Laos - Exotic natural beauty
Landlocked Laos in Southeast Asia sits between Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. It is increasingly becoming a popular destination with travellers with each year seeing more than 3 million tourists travelling there. The plains of the Mekong River and the rugged Annamite Mountains provide plenty of spectacular scenery to explore.
Its friendly, laid back people, buddhist temples and aromatic cuisine make it an exotic and welcoming place to visit. Laos makes for an excellent challenge for those who adore the least travelled path. Leisurely river cruises or rickety old buses through stunning landscapes leave you feeling like a true explorer forging new paths and making new friendships.
The capital, Vientiane, must be one of the most relaxed cities in the world and despite its old world charm it now has good facilities and a cosmopolitan array of bars, restaurants and cafes to enjoy. Visitors here rarely miss the chance to witness the sight of the massive Buddha statues in the riverside meadows of Xieng Khuan, a half days travel from the capital.
Travelling around Laos leads to a constant encounter with the country’s ancient history and French influences. Luang Prabang and its weathered temples, the most famous of which is Wat Xieng Thong, where you can see a rare example of a reclining, slim Buddha. The sacred caves at Pak Ou, full of Buddha images and the serene beauty of the Kouang Si waterfalls are just some of the breathtaking sights you can experience.
Action holiday in Laos
The paddy fields and pointed hills of Vang Vieng are a popular destination with outdoor enthusiasts. Here you can kayak, go rock climbing and caving which are amongst the areas exciting pursuits. The remote Sayaboury provides a challenging journey but visitors are rewarded as this is home to the largest populations of Laos elephants.
The undisturbed jungles of Northern Laos are a fantastic destination for action seekers. The dense, wooded landscape is home to a host of rare animals such as gibbons and even tigers. Here intrepid travellers can attempt the rigorous twisting mountain roads that link the towns or take to the rivers as an alternative way of meeting the locals.
Tasty Asian cooking
Many people will be familiar with Asian, Thai cuisine but Laos cooking brings some new flavours to the table and it is worth considering the tasty delights of Larp. This is a spicy, lime juice flavoured, meaty salad often accompanied with aubergine and cucumber.
All in all, Laos offers its visitors mystery, peaceful exploration and the road less travelled as a reward. Although its popularity is growing there is still that other world, sense of adventure rarely found these days. Breath taking natural beauty and spectacular ancient monuments make Laos a place worth visiting.
Useful information on Laos
Time Difference: UTC +07:00
Weather: The best times to visit Laos are between November and March, pleasant temperatures and comfortable climate. July to August is wet everywhere and April/May are the hottest months, with September/October very wet too.
Currency: Lao Kip
Visa Requirements: Tourist visa is required.
Health: Check with a doctor which vaccinations are necessary, Typhoid and Hep A are advised..
Travel: The main international airports are in Luang Prabang, Paske and Wattay International in the capital Vientiane.