With 47 recognized ethnic groups, visiting almost any Lao village outside of the main towns will put you in an ethnic minority village! The most diverse collection of ethnic minority villages is in the northern provinces of Luang Namtha, Phongsaly and Bokeo, but there are also quite a few distinct Mon-Khmer groups in living near the Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos . If you are interested in visiting a remote ethnic minority village, it is recommended that you hire a local guide and use a local tour operator or guide service. If you do decide to go to one of the country's more accessible ethnic villages on your own, please first have a look at the do's and don'ts for culturally sensitive in Laos.

Laos ' high annual rainfall, mountainous terrain and extensive river system create some of the most impressive waterfalls in the world. In fact, the largest waterfall by volume in Southeast Asia, Khone Phapeng, is located in Laos. Laotian people often use waterfalls (called tad in Lao language) for weekend getaways, picnics and family get-togethers. Thus, many waterfalls have relaxing rest stops, accommodation and locally guided tours. Below is a list of some of the more popular waterfalls in Laos.

With over 800 species recorded to date and new species being added to the country list regularly.

Textiles, silver, woodcarving, basketry and natural paper are some of the most popular handicrafts in Laos . Lao weavers are know for producing intricate fabrics in home-spun silk and cotton, most notably, complex mut mee (ikot) patterns based on folklore and natural themes.

Laos is home to over one hundred species of large mammal. Many of these are familiar Asian species such as Tiger, Asian Elephant and Gaur (a species of wild cattle). Laos is also home to an impressive diversity of primates including five species of gibbon, five species of macaque and fours species of leaf monkey including the incredibly beautiful Douc Langur.

A great, ecologically friendly way to get around Lao is by bicycle. With a population of only about 6 million people, Laos has light traffic outside the main towns and biking around the country's green hills is gaining popularity. It is best to bring your own bike if you plan on a longer trip, but for shorter trips, many tour companies and guest houses rent mid-range mountain bikes. There are currently organized bike tours to the mountains and ethnic villages in Luang Namtha. Other great places to rent a bike are Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang.


Orchids are found in all the forest types of Laos, and although 335 species have been recorded officially, it is certain that many more species are yet to be discovered.

Organized tent camping is available in Phou Khao Khouay National Protected Area and through major tour operators in Vang Vieng, If you are interested in staying in a simple bamboo forest camp, try the Nam Ha Forest Camp in Luang Namtha's Nam Ha National Protected Area. There is also combination rafting and camping expeditions available in Luang Prabang Province. Asia Safari offers high-end camping trips in various places throughout the country.

Some of the most extensive limestone cave systems in Asia can be found in Laos.