While exploring Southeastern Asia, we never understand what kind of cultures we may experience, foods we may taste, or ancient history we may encounter. Southeast Asia is a region filled with surprises and a plethora of things to do to remember and tell your grandchildren about it years down the road.
Laos is a Southeast Asian country crossed by the Mekong River and known for rugged terrain, French colonial structures, mountain tribe settlements, and Buddhist monasteries. Vientiane, the capital, is the place of the That Luang monument, where a reliquary reportedly hides the Buddha’s breastbone, plus the Patuxai war monument and Talat Sao, a complex jammed with food, craft, and clothes stalls.
Laos, a little wonder from Southeast Asia, can surprise you. It doesn’t matter if your urges take you outside into spinning waterfalls or luxury hotels – the sights, scents, and sounds will fill your spirits like nothing you’ve seen before.
If you have a knack for adventure, you should bring your waterproof cameras and hike in some of the mountains. Their pure grandeur will leave you in awe. Here you will find some of the oldest hill tribe communities that still indulge in craft everyday and create ritual items in traditional ways. Forests are lush and green, waterfalls white and misty, and the variety of plants and animals will astonish you. From lively, vivid birds to simple tree-dwelling mammals, something is bound to jump in your camera lens. Take tours or look into possible eco-adventures for an exciting time.
If checking out the outdoors isn’t quite your style, feel free to stay within the city limits. Be ready to confront a strong Buddhist faith that may make you feel at peace and leave you with a serenity feeling even after your trip is over. Young boys will dart by in their illustrious orange robes and temples where monks quietly seek pure enlightenment.
There are lots of places to shop, eat and treat oneself in Laos. Vientiane is built on the banks of the Mekong River. Despite its high population count, the city has a more comfortable feel than many other Asian capitals. Expect to see traces of French colonialism in the structures – you may even see a French bakery located next to a noodle shop. You can always explore some of the gilded temples. The Wat Sisaket is the most ancient temple in Vientiane, dating back to the early 1800s.
Like in so many other countries, street vendors can offer some of the most delicious and freshest food around. Be ready for some unusual flavors and a few unexpected favorites you’ll wish you could bring back home!
Soak up all that Laos has to offer – once you are back home, you’ll question when you can visit again.