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An update from Evaneos

Sayabouli (Laos)

Practical information about Sayabouli

  • Encounters with locals
  • Countryside
  • Mountain
  • River
  • Festivals
  • Off the beaten track
3 / 5 - One review
How to get there
3-4hrs by bus from Luang Prabang
When to go
Between October and March
Minimum stay
One day

Reviews of Sayabouli

Travel writer
20 travel articles

Sayabouri is in the west of Laos, close to the Thai border and surrounded by mountains. It's home to the Elephant Festival, which is held every February.

My suggestion:
You really should go in February when the Elephant Festival is on. You'll meet Sayabouri's residents, who only want one thing - to make you feel at home and give you a taste of their traditional customs.

I found myself in Sayabouri completely by chance and it was one the best experiences I had during my holiday in Laos. I'd met other travellers beforehand who wanted togo to Sayabouri for the Elephant Festival. I followed them and received a lovely, hospitable welcome from the local residents. We took shelter in a school where the assistants shared their meal with us and, later on, we were able to learn about certain traditions that form part of the festival.

Laotians love to party and this festival was the perfect opportunity to do so! The elephants formed a procession in the stadium and festival goers, representing tribes from all over Laos, followed along behind. It was a really hot day and a plunge in the river proved to be as refreshing for the elephants as it did for the humans! By the evening, the town was in full swing, with shows, dancing and a Laotian barbecue. There were very few tourists and this provided the perfect way to discover the joining in!

The addes bonus? The lovely welcome and kindness the locals showed us.

A negative side? Only that the village is not particularly beautiful in itself and it's way off the beaten track.

A cortege following the elephants at Sayabouri
Elephant kisses at Sayabouri