10 fantastic places in Laos

1-VIENTIANE


In the capital of Laos, bathed by the Mekong River, we can find an interesting mix between nineteenth-century French colonial architecture and Buddhist temples. Here we can see the Pha That Luang temples, a national symbol covered in gold dating to the 16th century, Haw Pha Kaeo, known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and shrines such as Wat Si Saket, with thousands of Buddha images and Wat Si Muang, built on the ruins of a Hindu shrine.

Other attractions include the famous Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan) 25 km away, with more than 200 Buddhist and Hindu statues, Laos National Museum, which tells the country’s history, and the Patuxai War Memorial, a bow in which visitors can climb to see the city.

2-PAKSE

Photo by http://topmekongcruises.com/pakse-laos

Pakse was founded by the French colonialists in 1905. Here we can visit the ruins of a temple on Mount Phou Asa, also Wat Luang, which is considered  the most beautiful temple in Pakse and Wat Phabad, the largest and oldest temple in Pakse, in which are rumors that Buddha has left here his footprint.

Pakse is also considered a good base to visit some of the region’s major attractions such as the waterfalls of Bolaven Plateau and Tad Fane, a few kms away, the Khmer ruins of Wat Phu and the Si Phan Don Islands (4000 islands).

3-VANG VIENG

Vang Vieng is considered the mecca of backpackers. One of the main attractions is the Tubing, the descent of the Nam Song River into a rubber buoy, with stops at bars and waterfront parties.
Apart from this famous activity, it is a great place to do trails, climbing, canoeing, moto4, explore caves, slide in the forests and jumps to the lagoons.
In addition to these adventure activities, Vang Vieng is the perfect place for those who enjoy nightlife in the middle of a fantastic natural scenary.

4-LUANG PRABANG

Luang Prabang is the main tourist destination in Laos, located on a peninsula formed by the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers.
Declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, Luang Prabang is a city that combines French colonial architecture with Buddhist mysticism.

The shopping in Luang Prabang is vibrant and the gastronomy is wonderful.

The main attractions are in the Old Quarter, the historical center of Luang Prabang.
Here you can visit Haw Kham, the Royal Palace in which, in addition to its fantastic architecture and the museum with objects of the royal family, one can see the Phra Bang temple just at the entrance.
Near the palace you can visit the Phou Si, a hill guarding That Chomsi Temple and a 360 degree view of Luang Prabang more than 100 meters above the city. You will have to climb over 300 steps, but it is worth it, especially at sunset.
Another attraction of Luang Prabang is to watch on Th Sisavangvong street the ” Round of Souls”, when the Buddhist monks, dressed in orange colors, leave the temples in search of donations from the population.
On the same street, at night, there is a night market with countless food stalls and local products, including handicrafts.

30km from the center, you can´t miss the wonderful water falls Kwang Si, go on the top of the  waterfall and be amazed by the fantastic scenery.

Another famous activity on the outskirts of Luang Prabang is to visit the elephant reserves. Check before you go, what kind of treatment they give the animals, if they are in captivity and if the visit does not include riding on these animals but rather a healthy and natural contact with them. These tours often include programs in conjunction with a visit to the caves of the Park Ou and waterfalls.

Enjoy also and relax in the bars and restaurants of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers.

5-PLAIN OF JARS

Photo by r https://lifepart2.com/photo-cold-and-windy-day-on-the-plain-of-jars/

A few kilometers north of Luang Prabang lies the vast PLAIN OF JARS, one of the most heavily bombed areas during the Vietnam War.

With jars (some more than 2 meters high) with more than two thousand years of uncertain origin, the way to reach this plain by land is quite difficult, but it’s worth either for the landscapes along the way or for the unusual scenery adorned by the jars.

6- THAKHEK

Photo by http://escapology.eu/2014/12/23/my-top-3-motorbike-tours-in-southeast-asia/thakhek-loop-motorbike-18/

340 km from Viantiane lies the city of Thakhek, where you can enjoy the pleasure of exploring areas with practically no tourists. Here, you can make the Thakhek Motorbike Loop, a spectacular motorcycle tour lasting about 4 days between remote villages, rivers, waterfalls, caves, rice fields, turquoise water pools, among other fantastic scenarios.

7-FOUR THOUSAND ISLANDS: Si PHAN DON

The “four thousand islands” (SI PHAN DON) are the land portions that appear on the Mekong River, at the southern end of Laos near the border with Cambodia.

The Mekong River, which is born in Tibet, passes through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia to Vietnam, is an emblematic river in the lives of people and culture of Southwest Asia.

Si Phan Don is a quiet place where life revolves around the river.
The most important islands are: Don Khong, Don Det and Don Khon.
Don Det and Don Khon islands are very close to each other, connected by a small bridge that can be crossed by car or bicycle.
Don Khong is the largest of the islands and presents the best accommodation options / hotels, restaurants and transport with the mainland (via ferry-boat).
In these islands, the main activities are: enjoy the beach, bike and canoe trips, visit waterfalls, boat trips, dolphin watching, and one of the area specialties … relax.

8- PHU HIN BUN NATURAL PARK

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The Phu Hin Bun Natural Park is a huge wilderness in the center of Laos with fantastic scenery of turquoise rivers, monsoon forests, caves and limestone cliffs.

A trip to the Tham Kong Lor cave, one of the largest caves in Laos is an excellent choice to explore this park.
Tham Kong Lor has a length of 7.5km and 50 meters in height in some areas, and it can be made part by boat and part by walking.
At the exit of the cave the scenery is wonderful, a natural pool sacred to the locals, with emerald waters with a green surround of peace and tranquility.

9- NATURAL PARK NAM HA

Photo by http://www.lionheartv.net/2017/11/dr-filiberto-pollisco-jr-advises-everyone-discover-southeast-asias-natural-heritage-parks/

The Nam Ha National Park is a protected area in the province of Luang Namtha, north of Laos. This eco-tourism destination park is home to a variety of ethnic groups and diverse species of animals and plants.
The tours are limited to small groups, each agent has their own routes and each village receives visitors no more than three times a week. The authorities provide information on sustainable forestry, fishing practices and responsible tourism.

10 – VIENG XAI CAVES

Photo by http://blogs.bootsnall.com/beaker/tag/vieng-xai

Vieng Xai is situated in the northeast of the country in the province of Hua Phan, just next to the Vietnamese border.
It is possible to join a tour and visit the several important historical complexes of war caves, set in beautiful gardens and fabulous landscapes of limestone.

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