Laos is a much overlooked destination that has fast become Nathan’s favourite Asian country. With laidback people, stunning scenery and fascinating culture, Nathan tells us why he loves it so…
Few people visit Laos without taking in the amazing capital city of Luang Prabang but few people head further north than this. Holly tells us why the north of Laos has a lot more to it than people think…
Beach bum Holly heads away from the coast and explores Luang Prabang, the capital of Laos. She gives us the low down on this fascinating capital city…
Sleepy, landlocked Laos has got to be one of Asia’s most beguiling destinations. This charming nation is brimming with forest-clad mountains, peaceful islands, ancient ruins, ornate Buddhist stupas, superb landscapes, and fascinating rural communities. From the colonial capital Vientiane to the historic mountain kingdom of Luang Prabang, Laos presents a refreshingly slow pace of life and wholly deserves its reputation as the ‘Sleeping Beauty of south-east Asia’.
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For a taste of Laos’ laid-back grandeur, head to the historic former royal capital of Luang Prabang, the UNESCO-listed city that is home to around one-thousand saffron-robed monks. Here you can admire over 30 shimmering temple complexes - most fabulously Pha Bang and Wat Xiang Thong - and take a cruise up the Mekong River to see the stunning waterfalls of Kouang Si and Tad Se.
Revel in more architectural splendour at peaceful colonial capital, Vientiane. Relax on the banks of the Mekong River, discover over 2,000 Buddha statues at Wat Si Saket, and see the gasp-inducing gold-hued Phra That Luang temple glistening at sunset.
Whilst Laos’s mountainous north offers excellent biking, zip wiring, rafting, trekking, and face-to-face encounters with wildlife in the Nam Ha National Protected Area, its serene south presents more culture-rich charms. Discover the coffee plantations of the Bolaven Plateau, and explore the provincial town of Pakse - the capital of Champasak Province that sits at the confluence of the Mekong and Don rivers.
For many, Laos’ superstar is Wat Phou, the sprawling UNESCO-listed complex that houses a series of ancient Khmer temple and shrines. Marvel at this ‘mountain temple’ and take a Wat Phou river cruise down the Mekong River for the Oum Muong ruins at Huei Thamo, endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins and the Pha Pheng waterfall on the border with Cambodia.
Equally fascinating is the Plain of Jars, the huge sandstone containers that dot the landscape around Phonsavan in the north-east. Whilst these giant ‘jars’ are thought to date back to the Iron Age, their purpose will forever remain a mystery.
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Did you know?
In 1994 the Mittaphab Bridge was built over the Mekong River between Laos and Thailand. It is known as the Thai- Lao Friendship Bridge.
Did you know?
Laos is the only landlocked country in South East Asia.