Highlights of Laos
Highlights of Laos
I travelled to Laos on the 10th January 2016 for 10 days. It was a great experience as we managed to see all of Laos in the time we were there. The cities we visited were Savannakhet, Thakhek, Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang and Pakse. It was a whirlwind trip, but we managed. The longest hours we travelled by Bus was from Vientiane to Pakse (from North to South) that trip was 14hours. I recommend to travel by Bus when travelling throughout Laos as it has the most beautiful scenery that I have ever seen. The ‘sleeper buses’ were an experience. I highly recommend taking some travel sickness medication if you get motion sickness.
In each city that you go and visit there are waterfalls, coffee and tea plantations to visit. I do not have a favourite place as each city is unique in itself. Each city has different attractions and different natural wonders to go and visit. Some of the highlights in each city that I saw are:
Savannakhet: Old quarter with its staggering display of decaying early 20th century architecture. Hotel: Soulinsouk Hotel. We had a great surprise breakfast and the service was good but the rooms were a bit run down but we were happy with the staff and service..
Thakhek: The old parts of Thakhek near to the Mekong River provide good views of Thailand, albeit at quite a distance. Konglor Cave is likely to be the highlight of this area if not the whole of Laos. There's a 7 km cave through which a navigable river passes. Motorized long boats take visitors through the cave to view the caverns and limestone formations.
Hotel: Souksomboun Hotel. I liked this hotel very much as it was very unique in the architecture. The service was great but unfortunately breakfast was not offered. It’s in the city centre and close to the Mekong River. The rooms were big and all with air conditioning.
Vientiane: The friendly capital, studded with French mansions, bougainvillea-blooming streets and steaming noodle stalls, is somewhere between a big town and a diminutive city. Buddha Park is a must see. The park contains over 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues. Other attractions are Arc de Triumph, Royal palace and the That.
Hotel: La Gondola. This hotel/BB was amazing as the service was great and the food even better. The rooms were cosy but small but the location was good and not far from the city centre. One of my favourite hotels in Laos.
Vang Vieng: Tham Poukham - Blue Lagoon, Padeng and Ring cave, Xang Cave and Nang Oua Kham Cave.
Hotel: Sengkeo Guesthouse. This Guesthouse is nestled in a garden and offers patio and outdoor seating area. The rooms are serviced with fans or air conditioner and they have a clothes rack made of bamboo. I would recommend this Guesthouse for the adventurous travellers.
Luang Prabang: Known for the numerous Buddhist temples and monasteries. The natural tourism sites are the Kuang Si Falls, Tat Sae Waterfalls and Pak Ou Caves. There is also a museum to see Haw Kham Royal Palace Museum.
Hotel: Luang Prabang Old Centre House. Luangprabang Old Centre House is a 10-minute walk from the night market and a 15-minute walk from the Khan River. Each room here will provide you with a TV and air conditioning. Featuring a shower, the private bathroom also comes with a free toiletries and slippers. The staff and service are great as they are flexible with the check out times and ready to assist you in booking tours or transfers. Breakfast is not included.
Pakse: There are beautiful waterfalls. There are about 7 waterfalls to go and see. The higher you go the more beautiful the waterfalls are. I also recommend to go and visit a coffee/tea plantations.
Hotel: Royal Pakse Hotel. It's an old hotel with traditional hotel rooms which include mini fridge, cable TV with CNN, writing desk and springy beds. The hotel is in the tourist area of Pakse. The staff does not speak English but once you find a way to communicate with them they are caring towards clients. Breakfast is not provided.
The country is great for backpacking and small group touring because it is easy to move within the country and you experience different situations that will be an eye opener for you and anyone participating.
A guided tour is great because everything is taken care of. They know the best places to go and see and how to get there and it makes your life easier as it is arranged for you.
The Laotians were so nice and willing to help a foreigner with anything they needed. The food is amazing and you can even try and bargain on the price with them! You don’t have to, I just couldn’t believe it was possible even though it is already super cheap! Within the city there are the tuk tuks to travel in which are happy to move you around from one place to another as well as bring you to the waterfalls. Doing it this way it may be cheaper than going on a booked tour if you book within the country.
Trust your instincts when thinking of travelling to one of the South East Asian Countries. I had an idea of what Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos were going to be like but I had it completely wrong. I love Asia and for me to say that means that I truly love to travel Asia. Laos is still relatively little known as and it is a poor country compared to Australia but it has so much to offer and you will not regret seeing it!
You want to travel Asia and need help? Please contact me as I will be more than happy to assist you.
(Angela is currently living in Vietnam so is able to offer insider knowledge and information on all the local sites in the region).