A small town mountainous and landlocked country, without excessive pomp, closed for years to the outside world. But which for some time has been turning into one of the most popular destinations charms and attractions of the Far East. On the other hand it is normal: any guide to Laos, while underlining its limits, will tell you about a country with great natural beauties still slightly contaminated. A place of rivers, mountains mysterious mist-shrouded and jungle-covered valleys, combined with a fascinating Buddhist culture and sites steeped in deep culture.
Guide to Laos: the slowness of the Orient
The torpid and languid lifestyle of the capital of Laos, Vientiane, is the symbol of the relaxed and charming atmosphere that permeates the whole country. Strategically placed on banks of the Mekong River, Vientiane is a completely atypical capital of South-East Asia, which has not let itself be infected by the delusions of grandeur and modernity of cities such as Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok. Here, you don’t come for i skyscrapers and does not move us to futuristic monorails but rather you take the time to visit Buddhist temples how Pha That Luang or the Buddha Park which houses a wonderfully bizarre collection of religious buildings.
However, the number one tourist destination mentioned in every guide to Laos remains the UNESCO World Heritage City of Luang Prabang. A special place where the yesterday’s culture and the local version of the modernity. That is silent rows of monks in orange robes bordering traditional wooden houses and French colonial architecture while, not far away, amused tourists linger among the stalls of the night market between one stop and another in the cafés overlooking the river banks Mekong and Nam Khan.
Vientiane and Luang Brabang: the most famous destinations in the country
Though Vientiane And Luang Prabang these are the destinations that recur in every guide to Laos and should not be overlooked the rural areas. Those where nature still reigns supreme. Especially in the south of the country, a dense network of trails they unravel in forests between waterfalls uncontaminated giving also the possibility of arriving in small villages where you can meet the smiling and always welcoming local population. And all this makes Laos a perfect destination for those who love the “slow trip”.
During a trip to Laos surely you will have the opportunity to see and discover the sites related to religion and local culture. Near Vientianefor example, Xiang Khouan it is a religious site that deserves a visit to capture the emotion of seeing the Buddhist representations inserted in a placid river landscape. In Vientiane, then, there is also the most important religious site in the country: That Luanga huge stupa with a very elaborate structure that is located right inside the city.
The historic city of Luang Prabang it is the perfect base for seeing important sites such as the Royal Palace, Wat Xieng Thong and Pak Ou caves with their large collection of ancient Buddhist statues and relics. Another major tourist attraction of Laos is the beautiful cave of Tham Phou Kham to Vang Vieng while any Laos guide will tell you about the site of Phonsavan with its hundreds of ancient structures scattered among the greenery.
Guide to Laos: the climate and when to go
Laos has a tropical climatecharacterized by high temperatures throughout the year. The monsoon season (normally from May to October) is slightly cooler, but very humid. The best period to visit Laos is therefore between November and March, although this is a high tourist season and therefore accommodation prices can be higher than in other periods. Between March and May in Laos you find yourself having to endure daytime temperatures that often reach i 40° C. And with high humidity be prepared to gasp.
If the climate can be hostile the local population instead is absolutely friendly. Just as the lifestyle appears placid and far from the Western frenzy. A fact that strikes those who come from afar: with the Thailand on the one hand and the Vietnam on the other, one might expect Laos to be as dynamic and buzzing as the others tigers of the east. While time appears to flow slowly like the current of the river Mekongwhich forms the border with three countries – Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia in its slow meandering south towards the Gulf of Thailand.
But all this also has a historical explanation: until 1988, tourists were not allowed to enter the country while today you can move easily and in every part of Laos. However, there are few places where a minimum of crowds can be found and they are mostly around Luang Prabang or in the area of Vang Vieng. Wherever you go, however, following the guide of Laos, you will meet smiles and taste delicious Lao cuisine: a little French flavours and much of Southeast Asian influences. Everything will be perfect washed down with a frozen bottle of Lao beer.