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Fire up the imagination with wildlife encounters and adrenaline-fuelled activities on a family holiday to Laos; here are 5 suggestions that are perfect for a brood of young adventurers.
1. Kayak at Nong Khiaw
Nong Khiaw is a strikingly beautiful small village on the banks of the Nam Ou river; a stretch of water that starts at the Chinese border and joins the Mekong just north of the UNESCO town of Luang Prabang.
The Nam Ou waterways, bordered by dramatic limestone mountains, have far fewer boats than the Mekong, making it a relaxing and picturesque area to go kayaking as a family. Take breaks along the way to explore villages, caves and waterfalls. For the very intrepid young explorer, there’s also the opportunity to try rock climbing.
2. Meet the elephants in Sayaboury
Laos used to be known as the ‘land of a million elephants’, and these giants are so inextricably linked with the national identity that they were on the country’s flag right up until 1975. Sadly, a combination of poaching and deforestation has seen the elephant population dwindle to around 1,000, but efforts are increasing to protect these endangered species.
Meet some very well cared for elephants at the Elephant Conservation Centre (ECC) in Sayaboury. They have plenty of space to roam as well as their very own hospital. Just as an “elephant never forgets”, kids are likely to remember an elephant encounter for years to come.
3. Cycle in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang is one of the most popular places to visit in Laos for good reason. This UNESCO World Heritage town packs a cultural punch while remaining blissfully serene. Skip private cars here and rent bikes to mix temples, palaces and museums with glorious countryside and lively markets; a sure-fire way to keep everyone engaged.
4. Spend time in the jungles of northern Laos
Laos is bursting at the seams with natural beauty. For an adventure, wave goodbye to civilisation with a few days in wild, untouched areas just off the banks of the Mekong. There’s an eco-tent resort in the heart of the forest where kids can try hands-on activities – everything from rice planting to archery – in these tranquil surroundings.
5. Swim in the Kuang Si Falls
As well as being the most beautiful town in Laos, Luang Prabang is surrounded by lush countryside with thick forest, green rice paddies and Mount Phousi in the distance. As if that wasn’t enough, the Kuang Si Falls are also only a short journey away; while away an afternoon at this multi-level waterfall with a walk through the forest and a dip in the turquoise waters of the natural pool.