Laos Love

Laos Love

Laos is one of the most enchanting countries in the world.  Having traveled extensively in 30-odd countries, there is only one other country that has captured my heart like this: Bolivia.  The similarities are striking: landlocked, very poor, everything from mountains to rainforests, and not on most tourist itineraries.  Both of these countries you have to see to understand.

The north is filled with indigenous groups that live off the land, utilize elephants as work animals and scenes that seem to be from bygone eras.  The countryside is quiet and calm as lives continue on as they have for generations.  As you follow the Mekong River’s flow south you come into lovely Luang Prabang, with its French bistros, high-end hotels and tourist infrastructure.  Time can fly by in Luang Prabang as the creature comforts from Western civilization mix with the low-cost local life.

“Downtown” Luang Prabang.

As the Mekong flows south, it feeds lush greenery and villages that are precariously perched on the mountainsides.  The roads wind through the sky piercing mountains on one side and perilous cliffs on the other.  Suddenly the country flattens out as the young party night and day in Vang Vieng.

Before you know it you are 2/3 of the way through the country.  The capital, Vientiane, is a stark contrast to the megapolis capitals throughout Asia.  A day or two and you can see the entire city while enjoying western foods.  From here you can head south to see Vat Phou, a large pre-Angkor complex, or head directly to 4000 Islands.

In Buddha territory it is hard to stand out, but Wat Si Saket in Vientiane stands out with over 10,000 buddhas.

4000 Islands makes the rest of Laos feel hyperactive as life here moves only as needed.  Even as you admire the natural beauty of freshwater dolphins, waterfalls and sunsets, you can feel Laos slipping away.  4000 Islands is the end of the line for most travelers.  Your love affair with Laos is coming to an end as you sit feet from Cambodia.  Like the end of any love, there are more things you wish you had done together, memories that are fading, words that were never shared.

CLICK HERE to see all our photos from Laos

CLICK HERE to read all our articles from Laos

IF YOU GO:

  1. It’s not cheap. We expected it to be cheaper than Thailand, maybe on par with Vietnam.  It wasn’t.  This landlocked country is relatively expensive.
  2. Head north and east. That’s the heart of the indigenous populations and best landscapes.
  3. Relax. Laos is a quiet country in the middle of the hustle-and-bustle of Asia.  Enjoy it.
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About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.
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