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Laos' communities provide unique experiences in all forms, from exposure to Laos' traditional crafts to ziplining above an extinct volcano.

1.1. Homestay Ban Naduang Village, Vang Vieng District

The village of Ban Naduang is as close as you can get to living the Lao farming life: an immersive overnight stay at a local's house, eating the local food, and enjoying traditional entertainment in the evening. Another attraction can be found some 45 minutes' walk from Ban Naduang: the Kang Nyui waterfall group, three scenic cascades worth visiting as part of a picnic jaunt.

Homestays at Ban Naduang are basic but comfortable: no air-conditioning, just beds with mosquito netting and a ceiling fan to keep you cool at night. No worries, the evenings in Ban Naduang are cool. After dinner, the village kids will perform traditional Lao dances for your entertainment – and you can join in the dancing as well!

1.2. Tree Top Explorer, Paksong District, Champasack Province

The Treetop Explorer takes travelers aloft in its network of ziplines, sending them careening over Dong Hua Sao Park on the Bolaven Plateau. The lines whiz above the Kamet Falls and get across deep gorges in Dong Hua Sao's mountainous environment – providing amazing views of the scenery without endangering the environment! You can explore the mountain range in other ways, too – from scaling the via ferrata to going canyoning in the waterfall.

At night, you'll zipline back into your treehouse bedroom, part of the Jungle Hotel Paksong at the Treetop Explorer's centre. Even here, great pains are taken to ensure harmony with nature – electricity comes from a turbine installed at a nearby waterfall, food is supplied from nearby Ban Nongluang village, and all structures are built using indigenous materials. treetoplaos.com

1.3. Sangkong – Phanom Handicraft Village, LuangPrabang 

Located only four kilometres from Luang Prabang, the villages of Ban Phanom and Ban Sangkong introduce visitors to two ancient crafts long practiced in Laos' rural areas: weaving and paper-making. Ban Phanom specializes in silk weaving – almost every house has its own weaving loom, and all taken together, the village offers a wide diversity of silk products for your perusal.

Ban Sangkong, on the other hand, produces Saa paper – paper made from the bark of mulberry trees. Dried on a frame with inset flowers or leaves, the paper is transformed into different paper products afterward, from stationery to umbrellas.