Friday, December 9, 2011

Trekking in Laos – What to Expect

The one thing everybody should, and most people do, when in Laos is go trekking. I don’t just mean a little jaunt in the woods. I mean a proper 2-3 days hike through forests, waterfalls, banana plantations and into the daily life of two thirds of the country.

If there’s one thing that Laos has that’s unique to the world is its rural villages, which have remained largely unchanged throughout much of modern history. To get a good feel of the real Laos you’ve got to head out into the countryside on one of the many available treks. The makeup of these tours is similar: usually 2-3 days, beginning with light trekking, ending up in a rural village for the evenings, where you’ll likely sleep in homestays or a basic longhouse, be able to watch or partake in village activities and have local food. Most involve either a dance presentation or handicraft explanation and then you’ll be on your way again, hiking to waterfalls and up scenic hills. The choice of locations and tour operators, however, does have a significant impact on who benefits and how much.

 

In Laos, many of these treks have been developed as a way to help poor communities make supplementary income and increase their skill levels, with often a portion of your trek going into a village development fund. This is a great way to learn about the real Lao culture and enjoy yourself.

The south of Laos is well-known for its excellent Arabica coffee, and we started out with a coffee roasting demonstration, where we got to watch the coffee being heated and mixed on a rudimentary wood fire. A shot of lao lao, the local rice alcohol, and some sugar added to the roasting really gives the coffee a rich taste. They eagerly wanted us to taste the different types of coffees, which resulted in a caffeine rush that shot me through most of the morning hike. This started out with a visit to two waterfalls, a climb through thick secondary forest and over streams. Lunch was a great local assortment of sticky rice, Jaep,-the local chili dip, BBQ chicken and tasty dried pork.

Being the first tour group, our afternoon arrival to our sleeping village was greeted with as much fanfare as curiosity, and the gaze of 50 children never left us for the rest of our stay. This village has no electricity or running water, with all of its raised houses made of wood woven branches, it felt like you’d gone back in time. The bucolic scenes of this village felt almost too stereotypical to be true, and yet it is.

Two girls were busy threshing some rice; a boy was chasing chickens while a line of pantless toddlers watched us, wide-eyed. The villagers warmly welcomed us with a traditional baci ceremony, in which a series of white bracelets are tied to your wrist, with blessings and offerings made to welcome newcomers to the village. This was followed by the obligatory lao lao shots, and a copious dinner.

Bed time is early in a village with no lights, and so was the wakeup alarm, with villagers setting off towards their fields by 5am. After a 6:30 am breakfast we pack up and do the same, walking through sticky rice fields, up a hill with sweeping views of the region and a temple which sheltered refugees of the secret war. Gaining tidbits of local lore we stop at the wishing tree, where your wish will come true if you manage to hit a tree 20 meters away with a rock, and into a few small caves, one with over a hundred tiny Buddha statues molded from sap.

We returned to civilization dusty and tired, but feeling content for having experienced something which few others in the world have and in doing so, better understood the Lao people and their lives.

Source: ispot.la

Let join in amazing adventures to Laos with ActiveTravel Asia, just one click to obtain a special thing in your life: http://www.activetravel.asia/laos-adventures-tl351.html

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Luang Prabang: The Jewel of Indochina

Just about anywhere else in the world, a trip to the local Red Cross office would probably be a sign that your holiday had gone badly wrong. But not in the former Laotian royal capital of Luang Prabang, where the unprepossessing wooden structure tucked away behind Mount Phousi offers a surprisingly pleasant treat for the body and senses.


In this delightful Indochinese outpost, where the French colonial legacy mixes easily with traditional Laotian influences, life is enjoyed at a pace so gentle it borders on the somnolent. Amid such tranquillity, there is only one thing to do after a few hours spent meandering around the Buddhist monasteries in the marvellous old town or taking a long-tail boat trip along the Mekong. That is to unwind some more - and that is where the Red Cross comes in.

The organisation raises much-needed funds for its health work in dirt-poor outlying villages by providing traditional Lao massages and a natural herbal sauna. And rarely has doing a virtuous deed felt so good or come so cheap.This pampering in the raw is unadorned by the luxury and fuss usually associated with spa-going.

