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Laos in Four Words

The quiet lifestyle of Laotian captivated me, allowed me the opportunities to slow down and take a real look at people and culture here. There are certain words to define my experience in this land-locked country. In four adjectives of FRIENDLY, PROUD, UNIQUE & UNKNOWN, Laos is appearing in your eyes.

1. FRIENDLY

There are no thriving metropolises. Laos is well-known as the “Land of Smiles”. I’ve been in Laos and I loved every moment of it. Laos is one of those special places where there doesn’t seem to be a distance/ barrier between visitors and locals. Lao people put me in touch with a simpler way of living and traveling, and I’m immediately made to feel a part of it. This country is a snapshot of life without any disturbtion. I am not woken up each morning by car horns, but by crowing roosters. People here don’t sit in cafes with facing to laptops; they go to open-air restaurants and chat to each other. I met a lot of terrific visitors here and interacted with many young monks. In my mind at that time, it was very difficult for me to chat with them as their solidity. But their smiles and well-educated gestures inspired me a lot. It seemed that I was at my home town; it was not a strange travel destination at all! If someone asks me to paint the picture of Laos, friendly Lao people are the first thing comes into my mind.

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The "land of smiles" through the lens of a traveler

2. PROUD

To contribute the charming of Laos, ancient Lao temples listed on the top. No doubt that these old-time temples are always proud of this land-locked country. Before featuring the highlight of ancestral temples in Laos that make Laotian proud, keep in your mind that “Wat” or”Vat” means temples monastery in Laos. As the great majority of Laos people are Buddhist, the temple plays an important part in the everyday life of Laotian. Most of the magnificent temples were built for long time ago: Vat Phou in Champasak, Wat Xieng Thong & Wat Mai Sowannaphummaham in Luang Prabang and Pha That Luang in Vientiane. Located in Vientiane, Pha That Luang (the great stupa in Lao) is one of the most important monuments in Laos. The stupa has several terraces with each level representing a different stage of Buddhist enlightenment. Luang Prabang has more than sixty temples and is well known for this pious devotion. But it’s also a source of pride for the residents, who take great care in maintaining them and sharing them with foreigners. Temples in Laos can be an enchanting backdrop with the main activity, especially the daily morning alms. The most awe-inspiring part of visiting Vat Phou were the carvings, cut deep into the stone. The particular lintel, hovering over the top of a doorway was thrilling. It is truly a majestic masterpiece of intricate craftsmanship. The most magnificent sights of Laos are temples. From many time, Laos attracts more visitors because of both the untouched destinations and the charming places. Each step in the land-locked of Laos is already a journey to discover the ancient temples in each chapter of a long history that Laotian proudly introduces to international travelers.

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Wat Xieng Thong - the pride of Laotian

3. UNIQUE

If you are the first-time visitors to Southeast Asia, you may not have discovered the distinguishing features of Lao cuisine. Combine your passion for food and love for travel to find the exclusive culinary tour in Laos, know more about Laos’ world famous foods, as you explore the landscape, meet the people and delve into the history of the country- finding inspiration in the favorite local dishes. The simple and natural ingredients with fragrances including galangal, lemongrass, kaffir, ginger, tamarind and coriander, Lao cuisine is more noticeably to Khmer food. Laotian food is very rich in vegetables and coconut oil. Everywhere you go, ask locals or expats what they though no visitor to Laos should live without trying, they surely mention at least 6 unique dishes: Klao niaw (sticky rice), lap (meat salad), tam mak houng (papaya salat), oh lam (stew), sai oua (chicken/meat stuffed lemongrass) and French-inspired food.

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Chicken stuffed lemongrass - the Lao traditional dish 

4. UNKNOWN

Laos is a country as yet pristine by the modern demands, stress and peace of life. Its beauty lies in the Laotian, century-old culture and heritage, and also untouched destinations. Away from the cities, there is so much more to see that we call it the untouched destinations. The Plain of Jars in Xieng Khouang Province, the forests mountains of Northern Laos, the gothic limestone karsts around back-packer heaven of Vang Vieng. Deep to the South, pass the local market town of Pakse or pay a visit to Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands) where the Mekong River spreads out and take the hammocks.

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Plain of Jars in Xieng Khoang Province - the never-ending mysteries to discover

Not only unspoiled places but also the primitive wilderness draw visitors’ attention, for both nature and adventure enthusiasts. Kayaking, rafting, rock-climbing and biking are all available, but it’s the community-based trekking that is most popular because it combines spectacular natural attractions with the chance to experience the “sense of Laos” by doing a home-stay with Laotians. These four words are not enough to describe the charming Laos. The never-ending discovery in Laos inspires your footprint to reach this hidden destination. “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru.

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