Gap Year

Gap Year Guide: Laos

Ben Maples  · Sep 23rd 2020

Laos is popular with travelers, being such a small country the time spent here is around 7 – 14 days, 30-day visa will cost you around £30 (this is the minimum visa).


It’s so attractive for backpackers are it’s often seen people traveling from Thailand, stopping off in Laos and then traveling to Vietnam and finishing your backpacking experience in Cambodia. its a very simple route to take to backpackers. Hostels are less popular is Laos, hotels are used as the prices are very low. The hostels in Laos that are available only provide private rooms rather than dorms, so make sure you hang out in the communal areas to meet people.

I’m sure tubing will be on your list of things to do while in Laos and if it isn’t, it will now after we explain what Tubing it is…. You are picked up from your hostel (all very reasonably priced), and you’re taken to a river, sounds scary right now, but I assure you it gets extremely fun! You then receive a rubber ring, so get yourself onto that and flow down the river and take in all the views surrounding you. While you make your way down to the river, staff then throw a rope out to you and pull you in. Each ‘stop’ will have a bar so that you can order food and drinks, essentially a bar crawl on water. Each ‘stop’ will have different activities to do for example one the ‘stops’ has a huge mud pool, and everyone jumps in there together, it’s getting really messy and is lots of fun!

Laos Gap Year

Another reason why Laos attracts so many travelers are the incredible caves, lagoons and waterfalls. All can be experienced as part of a tour, booked through a gap year agency, or you can privately rent a motorbike for the day and make your own way there (lots of maps available to direct you). Upon arrival to the caves there will be locals that will rent you a head torch (grab one of these!) You can make your way down to the caves (which are in water by the way, so bring your swimwear). The blue lagoon will be full of backpackers, great area to chill out and meet some like-minded people. The waterfalls are incredible and should be visited, but if time is not on your hands then the Kuang Si waterfall in Luang Prabang is breathtaking, and you will have access to the bear rescue centre nearby and the butterfly park. Laos has a number of beautiful natural habitats and sites for you to visit, remember that you're here for the beauty as well!


  • Lots of activities – Tubing is a pretty unique experience
  • Cheap hotel rooms / private rooms
  • Amazing scenery


  • No free Visa (although they are only around £30)
  • Lower quality of food when compared to the other South-east Asian countries
  • Roads are of a low quality, lots of dirt tracks – can be dangerous

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