First stop, for a remarkably reasonable outlay of about £1.50, is the massage. Don't expect to be able to tell the masseur or masseuse that you have a particular ache or pain as the English spoken here is negligible. But that's fine - expert hands identified my knots and tensions without verbal directions.
Well-kneaded and suitably relaxed, I moved on to an even more revelatory experience for another couple of pounds - the herbal sauna. A quick word of warning: this is not for the faint-hearted or claustrophobic. But it is worth every drip of perspiration and I certainly got to meet the locals who squeezed into the small wooden sweatbox (sorry, steamroom) in cheerful cheek-by-jowl intimacy.

The ritual is largely explained with hand gestures from the staff who direct men and women to their respective cabins. After tucking my clothes into a locker, I put on one of the sarongs provided and ventured into the intense cleansing heat. I swear I could feel the toxins pouring out of my pores as blasts of sizzling air wafted up a secret cocktail of herbs from the coals that heat the room from below.

After taking as much as I could bear, I retreated to the bench on the open terrace outside and gulped down black tea from the kettles constantly topped up on the table as my reddened, panting state provided some amusement to the locals. Revived, I returned to the fray for three repeat performances in the herb-infused atmosphere.

Luang Prabang sits in a bowl of mountains on a peninsula where the Nam Khan river flows into the Mekong. It was an ideal retreat for the rulers of the Kingdom of a Million Elephants and it still retains that sense of marvellous isolation and understated majesty.

I had first read about its charms two decades ago in an old guidebook pre-dating the communist takeover in 1975. But when I tried to visit Laos in 1986 as a student backpacker, the hardline communist regime only welcomed the occasional closely vetted tour group and the rebuff when I sought a visa at the embassy in Bangkok was as polite as it was firm. "We are repairing our country so that you can enjoy it better," a functionary informed me with a smile. "Please come back another time."

In the mid-1990s, shortly after the gerontocratic rulers realised that Mammon (and in particular tourist dollars) filled coffers that Marxism did not reach, I finally made it to Luang Prabang and was mesmerised by its beauty, its languid pace and seductive serenity. So I returned this year with some trepidation, fearful that the allure of this real-life Shangri-la would have fallen prey to the relentless march of modernity. But those fears were unfounded - the old town is as well-preserved and laid-back as ever.

Luang Prabang's most timeless tradition plays out in the gentle early-morning light as hundreds of monks emerge from the 30 or so temples for the dawn collection of alms. Aged eight to 80, they file barefoot along the streets, a long, sinewy line of saffron, opening their bowls to receive sticky rice and vegetables from the locals kneeling before them. One tip - there are a couple of bottlenecks marred by the flash of tourists' cameras, so the rite is best observed on one of the quieter back streets.

At the end of the day, as the last rays glint off gilded temple roofs, climb the 328 steps up Mount Phousi for the sunset view over the pocket-sized former royal palace-turned-museum and the waters that define the town's shape. Or for a more solitary experience, a short long-tail boat ride across the Mekong brings you to a string of deserted temples with a fabulous perspective of Luang Prabang as well as a sad, abandoned grandeur of their own.

Back in Luang Prabang, I lost myself strolling around the array of wats (temples) that makes this one of the region's religious centres. With its sweeping roofs, richly decorated gables, gold-stencilled columns and dark, luxuriant interiors, Wat Xieng Thong ("Golden Tree") is quite rightly regarded as the jewel in Luang Prabang's spiritual crown. But it was just as rewarding to wander around the smaller shrines where knots of novices sat studying their scripts in the courtyard in the shade of a tree.

After dusk falls, the night market springs into action as hill tribeswomen offer the sort of bargains in silk and linen that have long since disappeared from the streets of neighbouring Thailand. But in a town not renowned for its partying, our best after-dark experience came when we happened upon a wedding celebration and the bride's cheerfully tipsy father insisted that we join the revelry.

Luang Prabang has seen an influx of excellent restaurants in recent years. Elegantly decorated with traditional silks and cottons, the Apsara leads the way with its setting - a French colonial riverside residence - and an imaginative menu mixing the best of South Asian and Western. My mouth still waters at the memory of the buffalo sausages served with fresh ginger, peanuts and garlic followed by a fresh-water fish stuffed with lemongrass and accompanied by a garlic, tamarind and lime sauce.

The accommodation options are just as impressive. We opted for Maison Souvannaphoum, the one-time home of a Laotian prince, now converted into a very classy hotel with beautiful manicured grounds. The bedrooms include the erstwhile suite of the eponymous prince himself. The hotel's renowned spa also offers a rather more traditionally sumptuous experience than the Red Cross.

