Laos travel is not only beautiful, but also jam packed with adventure activities. I’m a selective adrenaline junkie, and sports such as rock climbing and tubing in Laos get me going. However, suggest jumping out of an plane, and expect me to run for the hills. Southeast Asia travel continues to be incredibly rewarding.
Laos surprised me for how active we could be and just how fun it was. My partner is Mr. Sport Extroadinaire and finding the right balance between the two of us, as backpacking partners, was sometimes challenging. Pushing your limits is often what backpacking is about though and I’m glad I pushed mine.
You’ll be pleased to hear that Laos is one of the cheapest places in the world for adventure. The country is easily affordable on a backpacking budget. We could keep ourselves busy without breaking the bank.
Things to do in Laos
Rock Climbing in Vang Vieng
Whether you are a novice or a pro, Vang Vieng has a rock for you to climb. I had only tried this once before, tucked up safely in an indoor arena. This was completely different and infinitely better. Laos has some stunning landscapes and in Vang Vieng, limestone cliffs border the town and make for perfect climbs.
With a friendly guide who spoke just enough English for him to answer my burning questions: “Yes, the harness was safe” and “No, you will not fall”, I boldly had a go and heaved myself up the rockface. There were no markers indicating where you go like an indoor arena, this was free for all, grab on and go. I tried three climbs (5A-C) with the difficulty intensifying each time and though failing to make it to the very top, I loved every second.
Needless to say my sporty boyfriend whizzed up every wall and even surprised the instructor by trying one of the more advanced 6A ones. What made this challenging day all the more special was the feeling of satisfaction at pushing my body to limits I didn’t know I had and doing it all with the phenomenal Laos landscape as a backdrop.
Tubing in Laos
Now it’s arguable whether this is an adventure sport or just a big drinking binge, but either way it deserves a place on this list. Tubing is unique to Laos. For a small fee, a tube can be hired out and you basically chuck yourself in the water and whizz down the Mekong. Some genius (or madman) thought to turn it into a bar crawl and now at the start of the tubing experience and all the way along, bars scatter and haul you in to partake in drinking of quite mad proportions.
Down the river you can fly off huge slides, bounce off giant inflatables and swings and generally get your heart racing. It’s often a recipe for disaster however, especially in the dry season when the river is low. Make sure you plan your trip in the wet season, when the water is high and you can drink (or not of course) and cruise down the Mekong safely in a tube. Completely random but utterly brilliant.
Mountain Biking in Laos
Hiring a bike in Laos is so cheap it’s almost unreal. For around a dollar for a day you can venture around and explore on your own. We chose a day where the weather didn’t look so promising and lo and behold about half an hour in the heavens opened. Though completely off putting for me at first and one or two harsh words thrown at my man, I almost turned back. Thank goodness I didn’t as the weather cleared and I had a completely exhilarating day discovering caves and lagoons and breathing in the fragrant air from the Laotian rice fields.
Caving in Laos
Laos has many caving opportunities. Some with a guide and others with as little as “here’s a head torch and off you go”. We chose the latter and got to witness the awesome Phu Kam Cave and the Golden Buddha in Vang Vieng. Beyond the Buddha, the cave goes on for miles and I’ll be honest, it’s pretty terrifying. But those of you that aren’t terrified of the dark and death inducing sink holes will surely love it.
The Gibbon Experience in Laos
What could be more heart racing than zip lining through rainforest hundreds of feet up in the air? The Gibbon Experience was firmly on our bucket list. I’m sad to say it still hasn’t been ticked off, however, as unfortunately we timed our trip during a particularly heavy wet season and much of the experience was closed down. We made the choice to keep it on the list and have something to look forward to when we inevitably return.
The Gibbon isn’t just a day trip either. You can live in the tree canopy and spend your days zip wiring around, trekking and visiting waterfalls. I can’t wait to move into my little treehouse and experience life as the mystical gibbon.
So there you have it, strap yourself in and get your blood pumping with all sorts of adventure things to do during your Laos travel.