Once known as Thailand’s isolated neighbour, Laos is home to some of South East Asia’s most pristine environments, kept this way thanks to the country’s isolation during years of war – there is so much to see and do on a holiday to Laos. The historic Royal city of Luang Prabang is the cultural capital of the country, whilst the Pakou caves, filled as they are with statues of the Buddha are enchanting and mysterious, and the Lao countryside is simply divine, with lost cave systems reaching deep underground, breathtaking waterfalls descending over the thick vegetation of the mountains and rustic villages dotted inbetween.
Laos – A quick view
Time difference: GMT +7 Hours
Flight time: Approx 12 hours
Visa Required: On arrival for British passport holders
Currency: Lao Kip
Tel Code: +856
Population: 6.77 million (approx)
Official Language: Laos
Recommended Airlines: Vietnam Airlines, Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways.
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GRAND INDO CHINA
from EUR €3199pp
Tour Highlights Your full day city tour will include entrance to the Royal Palace….
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WONDERS OF INDO CHINA
from EUR €2799pp
Tour Highlights Visit to cu Chi Tunnel, Cruise Mekong Delta and visit local market ….
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When to go
Laos is often overlooked in favour of it’s more popular neighbours, but as the word spreads, landlocked Laos is beginning to see a larger footfall each year, but for now – the country still retains its old-fashioned, small world charm – with laid back villages and friendly people at its heart. There has never been a better time to visit Laos than now. When planning your journey we suggest a minimum of 1 – 2 weeks to make your way around the northern cities of Vientiane and Luang Prabang to the raw south of the country – home to beautiful attractions such as Wat Phu and the islands of Don khong and Don Det. Head to the banks of the Mekong river which runs the length of the country, and use it as a guide to exploration.
The way you dress on you Laos holiday is mostly down to how and when you travel. We suggest dressing light; though do dress respectably when visiting temples and other religious sites. If you’re visiting Luang Prabang and the north during December – January then we suggest taking some warmer clothing as the nights can often get cold, and always take something waterproof when visiting during the rainy season (May to October). Though keep in mind that temperatures remain around 30°C so even though it rains – the climate is still tropical.
Like much of south east Asia, Laos plays host to many festivals throughout the year – some of the best include Bun Nam (water festival) in early december – celebrated in river towns such Luang Prabang and Savannakhet, Boun Bang Fai (rocket festival) which along with street parades and parties, culminates with the launching of homemade bamboo rockets into the skies to invite the rain – a ceremony which has its roots in pre-buddhist rain-evoking ceremonies, and finally Boun Pimai (Lao new year) in mid April, which is celebrated much the same as Thailand’s Songkran festival – with parades and water pouring (or enthusiastic throwing as is often the case) ceremonies.
Points to ponder
Visit a traditional handicrafts village. Head to Ban Phanom village where you can see weavers craft silk tablecloths and other goods – most of which are sold on the night market in Luang Prabang, and you can even buy directly from the villages should you wish.
Do something a little different. You can do almost anything in Laos, whether your preference is history, food, culture, religion, trekking or mountaineering, but there is a range of more obscure things too. If you enjoy lazing away in the water a drink to hand, then perhaps a visit to the river in Vang Vieng is in order. There you can ride the river on tubes amidst stunning mountain scenery while taking a sip of a Beerlao (rice beer from Lao) or for the adventurous types, the Dong Hung Sao national park is so well hidden that visitors must Zipline their way into it, past waterfalls and through dense jungle trees.