The hammer and sickle on the flag of the Lao People's Democratic Republic fluttering above the gates of Maison Souvannaphoum may be a gentle reminder that Marxists rather than monarchs have ruled the country since 1975. But in Luang Prabang, whether it be the humble environs of the Red Cross or a residence fit for a prince, the royal treatment is never far away.

Source: telegraph

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Guide To Luang Prabang

Cradled in its mountainous eyrie, the town's location is as stunning as its temples are resplendent. Like an earl's fading finery, Luang Prabang's somnolent streets slumber on, largely unchanged since its ancient royal capital days.

Aside from smelly drains, Luang Prabang, whose name means 'Golden Buddha Capital', exhibits few flaws. Tourists are usually reluctant to leave the bicycle-paced cradle of Lao culture and often tarry longer than planned. The attraction stems partly from the terrain, as the one-time royal seat of Laos sits at the junction of the Mekong with one of its tributaries and is encircled by an amphitheater of limestone peaks. It even has its very own mountain right in the town, which rises steeply up behind the main street. The town is occasionally busy but rarely frantic and, thanks to strict planning regulations, is devoid of eyesores.


Time seems to have stood still in this special and serene place. In this respect it resembles the unique Italian city of San Gimignano, whose tightly-packed sixteenth century stone skyscrapers were left untouched for four hundred years when all the inhabitants died of the Black Death. Due to its isolation, Luang Prabang has preserved an older and slower way of life: old Asia, Asia without the crowds, Asia without the traffic, Asia where people have enough time for each other, enough time for themselves.

Luang Prabang seems almost camouflaged by palm trees and dense tropical foliage: from above, only golden-spired stupa roofs are visible, shimmering above the greenery. First-time visitors to this treasure trove of Laos culture are advised to devote at least the first day to taking in the stunning architectural display, with French-colonial chic married to Buddhist splendor to elegant effect.

At dawn scores of saffron-robed, alms-hungry monks file from the monasteries into the streets in a ritual that has become emblematic of the city's identity. The orange in the monks' robes is accentuated by the soft morning light in a scene framed by russet monastery roofs, palm trees and whitewashed colonial housing. Within an hour, the monks have completed their rounds and melted back into their monasteries. Although this daily ritual can be seen all over Southeast Asia, it's particularly striking in Luang Prabang because of the density of temples and the concentration of monks: out of a population of 15,000 residents, there are over 500 monks.

By: Simon Ramsden
Article Source: EzineArticles.com Simon Ramsden 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Seduced by Luang Prabang, Laos

We traveled here for four days: my wife and the girls plus my wife’s mom and husband, visiting from America. It was the last leg of their three-week visit to Southeast Asia and it didn’t disappoint.

Speaking with Andrew, the owner (who’s originally from Melbourne) he told me that one reason Luang Prabang has managed to retain its soul is that the people here are so proud of their culture, that they work hard to preserve it.

Old and new converge in Luang Prabang, Laos.

It shows. It’s a walkable town, although it’s also easy to grab one of the colorful tuk tuks, those covered motorcycle trucks with bench seats that are painted in a rainbow of colors. Male monks in saffron robes pace next to flash packing tourists. It’s a strange juxtaposition of the ancient and modern.

We started with a visit to an ethnology museum, a small affair funded by western nonprofits and housed in an old French villa. Here we learned about the minority tribes in Laos and their dress and

Food is an integral part of Luang Prabang’s beautiful life. Whether you’re noshing a noodle dish on the street or partaking of an elegant Laos or French dinner in a faded colonial building, it’s hard to go wrong with food here. One evening I took a class in Laos cuisine offered by Tamnak Laos restaurant. It was a revelation.

On this visit, I returned to one of my favorite sites in all of Asia: Wat Xieng Thong. This stunning temple complex dates from the sixteenth century. Bejeweled, dazzling, multifaceted: the low-roofed temple and surrounding halls are exquisite in their details.

Wat Xieng Thong and the Tree of Life mosaic.

Every square inch is covered in colorful collages that glisten and shine in the late afternoon light. Supreme of all of them is the Tree of Life, found on the back wall of the Xieng Thong temple: a triumphant blazing dazzle of a tree with a pair of adjoining blue peacocks and populated with gem-like men and birds and beasts.

