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EXPLORE LAOS

Ultimate Destination..Laos - The Real Asia

 Land-locked Laos is the hidden gem of Southeast Asia. Laos, officially known as the Lao People's Democratic Republic - it is located in the center of Indochina and shares borders with Thailand, Cambodia, China, Myanmar and Vietnam. Learn More

 

 

   Laos is truly a fascinating country. Lao PDR can be characterized as having a low population density, unspoiled diverse ethnic lifestyles and traditions – and the richest, most extensive ecosystems in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. With stunning natural beauty, rich culture heritage and genuine hospitality, this nation has always held a magical allure for visitors.

   It is a country where visitors can really escape from the stresses of modern life and step back into the calm of a world dominated by Buddhism. The natural beauty and historical wonders of Laos can now be visited in comfort with the emergence of luxury boats, stylish hotels, and fantastic restaurants making a trip to this magical destination even more spectacular.

   Laos is fast becoming a new and exciting tourism destination for the region and the world. In an age where responsible tourism experiences are in increasing demand, Laos offers extraordinary new opportunities for the discerning travelers.

   It is Southeast Asia's smallest and most relaxed capital with only about 500,000 citizens. Its capital, Vientiane, is more like a big village than a crowded Asian hub and life throughout the country is slow paced. The ancient capital of Luang Prabang, nestled in a stunning valley surrounded by dramatic mountains, is a city of golden temple spires, faded French colonial architecture and diverse hill tribes. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it features remnants of an ancient kingdom, which lasted from the 13th to the 15th centuries.

The quickest way to get to Laos is to fly, but there are no direct flights from North America, Europe or Australasia. The most common route is to fly to Bangkok, Thailand and then fly from there to Vientiane or Luang Prabang.

 

Vientiane / Luang Prabang / Vang Vieng / Pakse-Champasak

  • Vientiane

    Vientiane is the capital city of Laos, situated in the Mekong Valley with a population of presently 464.000 .The name of the city is derived from Pali, the liturgical language of Theravada Buddhism. The spelling "Vientiane" is of French origin, and reflects the difficulty the French had in pronouncing the hard "ch" sound in the Lao word; a common English-based spelling is "Viangchan", or occasionally "Wiangchan" as its original meaning is "royal sandalwood grove" or "city of sandalwood", this tree being highly valued in classical India for its fragrance.

 Most travelers are fascinated by the city's exotic Eurasian setting. The confluence of several cultures has given Vientiane an appealing ambience. Tree-lined boulevards, French historical dwellings and Buddhists temples dominate the scene of central Vientiane and impart a unique character of timelessness. Major attractions are its scenic Buddhist monasteries and the significant monuments that dominate the scenery of the capital.

Vientiane and admire the master piece contained in Ho Prah Keo or the huge and sinuous That Luang which is the most impressive and biggest stupa in Laos , featured on the Lao insignia . Aside from a few local temples and the Victory Monument (a bizarre Asian Arc de Triomphe), one place well worth visiting is the Buddha Park about 20 kilometers east of the city. The park, designed and executed by a Laotian monk is filled with huge (and often horrific) concrete images taken from Theravada Buddhist lore, strongly reflecting the religion’s Hindu roots.
In Vientiane province long bridge connect the two shores of Mekong and it also connect two different world the one of Laos and the one of Thailand, now separated by a border but they belong to the same cultural root

Most of the major tourist attractions can be covered in a day or two, but the real reason for being here is to relax, eat, have a drink by the river and watch the world slowly pass by 

  • Luang Prabang

 Luang Prabang is the jewel of Indochina which is the best preserved city in South-East Asia,” declared UNESCO when granting World Heritage Status to the entire city since 1995. The ancient royal city is surrounded by mountains at the junction of the Mekong and its tributary, the Khan river. Luang Prabang is a city where time seems to stand still. As part of the UNESCO plan, new buildings have been limited and development must be in keeping with this magical place which means a blessed ban on buses and trucks. Most road activity consists of bicycles or motorcycles, but an even score simply go by foot.

Luang Prabang boasts an extraordinary number of working temples, many pre-dating the French colonial era. The way of life is gentle, and a sense of timelessness and mysticism pervades the whole city. Gleaming temple roofs, colonial buildings, Buddhist monks, traditional Lao homes, the majestic Mekong – a tranquil mix which has enchanted travelers for centuries.

Every morning, procession of hundreds monks from the various monasteries walk through the streets collecting alms from the local people and every evening, certain streets are closed for the extensive night market 

Luang Prabang is now Laos foremost tourist showpiece and it is the place where you can watch life go by at a very slow pace. 

  • Vang Vieng

At Vangvieng, 160 km north of Vientiane municipality, breathtaking limestone formations nestle along the Song River . The rocks are honeycombed with numerous caves, that lead to stalactite and stalagmite caves and it is also best for canoeing and rafting. This fascinating place is perfect for those who are searching for relaxation and be away from speedy life-style of the modernization. 

Vang Vieng today is mainly a backpacker town. The main street is littered with guest houses, bars, restaurants, internet cafes and tour agencies. Almost all the restaurants have large televisions playing American sitcoms (usually Friends), and recent films on a rotational basis. One of the main attractions of the town is inner tubing on the river. Whilst floating downriver there are several places to stop, mostly small family-owned bars or just simply an enterprising local with a bucket filled with ice cold bottles of Beerlao, and also several good spots for jumping into the river from the bank or a specially-constructed bridge.

The market is located five kilometers north of the town selling Lao textiles, household items and several stalls selling dubious foodstuffs. It is possible for stalls to sell bats, squirrels, monkeys, rats, mice and other animals as food. In the town there is a wat that is notable in looking rundown and keeping its valuables chained behind a door.

  • Pakse-Champasak

Champasak Province lies in the southwestern part of Laos, which once had been part of the Cambodian Angkor Empire before the French arrived. It has the Mekong River as one of its transportation arteries and encompasses the vast lush, fertile pieces of land that encourage the rice cultivation. What can be seen here are rustic thatch huts, local agricultural practices, the century-long traditions and the still-primal way of life.

Pakxe or Pakse "Mouth of the river Se". This city was founded by the French as an administrative outpost in 1905. Officially, Pakse is the capital city of Champasak province and the largest city in southern Laos. It is located on the confluence of the Mekong and Se Don Rivers. The city is well known with its hand-woven silks and cotton. The textiles are at bargain prices and can be found at the bustling outdoor market along the river. It is the market town of around 60,000 people and the departure point to many attractions all around.Since the construction of a bridge over the Mekong (built with Japanese aid), allowing road traffic with Ubon Ratchatani in Thailand , Pakse has become the commercial centre of southern Laos.

The province of Champassak is home to one of Asia's great, but least visited temples, Wat Phu, another World Heritage Site in Laos recognized by UNESCO in 2002, this ruin temple was built before Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, which is one of the most ancient Khmer temple architecture dating back the 7-11th century. The province also houses much of the Bolaven Plateau, an area that is home to a number of ethnic minorities. To the south is Si Pan Don (four thousand islands), where thousands of isles and sandbars rise from the Mekhong River – this is the widest part of the river’s breadth, expanding about 14 kilometers or nine miles and the Khone Phapeng Falls, the largest waterfall in South East Asia, known as “Niagara of the east

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