking Websites:

 

Laos Official Tourism Organizations:

  • Lao National Tourism Administration – Tourism Laos     

 

Laos Hiking Apps: 

 

Laos Hiking Maps: 

What Else To Do

  • Gibbon Experience – zipline 
  • Tham Kong Lor – cave 
  • River trips
  • Plain of Jars

Other Important Points

  • Eco-trekking is quite established in Laos, where registered guides return a portion of profits to villages visited during treks
  • Golden Triangle refers to where Laos meets Thailand and Myanmar
  • Elephant conservation