In an adjoining hall is a rare bronze reclining Buddha who dates from the original temple, lying peacefully in placid slumber. On other halls, carved wooden friezes painted in gold patina, which surge with battles and flames and caressing lovers–imagine it: lovers embracing at the entry to place of worship!–godly I love this country!

Entrance to a place of worship, Wat Xieng Thong.

Later in our visit, we hiked in the cool morning to the summit of Phusi hill, right in the center of town, where another temple awaits. As if the views of the green mountainous countryside and the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers weren’t enough already, the temple is filled with lovely sights: little pyramids made from marigolds, banana leaf, and frangipani... And the offerings of Laos kip currency folded into delicate blossoms. Patience, slowness, and beauty.

Then there were the elephants. They were fascinating creatures, 25 to 30 years old and long trained and domesticated. We bumped and slogged along in our little wooden seats atop the lady elephants. Though the route was a bit long it was a great experience.

After the elephant, a voyage across the Mekong River, wide Mekong that meanders from some high, sacred peak in Tibet 2,700 miles down to the South China Sea. We rode in a shallow, impossibly long, blue wooden boat powered by a put-putting motor to the Pak Ou caves on the opposite shore.

Back in Luang Prabang we slowed down and enjoyed life. We pedaled bicycles, ate Nutella crepes, bargained for handicrafts, nibbled on nom cinnamon rolls, and wondered when we’d get back here after returning to Hanoi.

We’ll be back, no doubt about that.

Source: onlyok.net

Friday, May 13, 2011

Luang Prabang: The Epithet of Laotian History, Culture and Nature

Formed at the convergence of the famous Mekong and Kahn rivers in Laos, the town of Luang Prabang is the archetypal product of when colonial and traditional architecture collide. Groomed in pristine fashion, one would think he is the first to discover this exotic landscape.

Palm trees line the riverside, as the spires of divine stupas protrude through the trees, and all while in the company of Buddha’s servants.

Above ground level, the views will take your breath away as the landscape proudly shows off its mountainous terrain. As you weave through hiking grounds blessed doused in nature’s beauty, one cannot help but act with acquiescence as you discover serene tropical nooks and tranquil waterfalls.


Luang Prabang is a place where sights, sounds and curiosity guide your adventure

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Journey down the Mighty Mekong

The Mekong is one of the world’s major rivers, weaving together the land and indigenous cultures of Tibet, southern China, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. It’s also one of the best ways to get around in Southeast Asia.

Mekong River Boat
In Laos, a journey down the Mekong is not a mere travel adventure pursuit. It’s an experience of daily life. Here in one of Asia’s poorest countries, many highways exist only in theory. The Mekong is often the sole

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Trekking in Laos, the Forgotten Land

Leaving behind overwhelming and often brusque China, we were delighted to find pure, green, untouched Laos awaiting us.

Laos is a forgotten land. Like most, I didn’t know much about it before setting foot in the country. I knew it was at one time French occupied and that it usually earns a fleeting spot on many Southeast Asia travelers’ itineraries.

I could tell, however, within the first moments of entering the country that is was a special place that would soon earn a top spot on my list.

Bamboo Hut, Luang Nam Tha, Laos

On the drive from the border I was awestruck by the natural beauty of the country. Lush forests blanket rolling hills dotted with stilted bamboo huts. Thick jungles tower over muddy rivers where hill tribe villagers call home. Pools of water reflect a vibrant blue sky in endless fields of palm-fringed rice paddies.

Dubbed the “Jewel of the Mekong,” we were soon discovering Laos was in fact one of the great jewels of Asia. Our first stop in Luang Nam Tha confirmed the notion.

Luang Nam Tha is a small town based at the foothills of the jungle-covered mountains. It’s considered the most ethnically diverse area in all of Laos based on the countless number of ethnic minorities inhabiting the surrounding mountains.

The combination of a privileged geographic location and strong ties to its tribal heritage has helped Luang Nam Tha become the ecotourism destination of the country.

The whole town is set along one paved road. It has a nice selection of cafes and restaurants to choose from as well as a lively night market serving up some of Laos’ spicy favorites.

It was here we were introduced to the laid-back SE Asia vibe, discovered the gentle, innocent charm of the Lao people and celebrated the fact that some French traditions – strong coffee and fresh baguettes – still live on.

