Laos is the undiscovered jewel and one of Asia’s most beautiful secrets. Laos steps back to a time of oxen-pulled ploughs and sleepy market towns and is a country bristling with ancient tradition – a place of primeval palaces and forgotten temples.
This is a spiritual destination where the monks collect food in their alms bowls each morning and seductive Lao textiles fill the shops. It boasts a rich cultural tapestry woven with ethnic strands from all over the region and is probably one of the last quiet countries on earth
Only now emerging after years of isolation, it is a country of stunning natural beauty, friendly people and a way of life whose charms and relaxed pace are impossible to resist. Refreshingly, most of the country has not yet adapted itself to modern tourism and traditional ways of life continue in the face of our rapidly changing world.
The Laotian people are very welcoming, allowing you an insight into their lives and country.
The city of Vientiane, the sleepy capital of Laos, is set on the Mekong River which forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand. Here among its French colonial buildings, are the historic temples of Wat Si Saket, Vientiane’s oldest surviving temple and Pha That Luang, the most important national monument in Laos.
Nearby Phu Khao Khuay National Park makes a fantastic day trip from the city and with its serene mountains and meandering rivers is home to an extraordinary array of endangered wildlife including wild elephant, gibbon, Asiatic black bear, tiger and clouded leopard.
Further north on the Mekong is the charming market town of Luang Prabang, former Royal capital and now a World Heritage listed site. The town has temples with gleaming roofs including the stunning 500 year old Wat Xieng Thong and a royal palace preserved as it was when the royal family was forced into exile in 1975. These ancient monuments jostle for space with the brightly coloured markets and colonial architectural relics from a bygone era, with the scent of Lao cuisine drifting on the breezes.
Ancient history, diverse heritage and stunning landscapes, Laos has so much to offer the intrepid traveller. It is truly an opportunity to escape and indulge in this gentle land’s timeless appeal.