Which sports are played in Laos?

Travel Destinations

By Kristy Tolley

Introduction to Sports in Laos

Sports play an important role in the cultural and social fabric of Laos. While traditional sports continue to be popular, modern sports have gained momentum in recent years. The country’s mountainous terrain, tropical climate, and diverse natural resources make it an ideal destination for adventure sports and outdoor activities.

Traditional Sports in Laos

Laos has a rich tradition of indigenous sports that reflect its history and cultural diversity. These include kite flying, shuttlecock kicking, and buffalo fighting. Another popular game is called "takraw," which is similar to volleyball but played with a woven rattan ball instead of a traditional ball.

Sepak Takraw – Laos’ National Sport

Sepak Takraw, or "kick volleyball," is a sport that is deeply ingrained in Lao culture and is the national sport of Laos. It involves two teams of three players each, who use their feet, knees, chest, and head to pass a rattan ball over a net. The sport requires a high level of agility, coordination, and athleticism, and is played in both recreational and competitive settings.

Football is one of the most popular sports in Laos and has a large following among both locals and expatriates. Laos has its own national football team, which competes in international tournaments and has made significant strides in recent years. The country also has several football leagues, including the Lao Premier League, which attracts talented players from across the region.

Volleyball – A Growing Sport in Laos

Volleyball is a sport that is growing in popularity in Laos, especially among young people. The country has its own national volleyball team, and there are several volleyball clubs that compete at the local and regional level. The sport is played both indoors and outdoors and requires a high level of teamwork, coordination, and skill.

Petanque – A French Influence in Laos

Petanque is a French game that has become popular in Laos. It involves throwing metal balls as close as possible to a small target ball called a "cochonnet." The sport is played in parks and public places throughout the country and is especially popular with older generations.

Muay Lao – Laos’ Own Martial Art

Muay Lao is a traditional martial art that originated in Laos and is similar to Muay Thai in Thailand. It involves striking, grappling, and clinching techniques and is known for its powerful kicks and knee strikes. While the sport is not as popular as other martial arts in Laos, it has a dedicated following and is practiced in gyms and training centers throughout the country.

Swimming and Diving in Laos

Swimming and diving are popular sports in Laos, especially among tourists who come to explore the country’s rivers, waterfalls, and natural pools. The country has several swimming and diving clubs that offer training and recreational opportunities for both locals and visitors.

Cycling and Mountain Biking in Laos

Laos is becoming a popular destination for cycling and mountain biking enthusiasts. The country’s stunning scenery, challenging terrain, and quiet roads make it an ideal location for adventure sports. There are several cycling and mountain biking events that take place throughout the year, including the annual Tour de Laos.

Trekking and Hiking in Laos

Trekking and hiking are popular activities in Laos, which is blessed with an abundance of scenic trails and walking paths. The country has several trekking and hiking routes that offer breathtaking views of the countryside and the opportunity to explore traditional villages and cultural sites.

Golf – A Sport for the Elite in Laos

Golf is a sport that is gaining popularity in Laos, especially among the country’s growing middle and upper classes. The country has several golf courses, including the Luang Prabang Golf Club and the Vientiane Golf Club, which cater to both local and international players.

International Sports in Laos

Laos has hosted several international sporting events, including the Southeast Asian Games and the Asian Beach Games. The country has also participated in several international competitions, including the Olympic Games. As the country continues to develop its sports infrastructure and facilities, it is poised to become a leading destination for international sports events and competitions.

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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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