Village Scene, Luang Nam Tha, Laos

The real adventure of Luang Nam Tha, however, lies along the paths in the hills beyond. We embarked on a one day, guided trek through the mountains. Our day began on the back of tuk-tuk (the name given to rickshaws all over Asia due to the sound of their churning motors), which dropped us off at a village along a river.

From here we met our guide and other members of our group – an Israeli and two Japanese guys. We crossed the river in a small boat and were then lead straight up the mountain.

The trek was certainly intense and gave me new-found admiration for the soldiers who fought in similar topography, not far from here, in the Vietnam War. Words can’t describe how thick and dense these jungles are.

Vines, branches, prickly leaves, monster-size ants and all kinds of creepy crawlers cover your body the moment you enter the jungle. The heat is stifling. It’s so dense you don’t know where to plant your feet and when you do the mountains are so steep you find yourself falling down more than standing up.

Buffalo Meat Lunch, Luang Nam Tha, Laos

At the top of the mountain it was time to reward ourselves. Here our guide prepared a feast. On the floor of the jungle, he built a fire to cook pieces of buffalo meat attached to bamboo sticks he’d picked up along the way.

On the dirt floor, he laid out a palm leaf to serve as our lunch table. He put out eggs and bean sprouts and spread dollops of green chili paste on the green palm leaf. When the meat was ready it was time to chow. He handed out what looked like tightly-wrapped presents, but what turned out to be sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves. We were told to open them up, use our hands and dig in. It was a true jungle experience.

With our tummies full of tough buffalo meat and spicy chilies, we made our way down the mountain to the river’s edge. Here we came upon a group of village children taking their daily bath in the river. As the sun began to set, we too dunked ourselves in for a swim. It was an idyllic way to end a memorable day in the pristine, feral jungle.

Source: roundwego 

Recommended tour:
Trek Ban Nam Lai Village, Luang Namtha
Challenging Trek Nam Ha, Luang Namtha

Friday, April 8, 2011

Rich Culture in Luang Prabang, Laos

Although Laos is an adventurer traveler’s dreams and is naturally stunning, one might be ready for a little luxury and culture.

That’s just what I needed, so after spending a day kayaking, trekking and riding elephants in outskirt Luang Prabang, I decided to let my travel companion train and play with elephants on her own while I spent a day exploring the culture and beauty of Luang Prabang ancient town as well as enjoy its tranquility.

Luang Prabang is a Unesco World Heritage Site; therefore there is a wonderful absence of the usual truck and bus congestion. This makes shopping and dining (loads of wonderful shops and restaurants) more enjoyable for all.

Luang Prabang, Laos

There are a number of Buddhist temples worthy of much more than a cursory glance. You will see a number of saffron-robed monks around the temples and city, most notably the Tak Bat. Each morning, the monks of Luang Prabang quietly pad down the cobblestone streets gathering rice and alms from locals and tourists alike – a must see if you can get up early enough.

Luang Prabang, once the seat of the Laotian Monarchy, boasts its own Royal Palace, which is now a museum. It is diverting to see how the royals lived, plus is inexpensive and is a quick tour – all good in my book. You can also check out interesting gifts from foreign dignitaries and some pretty sweet rides in the garage!

Just across from the palace is the trailhead to Phou Si Hill, a charming walk to the top (at just 325 feet) is dotted with shrines and temples, as well as some fowl and lovely foliage.

You won’t even notice how sweaty you have become once you see the breathtaking views of the Mekong and green hills that surround you. Wandering around, you will find temples, caves and numerous Buddha statues, even Buddha’s footprint. As there are many routes to get up and down, I recommend retreating down the back where you will come near a monastery.

I ended the day, tiring in its own rite, with a $5 Lao massage (similar to the Thai massage) and a cold drink on the main drag, giving me energy for the night market later.

Source: butofcoursetravel

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Travel Tips and advice from Active Travel Laos

After years of war and isolation, Southeast Asia’s most pristine environment, intact cultures and quite possibly the most chilled – out people on earth mean destination Laos is fast earning cult status among travelers. Active Travel Laos (http://www.activetravellaos.com) shows some travel tips and advice in Laos.

