A Guide to Responsible Travel in LAOS!

3 min to skim, 10 min for in-depth info | July 2023


Laos is a Southeast Asian country with many fascinating cultural and historical attractions. Its rich history, diverse cultures, and stunning landscapes make it a great destination for travellers. But it’s about more than just sightseeing – Laos is a country where many people are in need of help. The importance of giving back to these communities when you visit cannot be overstated. 


Through initiatives like:

  • Volunteering
  • Partnering with NGOs
  • Supporting charities
  • Helping fundraising campaigns 


We can help provide essential services to underserved communities in Laos and improve life for its citizens - some of the kindest people on earth. 


At Traveller Collective, we believe in responsible travel. Within the last 30 years, tourism has exploded all over the world. And Laos is no exception. With over 1.2 million visitors to Laos in 2022 alone, the country has seen an immense increase in tourism which has both positive and negative impacts. 


The best part about visiting Laos is getting to know the people who live there and creating memories with them that will last a lifetime. 


We strongly believe that travelling brings countless benefits for those who are willing and able, but we also acknowledge that it can also impact local communities in various ways. The communities in Laos are being impacted at a high rate with big changes being made to the ecological system of the Mekong River and a large increase in the number of visitors each year. 


If you’re considering visiting Laos, please do! And while you’re there, carve out some time in your sightseeing schedule to give back to their community. The experiences you’ll have doing so will be some of the most rewarding of your entire trip. 


Here are some super easy and cool ideas to responsibly elevate your trip to Laos that don’t take much planning.

Volunteer to Teach English at
Big Sister Mouse in Luang Prabang

The beautiful city of Luang Prabang where Big Sister Mouse is located.


Big Sister Mouse is an incredible non-profit project-based organization located in the heart of Luang Prabang with a mission to help Laotian students improve their English language skills. This organization is a small branch of a larger organization called Big Brother Mouse which is dedicated to increasing access to all aspects of education in Laos. 


What began as an initiative to get more books into the hands of rural students has blossomed into a project tree to help make education more accessible to students in all communities throughout Laos.  


You can easily help out this organization by spending a day at their new Big Sister Mouse school and helping the local students practice their English skills. And the best part is you don’t need to have any sort of qualification to do so. 


Even if you’ve never taught a day in your life, you can still help these students out just by reading a picture book to the first graders or having a simple conversation with a young adult learner. No advanced degree or preparation is needed. Just show up, and be yourself. 


There are no reservations needed in advance either. You’ll just need to arrive at their central location in Luang Prabang at exactly 9 a.m. with $10 in hand. From there they will take care of transportation and food for the day for you. 


You’ll spend the day hanging out with some of the coolest people in Laos and when the school day is over, they’ll take you back to town just in time for dinner around 4:30 p.m. Easy right?

Learn How to Make Local Handicrafts and More at the
Lao Disabled Women’s Development Centre in Vientiane


Women and visitors at the LDWD center in the capital of Laos, Vientiane.


Women with disabilities in Laos face an immense amount of challenges when it comes to their education, health care and employment. The Lao Disabled Women’s Development Center in Vientiane is a remarkable example of how we can empower and support individuals with disabilities. 


This organization provides women with the necessary resources to gain education and develop skills to become financially independent. What initially started as a sewing group in 1990, has grown into a phenomenal organization aimed at creating practical opportunities for as many women as possible. 


They accomplish this mission through training and advocating for the rights, recognition, and equality of opportunities for women who are disabled throughout Laos.


The best way to support this organization is by visiting the centre and participating in one of the many activities they have to offer. On any given day, the centre is a swarm of excitement overflowing with people participating in a plethora of different activities. You can:

  • Take a tour of the centre 
  • Participate in a handicraft class
  • Eat traditional Laotain food
  • Be blessed with good luck in an ancient ceremony
  • Teach a skill to the women at the centre, and so much more


This place is truly filled to the brim with exciting experiences. Spending time at the centre can be easily organized by sending a quick email to one of their staff members who will be sure to tailor your visit however you like. You can expect to spend a minimum of 50,000 LAK (approx. $2.83) on your visit with options to add additional activities as you see fit. 

