WHY we need you in Laos
Why Involvement Volunteers International?
Volunteer in Laos
Laos is a beautiful and culturally rich country located in Southeast Asia. It is known for its stunning natural landscapes, including the Mekong River, Kuang Si Falls and the Pha Tad Ke Botanical Gardenand, as well as its historic Buddhist temples and traditional handicrafts. Despite facing challenges such as poverty and access to education and healthcare, Laos remains a fascinating and welcoming destination for travellers from around the world.
Volunteering in Laos can be a rewarding experience for those interested in making a positive impact and immersing themselves in the local culture. There are a number of volunteer opportunities available, including teaching English, working in kindergartens and construction programs.
Volunteer Projects in Laos
Teach English to children of a local village in ancient Laos! You will have the opportunity to teach these eager learners in an informal setting, incorporating engaging activities and games. Feel free to be creative in your approach!
Assist the local kindergartens by teaching English and arranging fun activities for the kids. You will be assigned to one of the two kindergartens that we support, where you'll teach basic English, manage fun activities, and support the local staff.
Renovate temples, schools, and other structures in beautiful Laos. Many of the community facilities and buildings in this historic city require significant improvements, and your contribution will play a vital role in enhancing the community's well-being.
Experience the true essence of Laos through various cultural activities, city outings, waterfall explorations, and more! Immerse yourself in Laos' culture, natural beauty, delicious cuisine, friendly people, unique traditions, and much more!
Embark on an exciting week-long adventure in Laos, as we guide you through the must-visit destinations and immersive experiences this beautiful country has to offer. Enjoy a slow boat cruise, spend two days trekking through picturesque landscapes, and more!
1 Day Orientation
24/7 In-Country Support
Project Materials & Equipment
Pre-departure Expert Advice
Preperation Tools & Checklists
Certificate of Completion
33 Years Experience
IVI is an Australian charity & non profit organisation founded in 1989 and is one of the pioneers of overseas volunteering successfully placing over 20,000 volunteers globally. We accept volunteers from all over the world and place them in meaningful overseas missions.
Affordable Volunteer Travel
Safe & Responsible Projects
Work Experience & University Credits
Laos is a country in Southeast Asia that is known for its rich history, stunning natural beauty, and unique culture. The country has been shaped by centuries of influences from neighbouring countries such as China, Vietnam, and Thailand, which is reflected in its diverse architecture, cuisine, and traditions.
Laos has a rich and diverse history shaped by various influences throughout the centuries. The Lan Xang kingdom emerged in the 14th century, ruling much of what is now Laos and parts of present-day Vietnam and Thailand. Laos came under French colonial rule in the 19th and early 20th centuries, gaining independence in 1954. The country faced conflict and turmoil in the decades that followed, including involvement in the Vietnam War and a communist takeover in 1975. Despite its challenges, Laos has emerged as a culturally rich country, blending traditional and modern influences, making it a fascinating destination for those interested in exploring Southeast Asian history and culture.
The climate of Laos is tropical, characterized by hot and humid conditions year-round, with distinct wet and dry seasons. The wet season typically runs from May to October, with heavy rainfall and high humidity levels. The dry season, which runs from November to April, is generally cooler and less humid, with temperatures averaging around 25-33°C (77-86°F) during the day and dropping to around 15-20°C (59-68°F) at night.
However, it’s important to note that temperatures and climate can vary greatly depending on the specific region of Laos you are in. For example, areas in higher elevations, such as the northern provinces, can be cooler than lowland areas. It’s also important to note that during the months of March and April, the temperature can soar to around 40°C (104°F) in some parts of the country. Overall, travelers to Laos should be prepared for hot and humid weather, especially during the wet season, and should bring appropriate clothing and gear to stay comfortable in varying conditions.
The culture of Laos is a rich blend of diverse influences, including Buddhist, animist, and French colonial traditions. Buddhism plays a central role in daily life, and the country is home to many stunning temples and religious sites, such as the famous Pha That Luang stupa in Vientiane.
In addition to its religious traditions, Laos is known for its beautiful handicrafts, including silk textiles, silverwork, and woodcarvings. Visitors to Laos can explore local markets and villages to discover these traditional crafts, which are often made by skilled artisans using age-old techniques.
Laotian cuisine is also a highlight of the country’s culture, featuring a blend of spicy, sour, and sweet flavors. Popular dishes include laap (a minced meat salad), sticky rice, and papaya salad. Visitors can also try a range of delicious street food, such as khao jee (a type of sandwich made with baguette bread and various fillings) and noodle soups.
The Lao Loum, or lowland Lao, make up the majority of the population and are centered around the Mekong River valley. The Lao Theung, or upland Lao, live in the mountainous regions of the country, while the Lao Sung, or highland Lao, are found in the northern provinces near the border with China.
Despite differences in language and customs, the people of Laos share a deep sense of community and family values, with strong ties to their local villages and communities. Visitors can often participate in local festivals and celebrations, which are an important part of Lao culture and typically involve colorful parades, traditional music and dance performances, and delicious food.
