Read More About Laos on GoNOMAD
This stunning, landlocked country is often overlooked by many travelers, standing in the shadows of its neighboring countries like Thailand or Cambodia. The environment is still very pristine, and outside of town you probably won’t run into any other tourists.
When I arrived in Vientiane, the capitol of Laos, I hunted for a hostel on foot; the city center is small, so it wasn't difficult, even with my huge pack. I paid 40,000 Laos Kips for a clean room with hot water (don’t be fooled, that’s about the price of a Starbucks latte).
That night I saw the most beautiful sunset of my life, all brilliant pinks and oranges on the Mekong River, where fishermen were casting their nets for the final time. It was the first time in my life I'd noticed the sun both rise and set in the same day, and it felt good.
The next day I rented a bicycle and rode to the outskirts of the town, where I came across some temple grounds. I saw saffron-colored monks robes drying between trees in the sun, and ended up having a conversation with one of the monks-in-training. Read more...
Laos is a beautiful country; unlike neighboring Thailand, it remains relatively unspoiled by tourism and development. The people are warm and friendly, and genuinely pleased to welcome you into their country and into their homes.
Despite its diminutive size, Laos is bursting at the seams with incredible sights and experiences: there is literally something for everyone.
The women in the Ban Hai village meet to discuss textile designs, marketing and pricing.
Bun Bang Fai: The Rocket Festival of Laos and Thailand
While farmers and politicians across Australia battle it out over water allocations, in Southeast Asia, Thais and Laotians are preparing to embrace their water shortages in a style all of their own.
Dating back to pre-Buddhist times the Bun Bang Fai (Rocket Festival), held around the May full moon, is traditionally based on the notion that launching bamboo rockets skyward will initiate the rainy season and bring much needed relief to the country's rice fields.
Popular in Thailand’s northeastern Isan province and around the Laos capital of Vientiane, the event continues to maintain a rich cultural significance.
Testament to this is a 3,000-word poem based around the event being translated into the English language and designated as supplementary secondary school reading by the Thai Ministry of Education.
While respecting the event's traditions, today’s Thais and Laotians embrace the festival with their tongue firmly in their cheek. Read more...
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