Take a Tour of the COPE Visitor Centre in the Heart of Laos’ Capital City and Enjoy a Scoop of Their Famous Ice Cream


The entrance and cafe to the COPE visitors center in the capital of Laos, Vientiane.

In 1997 the Lao Minstry of Health and a group of NGO’s formed the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise, or COPE for short. Due to the increase in the number of survivors with major injuries from unexploded bombs during the Secret War in the 60’s and 70’s COPE saw a need for ongoing support


Since its establishment in the late 90’s COPE has fitted thousands of prosthetics for survivors and increased its awareness efforts through various outreach programs. But that’s not all they do


They are an all encompassing disability rehabilitation organization that works all over the country to ensure people are trained to care for survivors and surviors receive the care they so desperately need. 


Their visitor centre is located in the heart of Vientienne and the best way to give back to this organization is to go for a visit and learn. The centre is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. 


Although it’s free to visit the centre we would encourage you to make a donation and buy a scoop of their delicious and famous ice cream at the Karma Cafe while you’re there. They also have an educational cinema where you can watch a range of short documentaries that talk about COPE and why it was formed. 


They even have a really cool gift shop with unique gifts you can bring back home to remember your time in Laos. The best part is that every purchase and donation you make here goes directly back to the efforts COPE is making to improve access to quality rehabilitation services. 


An opportunity to learn about the history of Laos, have a fantastic sweet treat, and give back to the country’s impacted communites all in the same visit? That’s what we’d call a triple win in our guidebook!

Contribute to Girls Education in Rural Laos by
Purchasing Unique Souvineers from La La Laos


Inside the LaLa Laos gift shop. 

Sithong's incredible journey began with two generous travellers gifting him tution money for college. After graduating with a business degree, he set up a shop in beautiful Luang Prabang with one mission in mind: to use the profits from his shop to help girls in the rural areas of Laos gain access to higher levels of education beyond grade five


Although boys in Laos have opportunities to learn past grade five by becomming monks, girls in Laos are often expected to return home after finishing school and contribute to the wellbeing of their family. 


Together with his two traveling companions, they worked hard to provide more opportunities for education and even set up a dormitory for girls who wanted to continue their studies in Luang Prabang. In 2019 they established an official non-profit foundation called Do The Kindness so that anyone who is willing to assist thier efforts can do so from anywhere in the world.


The best way to contribute to Sithong’s tireless efforts while you’re in Laos are to visit him in his shop. He and his family are great people to spend time with and get to know. The shop is also just steps away from the Mekong river and around the corner from one of the most popular coffee shops in all of Luang Prabang. 


He has a wide variety of incredibly unique items for purchase that you truly wont see anywhere else in Laos. He can even print you a t-shirt! Every sale at his shop will go toward helping create a brighter future for the children of Laos


But, if you’re pressed for time and not able to visit the shop, we understand. You can still help him out by making a donation to his non-profit foundation. Every little bit helps. 

It’s Important to Give Back When You Travel

Giving back to the communites you travel to is, in our opinion, an essential part of not just traveling with meaning but living a meaningful life. Whether it’s donating your time, money, or resources, giving back has profound effects on you as a traveler and the people you help. 


When we give back, we create a sense of connection and belonging that helps foster positive social change in the world. By investing in the communities you travel to, even in small ways, you can have a profound impact on those around you and create a better world for everyone. 


For us at Traveller Collective, we are passionate about cleaning up the planet. That’s why when we travel anywhere we make sure to: 

  • Use a refillable water bottle.
  • Carry a reusable shopping bag.
  • Say no to disposable straws and cutlery.
  • Use our own toiletries and carry them in reusable containers.
  • Support eco-friendly establishments.
  • Pick up trash wherever and whenever we can.

Help us make a significant impact on the environment by purchasing one of our travel rings for Laos that you can keep as a collection with all the other countries you’ve visited. Not only will you be contributing to a great cause but you’ll also be able to carry your travel memories with you wherever you go

Together we can clean our planet up and enjoy travelling through it’s breathtaking wonders


  • Posted by JIDL on

    Makes we want to travel to Laos, see all these places, get to know people better, and contribute to great causes.

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