Friday, May 15, 2015

Explore Laos by 17 Great Experiences

Foot in the country of thousands elephants, travelers will have opportunities to enjoy yummy cuisine and explore hot destinations like Angkor Wat, Plain of Jars…
Here are 17 remarkable experiences travelers should try as reaching Laos.

1. Boat on Mekong river
Mekong river flows throughout Laos, the sole country in Southeast Asia does not have coastline. The river not only supplies water but also rich aquatic products for the country. In Laos, nothing is more interesting than a boat trip on Mekong river to admire glorious sunset scenery down this mighty stream.

2. Discover Phongsali
Phongsali is the northernmost province of Laos. Just because it has not been affected by tourism or commercial activities, travelers can satisfactorily discover untouched beauty of the locals as well as the forests here. 

With a Phongsali trekking tour, the trip will be more striking.

Discover Phongsali
Ahka woman in Banyo market - Phongsali 

3. Explore Xieng Khouang
Plain of Jars (belongs to Phonsavan & Xieng Khouang province, Laos) has thousands of ancient stone jars lying scattered along paddy fields of Xieng Khouang plateau. Archaeologists supposed that this was the vestige of an ancient civilization. However, many mysteries remain unclear.

4. Admire waterfalls in Bolaven plateau
Bolaven plateau is in Champasak province of southern Laos. It is located in an ancient volcano that erupted millions of years ago. This is the land of numerous beautiful waterfalls hidden in deep jungles. The falls are highly imposing, spreading widely and having many floors and layers with alluvium currents flowing extremely intensely in the flood season. Adjacent the falls, there are the forests of century-old trees still kept intact, which are splendid locations for rest.

Among waterfalls. Tad Fane twin-fall is the most bizarre. By trekking in Dong Hua Sao, travelers will be admired it.

5. Reveal ancient capital Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is located in northern Laos, which used to be the capital of Laos Kingdom. It was recognized as a Cultural Heritage of the World by UNESCO. Not only a Buddhism center, Luang Prabang is also an incredible city where has a lot of relax and entertainment places. In this city, travelers can take funny trekking trips to Pha Don Golden Mountain, Pha Thueang or Pak Ou.

6. Enjoy Laotian cuisine
As a nation in Southeast Asia, the typical feature in Laotian cuisine is using a lot of spices. Travelers can enjoy various delicious dishes. Don't miss the excellent BeerLao. 

7. Backpack to Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng became a very familiar place name to many backpackers whenever mentioning Laos. This destination is absolutely appropriate for adventures thanks to its plenty of limestone-mountains and caves. Don't forget the name Tham Phu Kham, the best stunning cave in Vang Vieng.

8. Walk through jungles
Laos, the country is covered with many dense forests, is an ideal destination for adventurers who love crossing over jungles to challenge themselves. Also by overcoming long hard trails in jungles, travelers can explore remote and secluded hamlets as well as unique customs.

9. Downstream Nam Ou river
Apart from Mekong, Nam Ou is also the most important river in Laos. The head-water of Nam Ou starts from Phongsaly, running over the areas having the best breathtaking scenery in the country such as Pak Ou cave.

Nam Ou river

10. Shopping in Shavannakhet
Shavannakhet is well-known for masses of stores which are old French in style. This city is truly a wonderful destination for shopaholics.

11. Contemplate sunset in That Luang
That Luang is one of the most significant religious constructions in Laos. The finest time to sightsee That Luang is sundown as final sunbeams of a day shine in the sharp tops of the towers and make them have a magnificent yellow.

12. Relax in Si Phan Don
Si Phan Don in Laotian means 4000 islands. It belongs to Champasak province of southern Laos, lying very closely to the border with Cambodia. This region focuses a lot of fishing villages, which are peaceful places really relevant for travelers to relax.

13. Reach Wat Phou
Wat Phou or Mountain Temple is a heritage ensemble of Khmer shrines in southern Laos. This antique relic includes many temples and old pagodas which has the date from 6th century to 12th century.
Wat Phou - Laos

14. Steam-bath and massage
In Laos, the traditional massage accompanying steam-bath is the best therapy to soothe body after a long journey of trekking through jungles or tough walking to discover. The mixtures of vegetation or tea in steam-bath rooms is just the successful secret of this therapy. 