Vientiane, LaosVientiane, Laos

Laos is a country that offers plenty of challenging terrain, interesting sites and activities for the adventurous. You can kayak or go boating down the Mekong, trek through jungles atop an elephant, go exploring and even rock-climbing in limestone caves, hike mountains in search of remote and ancient temple ruins or camp out in wildlife conservation parks.

Below on this Laos Country Guide is some useful travel information for visitors contemplating a trip to Laos, including suggestions on where and when to go, visa requirements, money used, information about Laos food and drink as well as a handy Travellers' Dos and Don'ts list.

Traveller Dos and Don'ts

- Do dress modestly when entering temples, museums, official buildings and government offices; no shorts or sleeveless shirts, tank tops or beach wear. Shorts that cover the thighs are acceptable everywhere else. Be clean and neat in appearance whenever possible.

- Do like the locals and keep your sense of time flexible. Expecting punctuality will often lead to frustration.

- Do remove shoes when entering temples and homes (it is convenient to wear slip-ons or sandals).

- Don't point your feet towards people or Buddha images. When sitting in a temple, keep legs together and to the side in a mermaid position.

- Do consider leaving a small donation when visiting temples.

- Don't take pictures posing with Buddha images, handle, climb or sit on them.

- Don't, if you are a woman, touch monks, hand them objects, sit with or talk to them outside of temples. Any offerings need to pass through the hands of a man first.

- Do ask permission before taking pictures of people, particularly in villages outside the cities where the people may have superstitions against being photographed.

- Don't touch people or children on their heads.

- Don't lose your temper in public - speaking loudly and angrily is often counterproductive.

- Don't engage in public displays of affection.

- Do greet someone who is greeting you - by nop, handshake or a polite bow and smile - but don't offer a kiss!

- Do respect the Laos' interpersonal space - there is little physical contact or closeness between individuals who are not family.

- Don't be surprised if someone goes right past you to get to something first - Laos generally do not queue up for anything.

- Do bargain for goods in markets and shops (except where there are fixed prices) but do so with a good attitude and smile. Prices are generally not inordinately high to begin with as they may be in other Asian cities.

Luang Prabang, LaosLuang Prabang, Laos

Visas and Passports

Passports

Passport with at least six months remaining validity required by everyone who enters Laos.

Visas

Required by all nationals from the UK, Australia, Canada, USA and EU countries.

Visa requirements are subject to change and you should check with your embassy to check the latest visa requirements.

Visas on arrival are for 30 days for most nationalities and this can be extended a max of two times for up to 30 days each time.

The Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that visas can be issued upon arrival in Laos to tourists at the following ports of entry: Wattay Airport in Vientiane; Pakse and Luang Prabang Airports; Friendship Bridges in Vientiane and Savannakhet; and land-border crossings at Boten, Huay Xai and Chong Mek.

Visa Cost

Visa cost ranges from $20 (China) to $42 (Canada). Sweden is $31, $35 for the USA, UK and most of Europe, $40 for India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and $30 for Australia. The full list is on display at the Visa Application window.

Validity

All visas are issued for single entry and must be used within two months of date of issue.

Applications to: Consulate (or consular section at embassy) or an officially recognized tour operator. A visa valid for Laos can also be obtained from travel agencies in Bangkok (Thailand) or on arrival.

Active Travel Laos (http://www.activetravellaos.com) is member of ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA offers a wide selection of Laos adventure tours, including hiking and trekking, kayaking, biking, motorcycling, overland touring and family travel packages. The travel packages and custom itineraries will take travelers through exotic destinations to really experience the culture, history and nature of Laos.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wild Adventure Vacation Tips In Laos

Laos is a must trip if you should be on vacation in this exotic part of Asia. If you are looking for an adventure too, then these vacation tips will point you in the right direction.

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

It may be true that traveling to Laos is nothing less than an endurance test - but a beautiful, unspoiled wildlife and a sprinkling of exquisite temples should make the trip worth it. With its exciting terrain, well preserved natural ecosystems and numerous waterways, Laos is now emerging as a premier outdoor adventure destination in this part of Asia.

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

Notably the French cuisine is the most popular among restaurants catering for tourists and lots of delicious Thai and Vietnamese dishes as well. Laotian cuisine should not be missed, as neighboring Thailand is also generous in its portion of curry and fresh ingredients that will leave you wanting more ... that is, if it\'s your type of food.

Must be careful with how much money you take with you. ATMs are not readily available outside of Laos\' biggest cities. Credit will not help you either since it is only accepted by a small number of companies. If you have some Thai baht back from a Thailand visit, spend it in Laos because it is very welcome.

