3 Must Visit Spots in Laos
A nation is its people.
Beyond natural beauty, resources, tourist spots and other factors, the people make the nation.
This is why you need to visit Laos.
You will find a kind, polite and reserved people in this Southeast Asian gem bordered by Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and China, making it a rare land locked country in the region.
Laos has that mysterious feel mixed with stunning natural beauty that makes it an irresistible attraction for anybody cruising through SE Asia.
Convenience seekers, beware; Laos is a bit more rough around the edges versus its heavily touristed neighbor Thailand. The infrastructure has grown by leaps and bounds over the years but expect some bumpy rides, combined with long travel times, if you are heading out of the capital towards Vang Vieng or even Luang Prubang.
The trips? Worth it.
After Kelli and I visited this charming land in 2012 we were amazed at its towering mountains, pristine plains, green, lush environment and kindly locals that reeled us in quickly and easily.
Make sure you add these 3 must see towns to your Laos travel itinerary.
Vientiane is the major city of Laos.
I found it to be the most subdued major city I have ever visited.
Some parts get a bit caught up in urban hustle and bustle but on the whole, the place is fairly quiet and laid back compared to most populous centers.
One visit to the largest mall in the country provided me with a refreshing step back in time and a little chuckle. The mall resembled a 1970’s style number in the USA, more old school flea market than modern mall.
Far from mocking the scene, I enjoyed and admired the simple way of life in the capital and throughout the nation of Laos.
Traipse over to the waterfront to enjoy views of the mighty Mekong River while grabbing a bite to eat. Taking a light, leisurely stroll after dinner can aid digestion, boost your cardio and give you a glimpse into city life after the sun sets.
Kelli and I hoofed it around a fair portion of the city. We had fun simply people watching in this fascinating, calm culture, in an urban setting.
2: Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng has undergone a transformation of Kafka-esque proportions.
From the Walking Dead of party towns, as drugged out and drunken kids wandered around, being blitzed out of their mind, infecting the area, to the more calm, beautiful place that the town has evolved into, Vang Vieng has seen quite a shift in recent years.
When Kelli and I visited in 2012 it looked 1 part Las Vegas, 1 part Romper Room. Drunk or stoned tourist kiddies stumbled around town, eyes glazed over, sometimes yelling incoherently.
Ok; some kids were more responsible drinkers, and drug users.
Either way, VV did away with the party culture town thing after the number of drug and alcohol related deaths became too much to bear for both foreign and local governments.
As of this writing, the town is a more serene setting with its dramatic karsts in the distance, flowing streams and overall green, lush feel.
Think Skull Island meets Monster Island meets Pandora of Avatar fame. You can easily imagine why this place would pull in a steadily increasing number of visitors, especially after making the jump from something out of a scene from Breaking Bad to a breathtaking tourist spot focused on adrenaline-seeking activities, sunset treks and a general nature-driven scene.
3: Luang Prubang
Luang Prabang exudes that Laos charm we became familiar with but offers much more.
$3 USD vegetarian buffet? Check.
Temples? You got it.
Glam hotels? Check.
Delicious donuts? Well heck yeah.
Gorgeous waterfalls can be found outside of town if you feel like trekking just a wee bit.
If you are more of the in town type of traveler you can spend the day wandering around the city, enjoying fine fare, fun shopping and soaking up life in a sleepy, peaceful town.
Cyclists have no shortage of beautiful real estate to cover, so get your cardio on while feasting on stunning scenery. Or maybe a Mekong Cruise is better suited for you?
Either way, make your way to Luang Prubang for a taste of serene, peaceful life.
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