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Laos

 

Laos is the dream comes true. If you land in Luang Prabang, like we did coming from Vietnam, you have a feeling that you have landed, not in another country but completely in another world. Everybody is calm, nobody presses the horn, the streets are quiet and it’s no hassling to buy or touting to go to a specific guesthouse. You realize that your vacation starts here!
Most of the travelers, who get their 15 days visas at the border, end up extending their stay and not necessarily because they found more things to visit than what they read before in the guide book, but they want to experience this place and to deepen in the tranquil atmosphere of, probably, one of the best kept secret of SE Asia.
Everybody greets you with the local salutation, “Sabaidee”, a variation of the Thai salutation, in history the Lao people being named Thai that creates a big controversy nowadays, their culture being relatively similar with Thailand.
If you wake up early, in the dark light of the mornings, you may see rows of orange robes on the streets. There are the monks doing their tour of duty to receive the offerings of rice in silence and peace, an impressive and solemn ceremony. The monks are the heart of Laos and when the Communists took power in 1975, sweeping in victory in the entire Indochina, they tried to ban the rice offering to the monks but they were up for a surprise because the uprising that was triggered by this gesture forced them to quickly reinstate it.

When you arrive In Luang Prabang everything around you is very slow, like the flow of the Mekong, people smile and are extremely nice and polite, the time stops and you realize that you landed back in time, maybe sometimes in the 60s in a dreamy Thailand. The city was isolated by the terrible roads and by an unreliable Mekong, where a trip from here to Saigon took longer than an ocean crossing to Paris. So Luang Prabang remained unspoiled by times and modernity and just recently the road got renovated and you can get to Vientiane in 10 hours by bus on a winding mountain road. It is full of temples and lots of restaurants, bars, Internet cafes and outfitters who want to take you in all sorts of adventures, by bikes, elephants, rafting or kayaking. You can walk an entire day through "wats", or on the shore of the Mekong and his tributary, Nom Kham, Luang Prabang being located on a sort of peninsula between these two rivers, but chances are that you may end up spending several days here.
After about three days of exploration, we left the city and we drove east, all the way to the Plain of Jars, a place located near Phonsavanh, where the megalithic stone jars are still a mystery in spite of all sorts of explanations given by archeologists.
From there we got to Vang Vieng, the utmost hang out place for backpackers, ridden with cheap accommodations and bed-tables in restaurants facing large TV screens that show mainly soccer and “Friends”. The landscape around this town is extremely beautiful, with karst peaks around a river that entice you to explore by bike or discover their hidden caves.
We ended our trip in Vientiane, maybe one of the most peaceful capitals in the world, full of temples, monuments and a very lazy Mekong, whose shore is full of outdoor cafes.

Come and see our travel video and you will never forget these places!

 

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Laos Stock

4 hours of HD stock footage from these locations:

Luang Prabang,Phonsavanh, Plain of Jars, Vang Vieng, Vientianne

Laos Images

Laos Blogs