Best Places to Live in Laos (2024)

Laos, often called the “Land of a Million Elephants,” is a captivating Southeast Asian country that boasts a unique blend of lush landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and a laid-back lifestyle. 

Nestled between Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and China, Laos is landlocked and offers a distinctive experience compared to its bustling neighbors. 

With a population that embraces simplicity and warmth, Laos has become an increasingly attractive destination for those seeking a tranquil and culturally immersive living experience.

Best Places to Live in Laos for…

  • Expats: Savannakhet
  • English Speakers: Vientiane
  • Digital Nomads: Luang Prabang
  • Solo Travellers: Vang Vieng
  • Couples: Thakhek
  • Groups: Pakse

Top 10 Places to Live in Laos

1. Savannakhet

Best Place to Live for Expats


Cost of Living: $$

Savannakhet is the capital of Savannakhet Province and is positioned on the border with Thailand. Its strategic location along the Mekong River makes it a gateway for travelers crossing between Laos and Thailand.

Tip: Brush up on the local language, as English is hardly spoken.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats, solo travelers


  • Savannakhet boasts a rich cultural heritage.
  • Savannakhet offers a tranquil and laid-back atmosphere. 
  • Savannakhet provides a cost-effective living environment.


  • Savannakhet has the essentials, but it may need more of the modern amenities found in larger cities.
  • English proficiency may be lower compared to more tourist-oriented areas.
  • Most employment opportunities are tied to specific industries such as education or NGOs.

2. Vientiane

Best Place to Live for English Speakers


Cost of Living: $$

Laos’s capital and largest city, Vientiane, is located along the Mekong River’s flowing banks and offers a unique combination of traditional Lao culture and French colonial architecture. Even though it is the capital, Vientiane has a calm and relaxed vibe that attracts foreigners and English speakers looking for a distinctive Southeast Asian experience. 

Tip: Because locals want their nights to start early, the city tends to be quieter in the evening.

Who Would Like to Live There: English speakers, solo travelers, digital nomads


  • There are a lot of Buddhist temples, museums, and cultural landmarks in Vientiane.
  • The city’s expanding expat population promotes a sense of togetherness among English speakers. 
  • Living expenses are affordable.


  • Jobs available can be few, particularly in some industries. 
  • The city’s road system might only sometimes be able to handle the growing number of cars due to traffic congestion in Vientiane.
  • Healthcare standards in other nations may need to meet the expectations of expatriates.

3. Luang Prabang

Best Place to Live for Digital Nomads


Cost of Living: $$

Nestled in northern Laos’ hilly terrain lies the quaint and ancient town of Luang Prabang. It is renowned for its beautifully maintained French colonial buildings, Buddhist temples, and serene location along the banks of the Mekong River. 

It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Because of its distinctive combination of scenic surroundings, natural beauty, and a relaxed vibe, this town is becoming increasingly popular with digital nomads looking for a quiet yet stimulating workplace.

Tip: Laos is a profoundly spiritual and culturally rich country, and understanding and embracing local customs will enhance the overall experience of living in Luang Prabang.

Who Would Like to Live There: Digital nomads, solo travelers


  • Digital nomads looking for a tranquil setting would love Luang Prabang’s relaxed way of life. 
  • The number of digital nomads in Luang Prabang is increasing. 
  • The cost of living could be a lot higher.


  • Luang Prabang’s nightlife could be better known. 
  • Few people speak English. 
  • The town’s popularity with tourists may impact the sense of local authenticity. 

4. Vang Vieng

Best Place to Live for Solo Travelers


Cost of Living: $

Vang Vieng, a small town in central Laos surrounded by lush landscapes and limestone cliffs, is a popular destination for solo travelers seeking adventure, culture, and natural beauty. 

Nestled amidst the breathtaking karst limestone mountains along the Nam Song River, Vang Vieng has evolved from a party destination to a more tranquil haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

Tip: Be prepared for occasional power outages and limited internet connectivity. The town is still developing its infrastructure, and service interruptions can occur. 

Who Would Like to Live There: Solo travelers, expats, digital nomads


  • Solo tourists can participate in a range of outdoor activities.
  • Vang Vieng has a small-town atmosphere and is noted for its hospitality. 
  • Vang Vieng is reasonably priced.


  • Vang Vieng’s infrastructure is still developing
  • The town experiences fluctuations in tourism, with peak seasons bringing crowds and higher prices. 
  •  English may be less widely spoken. 

5. Thakhek

Best Place to Live for Couples


Cost of Living: $$

Thakhek is a charming town nestled along the banks of the Mekong River in central Laos. In Khammouane Province, Thakhek is known for its laid-back ambiance, French colonial architecture, and proximity to stunning limestone karst landscapes. 

While less bustling than the capital, Vientiane, Thakhek offers a unique blend of tranquillity, natural beauty, and cultural richness.

Tip: Understanding and appreciating the importance of Buddhism in daily life can help you navigate social interactions more smoothly.

