Laos: An Incredible Getaway
An untouched gem to the west of Thailand, Laos is often overlooked as a holiday destination. With the most incredibly friendly people and a wealth of amazing sights all (mostly) tourist free, this is one place you just have to see to believe.
Image Source: Jean-Marie Hullot
The capital city, Vientiane is the most touristy area of Laos. Filled with backpackers taking time away from Bangkok, there are lots of things to see and do here. It has a real French feel about it (it was the administrative capital during the French rule) and can even boast its own Arc de Triomphe replica and some pretty good croissants. Other things to do in the capital include:
- Pa That Luang: The most significant monument in Laos, no trip to the capital would be complete without a visit here. Rumoured to house a piece of Buddha’s breastbone, this gold-covered stupa is truly a sight to behold.
- Lao National Museum: A really interesting afternoon, the museum has a decidedly revolutionary undertone. It also gives visitors a fantastic insight into the history of this varied country.
- Wat Si Muang: Considered the home of the guardian spirit of the city, it contains two Buddha statues, one of which has the power to grant wishes according to the locals. Whether you’re there to have your wish heard or visit religious artefacts, you will not be disappointed. In fact, some of the religious pieces here have been in use for over a thousand years – the sheer volume of the history in this country is quite incredible.
Image Source: Samnang Danou
Away From The Tourist Trail
Laos holidays & tours are a great way to experience a completely different culture and country from your own. The people of Laos are incredibly welcoming, happy to usher you into their homes and show you around. To see the country at its best, you really have to get off the beaten track and tour the countryside. If you are travelling to Laos and want to explore on your own, there is plenty to discover:
- Vang Vieng: Famous for its crazy parties, this is a bit of a backpacker haunt. A day or two spent here exploring the caves and religious sites, however, is well worth it.
- Spend a few days in Luang Prabang, the former capital of the country. Now a World Heritage City, it is like taking a step back in time. The architecture is phenomenal, and there are lots of things to see here, including the former national palace (now a museum) and Vat Xieng Toung, one of the oldest temples in the city. Built in 1559, it is full of the gold finishes and carved wood murals that characterise Laos temple design.
4000 Islands: Known to the locals as Si Phan Don, this is an archipelago located in the Mekong River to the south. This is a real locals area so make good use of it and visit the markets, full of delicious Laotian dishes. The cost of living here is remarkably cheap and, as with the rest of Laos, the people are welcoming and the scenery is breathtaking. What more could you want?