You are most likely to land in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. Do not hurry to the next more exotic city because Vientiane is a gem waiting to be discovered. It is a quaint and charming city that has exquisite temples and stupas. Note the remarkable influence of the French in this city\'s architecture and cuisine. Take a leisurely stroll along the well laid out streets in Vientiane.

From Vientiane, continue to Luang Prabang along the banks of the Mekong River. It is a picturesque and colorful city with the many orange-robed monks and countless temples that adorn the city.

Do not miss an exciting river cruise that takes you to an adventurous trip that will showcase the picturesque montage of local life along the riverbank.

Do not miss the Nam Ha protected area located in northern Laos. For a more exciting way to travel to the Nam Ha, take a short detour to the town of Luang Namtha and take a boat trip to the Nam Ha. This will allow you to catch a glimpse of many birds, and reptiles along the banks of the river and surrounded by a thick jungle of blooming flora and fauna.

Nam Ha Protected Site offers numerous opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts eager for some adventure. Trekking is best in this area with its exciting terrain, abundant wildlife and breathtaking panoramas. Along the way, watch out for small waterfalls where you can rest your feet and cool off in the crystal clear waters. Notice where you are going and follow your guide\'s instructions on safe and unsafe areas to the letter. UXOs or small bombs are still present in some areas, so be sure not to remove them.

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

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Travel to Laos with Viajes Laos Agents

Many visitors to South East Asia miss Laos out in favor of the more widespread locations of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Viajes Laos (http://www.laosviajes.net) suggests the travel destinations in Laos.

It may be true that traveling to Laos is nothing lower than an endurance test – however a ravishing, unspoiled wildlife and a sprinkling of beautiful temples ought to make the trip value it. With its exciting terrain, properly preserved natural ecosystems and numerous waterways, Laos is now emerging as a premier outdoor journey destination on this part of Asia.

VientianeVientiane, Laos

Top of the line things about Viajes Laos (http://www.laosviajes.net), other than its rugged beauty and natural sights, is the low cost of accommodation, food and transportation. Your dollars will take you a good distance back and forth. It may not have such world-class cuisine as its neighboring countries, however it is not unattainable to seek out culinary delights in a lot of its cities.

Notably the French delicacies is the most well-liked amongst eating places catering for vacationers and many scrumptious Thai and Vietnamese dishes as well. Laotian cuisine should not be missed, as neighboring Thailand can also be generous in its portion of curry and recent substances that can depart you wanting more… that’s, if it is your type of food.

Should be cautious with how a lot money you are taking with you. ATMs usually are not available exterior of Laos’ biggest cities. Credit score will not show you how to both since it is only accepted by a small number of companies. You probably have some Thai baht back from a Thailand go to, spend it in Laos as a result of it is vitally welcome.

You might be probably to land in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. Don’t hurry to the subsequent extra unique city because Vientiane is a gem ready to be discovered. It is a quaint and charming metropolis that has exquisite temples and stupas. Note the outstanding affect of the French on this city’s architecture and cuisine. Take a leisurely stroll along the well laid out streets in Vientiane.

From Vientiane, continue to Luang Prabang alongside the banks of the Mekong River. It’s a picturesque and colourful city with the numerous orange-robed monks and countless temples that adorn the city.

Luang Prabang, LaosLuang Prabang, Laos

Don’t miss a thrilling river cruise that takes you to an adventurous journey that can showcase the picturesque montage of native life alongside the riverbank.

Don’t miss the Nam Ha protected area located in northern Laos. For a more thrilling option to Viajes Laos, take a brief detour to the town of Luang Namtha and take a ship trip to the Nam Ha. This may will let you catch a glimpse of many birds, and reptiles alongside the banks of the river and surrounded by a thick jungle of blooming flora and fauna.

Nam Ha Protected Website offers numerous alternatives for out of doors fanatics longing for some adventure. Trekking is greatest on this area with its exciting terrain, considerable wildlife and breathtaking panoramas. Along the way in which, watch out for small waterfalls where you’ll be able to relaxation your feet and funky off in the crystal clear waters. Notice the place you’re going and comply with your guide’s directions on safe and unsafe areas to the letter. UXOs or small bombs are still present in some areas, so be certain to not take away them.