15. Visit Wat Xeng Thong pagoda
Located in the confluence of Nam Khan river and Mekong river, Wat Xeng Thong is one of the oldest and most substantial pagoda in Luang Prabang city.

16. Learn about embroidering and weaving arts
Reaching Laos, travelers will be extremely enjoyable to contemplate handmade embroidering and weaving products of craftsmen. Every tribe also has their own characteristic features shown on each their craft product that makes them become many small and lovely souvenirs.

17. Relax in Nong Khiaw
Located in the middle stream of Nam Ou river, Nong Khiaw is a great place for travelers to rest, sleep on a hammock or row kayak to reveal surrounding areas.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Live Slowly in Si Phan Don

On adventures in Laos to untouched areas, Si Phan Don is considered as a peaceful destination to escape from city’s noise and busy life. 

As a countryside area, Si Phan Don reveals with idyllic scenery of red soil paths, rustling green bamboo ramparts, and children back to home from school loquacious on small lanes beside Mekong river. The river has its widest part of nearly 14 km in just this area along with thousands of diverse-shaped-river-islets. From Pakse to Si Phan Don, it takes 2 hours by car to reach the river side.

travel to Si Phan Done - Laos

Si Phan Don in Laotian means “4000 islands”, half of these thousands of islands are submerged on the flood season. Two islands of Don Det and Don Khon are connected each other by an old bridge which was constructed since French colonial period. Today, the bridge is just only for walking, biking, and sometimes motorcycling.

cycling on Don Det - Don Khon bridge

Travelers may be overwhelmed before the entire water space. Water is everywhere. Charming beauty of the green river is more lyrical as sunset goes down, the time that stocks’ wings appear intermittently somewhere then wedge into low groves.

So wonderful to enjoy peaceful and graceful scenes of late afternoon. The air is cool by agreeable fragrance of wild flowers and fresh grass. Some buffaloes saunter on tiny islands and leisurely graze. It is easy to hear sound of beating clothes into water and rinsing from corners of the dam. Children play and wade in cool water with plashing noise. The islands is oddly overran by dogs and cats roaming everywhere. They are friendly, sweet and mostly clean.

In Don Khon, there is only a rough soil trail throughout from tip to tip. A number of rustic and casual stilt houses with jiggling hammocks at the front and old swings still standing at the corner of the garden. Here, it is lack of water and electricity. Electricity is usually cut from 1p.m. When night falls, mosquitoes and insects rumble. Most of the dwellings are houses in stilt with thatching roof and bamboo wall. What a great place for travelers to stay away from the modern, bustling life and immerse in an authentic life!

Si Phan Don village
The most exciting experience in Si Phan Don is pedaling around through islands and serene villages, feeling incessant winds, drifting over countless lush green paddles with scent of soil and rice filling the space, and being lost in ravishing ancient lagerstroemia forests at the end of the trail. Sometimes, cyclists can encounter thoughtful fishing-robs looking anxiously down the powerful stream, boys or girls on creaking hammocks who are dreaming gentle dreams while open books are still on their hands. Let kindly make funny conversations with the residents to get a glimpse of the local life.

In this secluded place among thousands of islet and an immense river, travelers can drop in an elegant French restaurant, a simple Italian food stall on riverside or just a noodle stall which is Laotian in style. Prices are quite reasonable.

Strolling at early morning, travelers can easily see the familiar image of this Buddha country. Monks in orange costumes walk on roads with bare foot to ask for alms.  Travelers should offer them some frugal food like indigenous people. Indulgent monks walk silently on small path then return pagodas of curved roofs nestling closely forest that overlook the mighty river. 

Boating Si Phan Don
On a small boat wriggling deliberately over islands, travelers can discover beautiful Khone Phapheng waterfall, which has many rapids and vortexes. It is the greatest fall in Southeast Asia that has made waterway traffic nearly impossible in this river section. Just Khone Phapheng fall has blocked upstream of Irrawaddy dolphins. Roaming sound of the fall pouring down is successively thunderous. Here, there is a wide sandy ground in the side of Mekong river like a beach, which is the habit of smart Irrawaddy dolphins. Therefore, it is called as “Dolphin Beach”.