Who Would Like to Live There: Digital nomads, expats


  • The town’s colonial buildings and local markets produce unique cultural experiences.
  • The cost of living is more reasonable in Thakhek.
  • Because of its tiny size, the town has a close-knit expat and native community.


  • Compared to larger cities, Thakhek may provide fewer facilities and services due to its low size.
  • Infrastructure may need to be developed more, affecting services such as healthcare and transportation.
  • Thakhek has hot, muggy weather, with heavy rain falling during the rainy season.

6. Pakse

Best Place to Live for Groups


Cost of Living: $

Pakse, located in southern Laos, is a good base for exploring the Bolaven Plateau and the 4,000 Islands (Si Phan Don). It’s an excellent destination for groups interested in outdoor activities, waterfalls, and exploring the Mekong River.

Tip: “Sabai Sabai” (which means “take it easy”) is a deeply embedded notion in Lao culture. You’ll find that being patient and adaptable will be beneficial as you become accustomed to the way of life there.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats, solo travelers


  • The area is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Pakse offers a genuine Lao experience.
  • Pakse has a cheaper cost of living.


  • While Pakse offers basic amenities, it lacks various services and facilities in larger towns.
  • There are few public transit choices.
  • Employment options, particularly in some industries, may be more limited.

7. Champasak

Best Place to Live for Nature Lovers


Cost of Living: $$

Champasak, located in southern Laos, is a hidden treasure that entices nature enthusiasts with its breathtaking scenery and cultural diversity. 

The province capital, Pakse, provides a gateway to this tranquil refuge, and the region is famed for its lush vegetation, the great Mekong River, and a laid-back culture that captivates visitors seeking a peaceful relationship with nature.

Tip: Don’t miss the experience of partaking in any of the temple’s ceremonies.

Who Would Like to Live There: Nature lovers, expats, solo travelers


  • The province is rich in historical and cultural treasures. 
  • Champasak’s relaxed atmosphere promotes a peaceful way of living.
  • Champasak offers several options for adventure and exploration.


  • Some places in Champasak may need more access to modern services and infrastructure.
  • Employment options may be limited, particularly in some industries.
  • Access to healthcare facilities may be restricted, and significant medical concerns may need to travel to bigger cities for treatment.

8. Xieng Khouang

Best Place to Live for History Enthusiasts


Cost of Living: $$

Xieng Khouang, commonly known as Phonsavan, is a northern Laos province famed for its historical significance, notably the enigmatic Plain of Jars. Nestled among picturesque scenery, the region has evolved as a sanctuary for history buffs looking to decipher the mysteries of past civilizations. 

The province capital and gateway to the enigmatic archeological treasures that make Xieng Khouang a distinctive and compelling destination is Phonsavan.

Tip: Engaging with the local community and learning basic Lao phrases can go a long way in fostering positive relationships. 

Who Would Like to Live There: History enthusiasts


  • Home to thousands of ancient stone jars of mysterious origin.
  • Xieng Khouang boasts a rich cultural tapestry influenced by various ethnic groups.
  • Living in Xieng Khouang allows for an authentic Lao experience.


  • Xieng Khouang is not a bustling urban center.
  • English proficiency may need to be higher.
  • The region experiences seasonal weather changes, with dry and rainy seasons, which may affect certain outdoor activities and transportation.

9. Oudomxay

Best Place to Live for Mental Health


Cost of Living: $

Oudomxay, located in Laos’ scenic northern region, is a hidden gem for anyone interested in history and seeking to escape the rush and bustle of city life. This provincial capital is surrounded by lush landscapes, diverse settlements, and historical customs, making it an excellent location for history buffs looking for a different way to live.

Tip: Understanding the importance of traditional customs, such as respectful greetings and modest dressing, can help newcomers integrate seamlessly into the community.

Who Would Like to Live There: Digital nomads, wellness-based travelers


  • Oudomxay offers a breathtaking backdrop for residents who appreciate a connection with nature.
  • The town’s small size fosters a close-knit community where locals are warm and welcoming.
  • The low cost of living.


  • Oudomxay may have fewer Western amenities.
  • Limited transportation options within the province.
  • Employment opportunities, particularly in specific industries, may be limited compared to larger urban areas.

10. Nong Khiaw

Best Place to Live for Groups


Cost of Living: $

Nong Khiaw, nestled amid the stunning landscapes of northern Laos, is a hidden gem that has gained popularity as an ideal destination for those seeking a tranquil escape. Located on the banks of the Nam Ou River and surrounded by towering limestone cliffs and lush greenery, Nong Khiaw offers a serene environment that makes it perfect for individuals looking to live in a peaceful and picturesque setting.

Tip: Remember to bring along your insect repellent.

Who Would Like to Live There: Groups, solo travelers


  • The peaceful environment makes it an ideal place for groups seeking a retreat.
  • Nong Khiaw is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • The small-town atmosphere fosters a close-knit community, providing a sense of belonging for residents.


  • The town’s remote location may result in limited transportation options.
  • While the town has internet access, the connection may need to be more reliable and fast.
  • Amenities and services may be more essential compared to larger urban centers.

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