Luang Prabang is a picturesque city situated in the northern region of Laos, known for its well-preserved traditional architecture and serene Buddhist temples. Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Mai, and Wat Visoun are some of the most famous temples in the city, offering stunning examples of traditional Lao architecture. The lively night market, where visitors can sample local street food and browse through a wide range of local handicrafts, is also a must-visit attraction. Additionally, the city is a great base for outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and visiting the Kuang Si waterfalls, making it a well-rounded destination for travellers seeking cultural, natural, and culinary experiences.
The volunteer guesthouse is situated on the main road of the world heritage town of Luang Prabang and offers beautiful views from its third floor location. It is conveniently located within 3-5 minutes’ walking distance to the night market and the town centre. The guest rooms are single gender dormitories with a maximum capacity of 8 people per room. Hot water showers are not available, but hot water for bucket showers can be requested. Occasionally, power outages can affect the water pump, so guests are advised to keep their buckets filled in case of such an event. The bathroom facilities are shared and equipped with Western-style toilets. Bed linen is provided, but guests are advised to bring their own towels. The rooms are equipped with fans and mosquito protection.
Our program offers a variety of traditional Laotian dishes for participants to enjoy. These local delicacies may be very different from the food that participants are used to at home, as there are very few Western-style dishes served. While vegetarian options are available, accommodating other dietary restrictions may be challenging. Participants are encouraged to inform the local team of their specific dietary needs, and the team will do their best to meet those requirements.
Laap, a minced meat salad made with herbs and spices, is a popular dish in Laos. Another favourite is tam mak hoong, a spicy papaya salad. Other notable dishes include mok pa, steamed fish wrapped in banana leaves with herbs and spices, and ping kai, grilled chicken marinated with lemongrass and spices. Laotian cuisine also features a variety of soups and stews, such as kao soi, a coconut-based soup with noodles and meat or tofu.
You can choose to add on the 1-week orientation before your program, for an extra fee. This is a fantastic way to learn more about the local culture, get to know the local area, visit some local sights, and take part in cultural activities. It’s also a great way to settle into your new home and can give you confidence for starting your volunteer project, already knowing about what to expect in local life.
All programs have an introduction day where you will learn some of the ‘dos and don’ts’, be shown around the local town and learn some basic local languages phrases.
An arrival airport pickup is included in the cost of your placement. Accommodation on the Sunday is included in the program fees. Arrivals are on Saturdays and Sundays (please check the individual project for the pickup window times, as they can differ). Arrivals on Saturday will need to book another night at the accommodation.
If arriving outside the pickup times we can arrange a private transfer and extra night’s accommodation, depending on availability, or you can make your own way to the project.
Explore the ancient city of Luang Prabang: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a beautiful blend of French colonial architecture, Buddhist temples, and traditional Laotian buildings. Walk along the Mekong River, visit the night market, and see the stunning Kuang Si Waterfalls.
Learn about Laos’s history: Visit the COPE Visitor Centre in Vientiane to learn about the effects of the Vietnam War on Laos and the ongoing problem of unexploded ordnance. The National Museum in Luang Prabang is also a great place to learn about the country’s history and culture.
Take a boat ride on the Mekong River: The Mekong River runs through Laos and is a major source of transportation and commerce. Take a scenic boat ride to see the stunning landscape, visit small riverside villages, and experience the local way of life.
Trek through the Laotian countryside: Laos is known for its beautiful natural scenery and trekking is a great way to experience it. Explore the countryside, visit remote villages, and see stunning waterfalls and rice paddies.
Explore the Plain of Jars: The Plain of Jars is a unique archaeological site located in central Laos. It consists of thousands of large stone jars scattered across several sites. The jars date back to the Iron Age and their purpose is still a mystery. Exploring the Plain of Jars is an unforgettable experience and a must-see for history buffs.
Visit the Kong Lor Cave: The Kong Lor Cave is a spectacular limestone cave located in central Laos. It is over 7 kilometres long and includes a river that runs through it. Visitors can take a boat ride through the cave and witness stunning rock formations and underground waterfalls. This is a great activity for adventure seekers.
Relax in the 4000 Islands: The 4000 Islands, also known as Si Phan Don, is a picturesque archipelago located in the southern part of Laos. Visitors can relax on sandy beaches, swim in the Mekong River, and take boat rides to see the famous Irrawaddy dolphins. This is a great place to unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Attend a traditional Baci ceremony: The Baci ceremony is a traditional Lao ritual that is often performed for special occasions such as weddings or to welcome guests. The ceremony involves tying strings around a person’s wrist to symbolize good luck and prosperity. Visitors can participate in a Baci ceremony and learn about Lao culture and customs.
Experience the Night Markets: Laos is famous for its vibrant night markets, where visitors can find a variety of local food, handicrafts, and souvenirs. Some of the best night markets are located in Luang Prabang, Vientiane, and Pakse. This is a great way to experience local culture and mingle with the friendly Lao people.