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Fun Things to Do in Laos with Kids

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Laos with kids delivers a lot of adventure at an affordable price. As one of Asia’s least populated countries, Laos offers plenty of wide open spaces as well as beautiful scenery and a laid-back populace. Lao people love children, so families will feel quite welcome here. Let’s explore six fun things to do on family vacation in Laos.

Buddha Park in Vientiane, Laos

Buddha Park in Vientiane, Laos (Photo credit: GoodOlga, Depositphotos.com)

1. Climb and play at Buddha Park.

Buddha Park was built in 1958 by an imaginative monk named Bunleua Sulilat. It includes several impressive, large sculptures of both Hindu and Buddhist deities. The central attraction is a large concrete dome that can be entered from the bottom. Once inside, you can spiral up to the top, viewing various sculptures depicting aspects of creation, heaven and hell. The highest point is a bit harrowing, far above the ground with no guard rails, but the view of the park is breathtaking.

There is a lot of space for children to run around at the park, and an outdoor restaurant for a snack break. Entrance to the park is extremely affordable. Buddha Park is on the outer edge of Vientiane, close to the Laos/Thailand border crossing. 

Luang Prabang Night Market

Luang Prabang Night Market (Photo credit: Curioso_Travel_Photography, Depositphotos.com)

2. Shop markets in Laos.

Wandering through markets in Laos will give your family a glimpse into the Lao way of life. Fresh markets, like the Morning Market in Luang Prabang, are bursting with all sorts of colorful fruits, vegetables, spices, fish, and other foods. Shop for souvenirs of your Laos family vacation at Luang Prabang’s Night Market, where you’ll find toys, jewelry, handicrafts, clothing and more. For a taste of traditional Lao cuisine, head to Vangthong Evening Food Market in Vientiane to get your fill of goodies like gayoor toort (deep-fried spring rolls) and khao lam (sticky rice and coconut cream grilled inside bamboo).

The elephant is the National Animal of Laos

The elephant is the National Animal of Laos (Photo credit: KGBIMages, Depositphotos.com)

3. Visit an elephant sanctuary.

Elephants are considered the National Animal of Laos. The Lao people revere elephants as a symbol of luck and strength. While you can find places to ride elephants in Laos, this practice is considered unethical and should be avoided. Instead, view and interact with elephants at one of the elephant sanctuaries in Laos.

Elephant Conservation Center

View the world’s largest land mammals from 12 different observation stations in a natural forest near a lake at the Elephant Conservation Center in Sayaboury. Find this sanctuary about two hours from Luang Prabang.

Elephants bathing in Laos

Elephants bathing in Laos (Photo credit: smithore, Depositphotos.com)

Mekong Elephant Park

Choose from a variety of experiences with rescued elephants at the Mekong Elephant Park in the remote village of Pakbeng. You can view their playful bath time in the Mekong River, or walk alongside the animals during a forest trek.

Vang Vieng Elephant Sanctuary

You can touch, feed, and even help bathe elephants at the Vang Vieng Elephant Sanctuary. Half-day and full-day tours are available at this wildlife center, located about two hours from Vientiane.

COPE Visitor Centre

COPE Visitor Centre (Photo credit: urf, Depositphotos.com)

4. Learn important lessons at the COPE Visitor Centre.

For a thought-provoking experience, bring your kids to the COPE Visitor Centre to learn about Lao history and effects of war on the country. The COPE Center (Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise) provides prosthetics and mobility devices for those in need, on a “pay what you can” basis. 

Laos was the most heavily bombed country in the history of warfare. Its unfortunate geography left Laos stuck in the middle of the Vietnam-U.S. War. Unexploded Ordinances, or UXO, continue to be a problem in Laos even today. 

At COPE Museum, you will see deactivated UXO on display in artful arrangements and learn about the programs offered by the non-profit organization. Your family can also explore a replica of a typical Lao house and try out some wheelchairs and tricycles designed specifically for developing countries.

The gift shop offers handicrafts and COPE t-shirts and books, the proceeds all going to the cause. Visit the ice cream stand before leaving!

Fishing is an important part of life in Laos

Fishing is an important part of life in Laos (Photo credit: djmdep, Depositphotos.com)

5. Go fishing in Laos with kids.

Fishing is an important part of life in Laos. In fact, fish makes up 48 percent of the population’s protein intake. Learn the art of net and rod fishing like a local during a half-day guided tour in Luang Prabang on Nam Ou River. You’ll learn about the importance of fishing to the Lao culture and economy. And, you will feast on your own fresh caught fish, which is grilled and served with traditional sticky rice. (Participants must be aged 6+.) Sign up for your Laos fishing tour via Viator now! 

