Tailormade Tours - Laos

Vientiane, Laos

A reputable tour operator who can weave together the best bits of Laos - and neighbouring countries - to suit your budget and timing
Travelling around Indochina can be stressful. You want to have the best time possible, see as much of each country as you can, stay in the nicest hotels for your budget and not end up spending the night somewhere miles from the action just because you didn’t read the small print. But sometimes the practicalities of linking it all together - flights, boat trips, transfers, hotel availability, choosing the best itineraries and booking the best guides - can be a headspin. That's where a tailormade tour operator comes in, helping you create the holiday just as you'd like it and then taking on all the boring stuff: making bookings, arranging payments, checking schedules and generally making sure that you don’t find yourself up the Mekong without a paddle.

In Laos, we have partnered with EXO Travel, who have offices in Vientiane, Bangkok, Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City and have been designing and arranging top-end bespoke holidays in the region for over 15 years. You can choose which places you’d like to visit and roughly how many days in each; they'll advise you where to stay and how to travel between them, book tour guides (their own staff) and hotels (based on our selection but not limited to it), and arrange payments (you just need to make one - to them). And they'll probable suggest a few gems you hadn't thought of: trying your hand at rice planting and traditional fishing in a rustic village, cycling down the Mekong into Cambodia, or taking a slow boat in search of the Irraway dolphin.

Why we chose this partner

  • They're well established, with 15 years' experience, winning the Vietnamese Tourist organisation's 'Top Tour Operator' 2 years running; they have 14 offices and a good mix of foreign and local management
  • They employ their own guides and train them well - Unesco courses, 1-day Red Cross training, excellent English - and assess their performance through feedback
  • All their vehicles are air-conditioned, and their drivers are careful and punctual. Their bicycles are sturdy Trek 4500 series front-suspension mountain bikes
  • Because they guarantee your tour will cost no more than an identical product through any other channel
  • Lastly - the acid test - they helped arrange our own labyrinthine trip to Indochina: a total of 8 guided tours, 20 ground transfers and 7 flights spread over 3 countries, not to mention numerous hotel and restaurants - and all without a hiccough (OK, we once had to wait 5 minutes for our river boat to arrive)

Please be aware

  • i-escape can only vouch for those properties which are featured and reviewed on our website. For other areas and accommodations, while we do trust our operator to provide the best options for your needs, you should make sure that you are happy with their suggestions before confirming

Best time to go

In northern Laos, including Luang Prabang and Vientiane, November to mid February is the 'cool' season - dry and quite warm, an ideal time to come. Mid February to May is the hot season and out in the rice fields the lushness disappears, but 85% of Laos is forested mountain, so it's still green. In March and April, smoke from agricultural fires can be a nuisance. The rainy season is May to late October - hot, humid and wet, especially in June-July; but Luang Prabang gets much less rain than Vientiane.

Our top tips

Most meals in Laos are based around sticky rice. You pick it up, roll it into a ball and dip it into delicious sauces. So don't be afraid to eat with your hands - playing with your food is fine!

Great for...

City Style
Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
Room:

Lodging

There are odes to Oriental chic, serene retreats, simple guesthouses, and there are contemporary little city hotels. We've reviewed the best of these in extensive detail, so take a look and ask EXO Travel to include a few in your itinerary. Alternatively they can recommend other options to suit your budget and preferences.

Laotian food is traditionally dry and spicy: grilled water buffalo and freshwater fish pepped up by handfuls of fresh herbs, raw vegetables and fermented fish sauce (nicer than it sounds!). Noodle soup is a breakfast staple, and mango sticky rice is a thing of beauty.

Activities

Things we loved...

  • Luang Prabang's temples and palaces
  • Learning to cook Lao food
  • Gold panning (January to June) in the Mekong. Anything you find is yours!
  • Climbing Mount Phousi at dusk
  • Peaceful Vientiane

    Activities include:

    • Birdwatching
    • Boat trips
    • Cooking classes
    • Cycling
    • Fishing
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Kayaking
    • Mountain biking
    • Museums / galleries
    • Private guided tours
    • Shopping / markets
    • Swimming
    • Traditional cultures
  • Activity:
    Kid Friendly:

    With Kids

    EXO Travel are happy to prepare trips for families and have some activities especially designed with young ones in mind e.g. treasure hunts, children's cooking lessons, or even a family karaoke session.

    Best for:

    Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms

    Transport

    Travel will be done in a private car with a driver unless you opt to take internal flights. It takes approx 5.5 hours by road from Luang Prabang to Vientiane.

    Once in the towns/regions, you can take tuk-tuks, bicycle and go on boat trips to explore.

    Transport:

    Our guests' ratings...

    This operator has not yet been reviewed by guests

    Itineraries