When I asked for a piece of advice about which Southeast Asian country to spend my summer holidays, everyone, my friends, my family, even my colleagues, suggested Phuket, Maldives, Ho Chi Minh City, but nobody mentioned to Laos. For me, at that time, I only knew that Laos is landlocked and my curiosity stimulated me to pay a visit to the nation. I never regretted my choice since I have learned a lot about the nation and I decided to share those things with you guys. I hope that your trips to Laos will be more wonderful after reading my experience.
Compared to its neighbors, Laos is not famous for beautiful beaches or majestic mountains. Many people think that Laos is boring, so it is a waste of time visiting there. One of my friends even told me that Laos is a less developed version of Cambodia. But as soon as I landed on the country, I realized he was wrong.
Although it is just a joke, both Lao people and public transportation seem to be so leisurely that they are hardly on time. You may think it causes procrastination, but, in fact, I found this quite refresh and pleasant. Of course, sometimes you need to be prepared for running late. And, remember that the roads are in poor condition. If you take a bus from Vientiane to Luang Prabang (about 300km), you must spend 8 hours on the vehicle.
When referring to special food of Laos’ neighbors, most people think about Vietnamese Pho, Thai Tom Yum Goong, or even Cambodian amok curries. But they have no idea about Lao food. Let me tell you one well-known dish in Laos – the marinated meat called larb. Besides, you can try glutinous rice and Lao sausage. In general, Lao food is either sour or spicy since the native add a lot of herbs in the dishes. And, if you are a beer lover, don’t skip the national Beer Lao sold within the country with the price of 1.2 USD.
The Mekong River plays a crucial role in daily life of the people here. When I put my feet on the capital, I was astonished by the life on the riverside. There were neither shopping malls nor modern skyscrapers. Instead, most activities occur mainly on the riverside and the river. Thanks to is, I had a chance to experience a peaceful and pleasant morning full of fresh air when I saw only mist and a couple of boats silently drifting.
I was very amazed to know that Laos has no sea but a lot of islands. A cluster of islets belonging to Laos is situated in the most Southern part. The citizens called them Si Phan Don, which means 4.000 islands. Also, the islands are also found on soft sandy beaches on the Mekong River’s banks.
Due to the fight for power in the past of the two parts, the life and other things in the North are quite different from the South’s. Numerous tourists prefer going to the North as they conclude that there is not much to do in the South. However, if you want to enjoy the tranquility in countryside, the South is definitely an ideal place for your vacation. You will immerse yourself in impressive landscapes including the ancient city of Wat Phou, the most beautiful cave in Southeast Asia – Konglor cave, and the lush forests on the Bolaven Plateau.
I have never imagined that Lao people can speak French! In addition, I could frequently pass by French colonial buildings and places selling baguettes. Another French thing here was crêpes in the menu. Sometimes, I bumped into several French visitors on the streets.
If you are keen on having a balloon ride but still hesitate about the pricey cost, why don’t you come to Vang Vieng for a ride at $78? It may sound unbelievable, but the site seems to be a good deal for your balloon trip.
This rule belongs to their custom. Since monks is spiritual subjects in Laos, they are respected and any woman touching them means disrespect. Besides, the Lao people consider touching an unknown person is impolite, thus, instead of shaking hands as a way of greeting, they put their hands together and take a bow.
The citizens utilize their feet for walk only. If you have to move among the crowd, don’t step on them, just cringe. Also, in a temple, don’t point towards statues of Buddha with your feet.
The Lao people call it Songkran. The holiday starts from the 13th to the 16th every April. In Luang Prabang, the feast days last for one week. Despite the scorch weather, the individuals still enjoy their official days off.