Patuxay Victory Monument in Laos

Patuxay Victory Monument (Photo credit: Deerphoto, Depositphotos.com)

6. Explore Patuxay Victory Monument.

Modeled after the Arch de Triumph in France, Patuxay Victory Monument in Vientiane, was built in the 1960s. It was purportedly built out of cement donated by the U.S. for the intended use of building an airport. This legend has earned Patuxay the snarky nickname, “The Vertical Runway.”

The admission price is minimal, and the climb to the top of the monument gives you an excellent birds-eye view of downtown Vientiane. As you climb, you can leisurely shop for souvenirs like t-shirts and handicrafts, displayed on three different levels of the structure. Afterwards, explore the surrounding park where many locals come to exercise in the evenings.

Beautiful sculpture in Buddha Park

Another beautiful sculpture in Buddha Park (Photo credit: GoodOlga, Depositphotos.com)

Why visit Laos with kids?

Aside from the cost of airfare, the rest of your trip to Laos with kids will typically be extremely affordable. Although the destination may seem very exotic to Western families, the welcoming Lao people will make you feel right at home.

Koi ponds at National Museum of Cambodia

Koi ponds at National Museum of Cambodia (Photo credit: taneso99o, Depositphotos.com)

Explore more of Asia!

Neighboring country Cambodia is another friendly and fascinating destination in Asia for families. Discover the best things to do in Phnom Penh with kids.

For an incredibly clean and safe adventure in Asia — discover Tokyo with kids.

Get outside Japan’s capital city with this guide to Narita and these intriguing things to do near Tokyo.

Things to Do in Laos with Kids

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Would you like to visit Laos with kids? Let us know in the comments below!

Candice Kilpatrick Brathwaite is a world traveling mother of three. Previously a teacher, she now works as a writer, marketer, community manager, social media consultant, and social asset manager. Before moving to New York City, she lived in Asia for 10 years, including several years in Laos. Candice writes about her family travel adventures at MomMostTraveled.com.

Comments
  1. Amy @ The Q Family says

    I have to admit that I have never been to Lao yet even though Thailand is Lao’s neighboring country. Maybe this year we will. 🙂

  2. I like Thailand too! Living in Laos, I have been there about 50 times, mostly in Chiang Mai, Udon Thani, Nong Khai, and Bangkok. And one trip to Koh Samui 8 years ago 🙂

  3. Hi, I’ve just arrived in Vientiane at the end of a 6 week stay in beautiful Laos. First impressions of Vientiane, not so good, but thanks to your post I’ve got some great ideas for things to do over the next few days. Thanks!

  4. Laos is always a good idea for family travelling. Good destination with a lot of attractions near the center, nice people and safe environment

  5. I would love to visit Laos someday. And see those elephants and the Buddha Park.

  6. Carrie Ann says

    I hope to have the chance to travel to Laos sometime in the next few years – it looks like such a beautiful country! I’d especially love to do the fishing tour you mentioned, and visit the night markets to sample the food.

  7. Christine Weis says

    OMGoodness, Laos looks amazing. I have never heard of this place. I’ll add it to my bucket list of beautiful places to visit. My kids would love to visit the elephant sanctuary, as would I.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Laos remains a relatively unknown destination, which means better prices and more space for those of us in the know! 🙂

  8. Laos looks like it would be an amazing adventure for the family! I’ve always wanted to take a trip to Asia, and this is the first place we’ll go.

  9. I am in love with these fun things to do for families in Laos! Especially the beautiful images and the elephant sanctuaries.

  10. Steven Morrissette says

    Wow, now I really want to visit Laos. The Buddha Park in Vientiane is one of the places I would visit first.

  11. Oh my, I would love to be able to travel here myself, one of these days! It looks like it’s quite the experience.

  12. Laos sounds like a wonderful family destination. Definitely plenty of things to do with the kids! These all look like fun.

  13. Laos looks so beautiful! I would love to visit here one day! My two favorites to add to my bucket list are the Vang Vieng Elephant Sanctuary and shopping in their markets. I can’t wait to start traveling again!

  14. Ntensibe Edgar says

    Thank you for these suggestions! I look forward to go fishing and visiting an elephant park.

  15. I love Laos so much. I was there last year. Love their night markets and French heritage town.

  16. Revelation Holidays says

    I was just searching for a family trip for one of my client , Sri Lanka was preferred. However looking through the post, I just realized Laos can also be suggested as an option. We never did earlier as Kids Perspective. Good to see the post.

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