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Laos or Cambodia – Compare To Make A Wise Decision (Part 2)
Posted By : Threeland Travel / Laos Travel Guide

Should I visit Lao or Cambodia? This is a popular question amongst travelers, especially those who are planning a long-haul trip to Vietnam and Lao or Vietnam and Cambodia. We know that you might be in the situiation that you can’t do all three countries in your itinerary due to the tight time. Let’s compare Laos vs Cambodia and make your choice.

See more: “Laos or Cambodia – Compare To Make A Wise Decision” – Part 1

Round 3: The vibe and nightlife

This aspect is really subject to not only the destination but also to your personas and feeling. 

1.    Cambodia nightlife

In general, Cambodia is more touristy than Laos, then Cambodia is a quite stressful place, particularly in tourist areas such as Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and Sihanoukville. Those are good destinations for those who are looking for a party vibe and be busy with many things to do rather than sleeping early in your hotel. 

Siem Reap at night

Siem Reap at night

Nightlife in Cambodia is also livelier, with more people and more things to do. From Clubs to night bars, from Live music to Night Market, Cambodia truly comes to life after dusk. In touristy cities and towns, there are a plethora of restaurants, bars, clubs, and entertainment that make the cities alive irrespective of time. In Cambodia, the nightlife is run by locals and for locals and tourists alike. That means you get an authentic ambiance of this kingdom of temples. 

-    In the capital of Phnom Penh, you could find a vibrant nightlife with clubs, live music bars where locals and tourists alike sing their hearts out. 
-    Siem Reap is the most colorful nightlife spot in Cambodia. This town of Angkor Wat has attracted a massive following of tourists. The vibrant streets filled with backpacker-friendly bars, international restaurants, massage parlors, and retail boutiques.
-    Sihanoukville is a late-night party town, you’ll find some variety ranging from beach bars to night markets, with more in between. 

2.    Laos nightlife

In contrast, Laos has an incredibly restful atmosphere, with very few mass tourism, perfect for slow overland traveling or to unwind for a few days. Good destinations for escaping from the crazy, high-intensity day by day.

In comparison to the nightlife in Cambodia, Laos is a laid-back country with very small nightlife. Laos is such a different place to anything else depending on if you like to party or not. There are also nightclubs and bars staying open only until 11:00. Nightlife in Laos still retains its tradition in accordance with Laos lifestyle, which captivates numerous travelers who not being fans of the crowds and parties.

-    Vientiane nightlife: Not too bustling, the capital of Laos is renowned for its laid-back lifestyle. You can opt for spend your time meeting a new friend and chit chat at bars and pubs. Otherwise, after your dinner, take a stroll along the banks of the Mekong and immerse yourself in the Vientiane night market.

Vientiane night market

Vientiane night market

-    Pakse nightlife: The first thing to start your nightlife in Pakse is to see is the sunset, darkness gradually covering the center of Pakse, a scene is very stunning and peaceful. Shortly after sunset, nightclubs in Pakse usually start being open to party lovers. Otherwise, pay a visit to the Champasak Plaza shopping center to do some shopping and immerse in the local’s life.

local market at Pakse

-    Luang Prabang nightlife: There is a saying “Luang Prabang is the sleepy city of Laos.” However, many travelers love the nightlife ambiance of this sleepy city. It significantly represents an authentic Laos. Visiting the local night market, or sitting on the mattress and relax at a riverside restaurant / café / bar are all good for a cozy and calm night.

Luang Prabang at night
Luang Prabang at night

Round 4: Cuisine

When it comes to food, both Laotian and Cambodian cuisines aren’t well famous internationally. Two countries are heavily influenced by Thai food.  You’ll find delicious and exotic food in both countries.

1.    Cambodia Cuisine

Cambodia Cuisine

Most of the food in Khmer cuisine isn’t as distinctly spicy as Thailand’s, the food in Cambodia is rather mild and has a lot of pickled and tangy flavors. Similar to Vietnamese, a typical of Khmer cuisine is the variety of fresh herbs and condiments being readily made available with every meal. In general, in most meals in Cambodia, rice and a soup are served alongside three or four main dishes.

The signature food of Khmer cuisine is Amok - a fish mousse steamed in a banana leaf. It’s a perfect balance of ginger, lemongrass, turmeric and coconut milk. 

When it comes to dining experiences, cafes and restaurants in Cambodia are numerous, from high-end restaurants to street food vendors. You'll be able to find incredible noodles, drool-worthy French cuisine, and traditional Khmer dishes all in the same city.

2.    Laos cuisine

Laos beer

Lao cuisine may be seen as the cooking tradition and style of the entire Lao ethnic group. In common with neighboring Southeast Asian countries, the Lao diet is based on the consumption of sticky rice as a staple. Laos food is fragrant, bitter, spicy, colorful, packed with herbs and chilies, and combinations of ingredients.

Laos food

Laos’ famous fermented fish sauce, padek (a fermented fish paste), has a distinctive flavor. Insects including silkworms, ants, and crickets can be found on many menus. It would be a miss not tasting beer once you travel to Laos, it’s perfect. Vietnam and Cambodia beer are good, however, Beer Laos reigns supreme in Southeast Asia.

Round 5: Living cost

Which country is cheaper? When you are on the budget, you may consider this question. A day in Laos and Cambodia can cost you about $27 (per person) and $35 respectively. Accommodation, food, and local transportation are often cheaper in Laos compared to Cambodia. These differences become even more noticeable if you plan to have a long-haul tour to Cambodia.

So finally, which will it be out of Cambodia or Laos? A magnificent Cambodia with temples and beaches or an authentic Laos with a wonderful sense of peace? In case you aren’t able to finalize your decision, please ask the local experts from Threeland Travel who will support you for free. Otherwise, check on these top selling tours to Vietnamtours to Cambodia  - tours to Laos.