Laos is a diverse country with breathtaking waterfalls, mountains, and temples. It has historical wonders, natural wonders, and friendly people, everything you might desire in a tourist destination. However, some people doubt the viability of Laos as a tourist destination because it is often lost in the noise that surrounds neighboring countries like Vietnam and Cambodia.
So what is special about Laos? If it is truly as breathtaking as everyone claims, what should you do once you travel in the country?
The fact that Laos is landlocked means that it doesn’t have much in the way of sandy beaches and crystal clear azure waters. But it more than makes up for its lack of beaches with the following sites, activities and adventuring opportunities:
Luang Prabang is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. There is a lot of history in this town with its dozens of temples and monasteries and charming buildings that still boast the French colonial architecture. There is simply so much to see and experience. The robed monks collecting alms in the morning are merely a bonus.
That Ing Hang Stupa
Buddhism is revered in Laos, and few other places manifest this reverence as vividly as this 9-meter tall tower.
This is a sacred stupa and reportedly the burial site for one of Buddha’s bones. It is an important place for Buddhists and is registered as a National Treasure of Lao.
You should dress appropriately. Women, in particular, are expected to keep their shoulders and knees covered. In some cases, they might be required to invest in some traditional garb.
Even if you care nothing for the Buddhist religion, you will appreciate the historical importance of the tower which was built about 500 years ago. And once you are done gawking, there are lotus flowers and coconuts being sold in the area.
Pha That Luang
If you see Pha That Luang looks familiar, that is because it is the country’s official seal. So you have probably seen it on some Laos literature. That Luang is a monument with the façade of a fortress on the outside and temples on the inside.
It is quite an impressive sight with its gold leaf and high walls. It isn’t that hard to understand why Laos chose it as the national symbol.
Vat Phou is a temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located at the base of the Phou Kao Mountain in Champasak province.
On its own, the temple is quite beautiful. But you can also explore the surrounding terrain which includes a verdant jungle. The Mekong River is also close by, not to mention a natural spring.
Once you venture into the temple, you will discover that it has a museum featuring the statues of Laos’ most prominent deities.
Four hours to go from Vientiane, but the reward makes the journey worth it.
Vang Vieng is quite rugged. Forget all the stories you used to hear about the hedonistic parties that were perpetrated in this area. Vang Vieng is an adventurer’s paradise like mountains, caves, and cliffs, everything the average backpacker needs to have a great time. The Nam Song River encourages tubing. You also get a scenic little town with a few amenities that should appeal to anyone looking for a taste of urban life.
The Plain of Jars
The Plain of Jars in Xiengkhouang has sandstone and granite jars planted in the ground. They are believed to have been carved over two millennia ago. No one knows who carved them or why.
For that reason, they have become the country’s most enigmatic attraction, raising questions about the civilization that came before.
The Siamese occupation back in 1828 brought a lot of destruction. It did not do the capital any favors. The only temple to survive that turmoil is Wat Si Saket. It is a beautiful structure with intriguing architecture.
There are over ten thousand Buddha statues and sculptures scattered throughout, dating back centuries. Along with seven thousand bronze, stone, and wood images, not to mention a drum tower, Wat Si Saket is a historical and architectural marvel. And it is just one attraction among many more that Laos has to offer, this including the Bolaven Plateau and Tad Fane Waterfall.
With the new eVisa launching, you just sit back, relax, and start planning for your vacation. Think about all the places you will visit and all the things you will do once you arrive in this beautiful country.