Like in neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand, it’s in the northern reaches of its lands that you can find the most spectacular nature experiences in Laos.
Kuangsi Waterfall is the highlight for many, as it’s an absolutely amazing series of waterfalls with cascading turquoise waters and beautiful pools excellent for swimming. It’s also relatively easy to get to from Luang Prabang. A full day can easily be spent here swimming in the pools, enjoying the roar of the water or climbing all the way to the top. You can also plan a visit to the local bear sanctuary, which is highly recommended.
Crossing the bridge at the Kuangsi Falls.
Meanwhile, some of the best trekking can be enjoyed from Nong Khiaw, a few hours drive from Luang Prabang. Here the village is bisected by two rivers and surrounded by not one, not two but three giant peaks. Treks up all three mountains are available with the Phae Daeng Peak and Sleeping Woman Viewpoint particular highlights.
Luang Namtha to the west is probably the friendliest and most welcoming town in all of Laos, which is quite a high bar. From here you can strike out into Nam Ha National Park, one of the most accessible nature areas in Laos after Phou Khao Khouay, which is filled with ethnic minority villages for you to visit on your treks.
Remote Nong Khiaw has some of the best trekking opportunities in Laos.
From Phongsali in the north east you can visit Phou Den Din National Park. The forested shoreline of the river is amazing to see, and see it you will, as currently the only way to venture into the park is via daily guided kayak tours along the Ou River.
The capital of Vientiane is a perfect base to experience Phou Khao Khouay, without a doubt the most accessible park in the country. Bisected by three separate rivers, the park is home to a stunning amount of endangered wildlife, and is probably the place you’re most likely to actually see some of this diverse fauna. Treks to Tat Fa Waterfall and the old Elephant Observation Tower are popular, with the latter even serving as a camp-site for trekkers wishing to spend a night or two in the park.
Kayaking on the Ou River in Phou Den Din National Park.
In short, Northern Laos is an almost unparalleled nature destination, and combines neatly with both Northern Thailand and Northern Vietnam for even longer nature packages.