June 14, 2010

Laos is nothing if not an adventure

Many visitors to South East Asia miss out on Laos in favor of the more popular destinations of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Biking in LaosBiking in Laos

It may be true that traveling to Laos is nothing short of an endurance test, but the beautiful countryside, unspoiled wildlife and a sprinkling of exquisite temples will make your trip worth it. With its exciting terrains, well-preserved natural ecosystem and countless waterways, Laos is now emerging as a prime outdoor adventure destination in this part of Asia.

Low cost of accommodation

One of the best things about Laos, aside from its rugged beauty and natural attractions, is the low cost of accommodation, food and transportation. Your dollar will take you a long way and back. It may not have the world-class cuisine of its neighboring countries, but it’s not impossible to find gastronomic delights in many of its cities.

Notable is the French cuisine that is popular among various restaurants catering to tourists and plenty of scrumptious Thai and Vietnamese dishes as well. Laotian cuisine should not be missed; like the neighboring country of Thailand it is also generous in its helping of curry and fresh ingredients that’ll leave you wanting more . . . that is, if it’s your kind of cuisine.

Do be careful with how much cash you bring with you. ATMs are not readily available outside of Laos’ major cities. Credit cards will not help you either since it is only accepted by a small number of establishments. If you have some Thai Baht left from your Thailand visit, spend it in Laos because it is very welcomed.

You are most likely to land in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, a gem waiting to be discovered. It is a quaint and charming town that features exquisite temples and stupas. Take a relaxed stroll along the well laid-out streets of Vientiane and discover the remarkable influence of the French in its architecture and cuisine.

After Vientiane, proceed to Luang Prabang along the banks of the Mekong River. It is a picturesque and colorful town populated by orange-robed monks and the countless temples. Don’t miss on an exciting river cruise which will take you to an adventurous ride that will showcase the picturesque montage of local life along the riverbank.

Outdoor enthusiast’s paradise and don’t miss as well the Nam Ha Protected Area located in northern Laos. For a more exciting way of traveling to Nam Ha, make a short detour to the town of Luang Namtha and take a boat ride to Nam Ha. This will allow you to catch a glimpse of many bird species and reptiles along the banks of the river and surrounded by thick jungles of thriving flora and fauna.

Nam Ha Protected Site offers countless possibilities for the outdoor enthusiast eager for some adventure. Trek its thrilling terrains, and gaze upon its rich wildlife and stunning panoramas. Along the way, watch out for small waterfalls where you can rest your feet and cool off in its crystal clear waters. Take note of where you are going and follow your guide’s instruction on safe and unsafe areas to the letter. UXOs or small bombs, are still present in some areas, so make sure not to stray.

Other exciting destinations in Laos include Vieng Xai with its many large caves, Hongsa with its beautifully preserved architecture and Wat Phu Champasak with its 7th century Khmer temple complex.

By: Judy McEuen/ Troy Media

Recommendation in Laos:

- Travel guide in Laos
- Adventure tours in Laos

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