Your comprehensive travel guide to Laos - All in one place!
Picturesque Laos is one of the most beautiful countries in Southeast Asia, but one of the least visited. Vientiane is the charming capital of Laos, which still seems like a small town with historical charm. If you are looking for a peaceful place in the heart of Laos, then head to Luang Prabang. The city is located on the powerful Mekong and Khan rivers. One of the main reasons for visiting Van Vieng is the breathtaking steep along the Nam Son River, where you can simultaneously admire the lush landscapes of the jungle. You can also visit the smaller and more peaceful island of Don Khong if you really want to be distracted from the outside world in Laos.
History and Government
Laos – Lao Democratic Republic - state in Southeast Asia without entrance to the sea. Its capital is Vientiane. Mon and Khmer tribes settled in Laos and formed their states before the invasion from the north of the Thai and Lao tribes, which were driven south from South China by the Mongols. In Laos, a one-party system, the governing of the country is carried out by the Communist Party of Laos. The President of Laos is elected by Parliament for five years.
Geography and Surroundings
Laos is located in Southeast Asia. Two-thirds of its territory Laos is covered with dense forests, the landscape consists of low hills and mountains, the largest peak, Bia, is 2820 meters high. The Mekong River flows along the border of Laos with Thailand and Myanmar, the border with Vietnam is divided by the mountains of Cheongshon, which extend in the half part of the country. In the central part of Laos is separated from Thailand by the Luang Prabang mountains. The tropical climate is characterized by dividing the year into two seasons - a summer rainy monsoon period from May to November, and a winter dry period from December to April. There are no major cities in Laos, the capital Vientiane has no more than 200 thousand inhabitants.
Culture and Customs
Lao artists are famous for their amazing creations, mostly sculptures. In addition to gold and silver, bronze is widely used to create wonderful archaeological sculptures. Lao Buddhist sculptures can be found in the area of Pak U caves, which attract many tourists. The traditional outfit of a Lao woman is called “phaa sin” - it is a silk or cotton fabric wrapped around a skirt. Laos has World Heritage sites such as the city of Luang Prabang and the ruins of Wat Phu, very popular among travelers. Lao folk music in the local language is called “lam”, it is performed using the “khene” musical instrument, which is also used in Thailand.
Food and Drinks
Lao cuisine is spicy, aromatic and savory. It has a lot of meat, soups, noodles and, of course, rice. The famous sticky Lao rice is served with almost any dish. Sauces, fish, chili and soya give a specific taste to the local cuisine. As for the rules of table etiquette, the Lao themselves usually eat with their hands. The exceptions are soup (spoons) and noodles (chopsticks). Lao drinks differ from drinks from other countries on the Indochina Peninsula and its neighbors, and also have their own peculiarity. Lao Lao is one of the cheapest alcoholic drinks in the world. A tourist coming here will be amazed with the variety of handmade bottles and the shocking price in the local market.
Festivals and Events
Most local festivities begin on a full moon day. In January, Tet (Chinese New Year) and Bun Pha Vet are celebrated - a celebration of the incarnation of King Vessantara as a Buddha (floating date). February is marked by the festivities of Makha Puja in honor of the first sermon of the Buddha - “Owada Patimoka”, as well as the religious holidays of Sikhottabong and WatPu. In March, nationwide, with parades and numerous cultural events, celebrates International Women's Day, as well as Laos People’s Day ( national holiday) and Bun KhonKhao - the local Thanksgiving. In April, Bun Pimai or Pi Mai, the traditional Lao New Year, deserve attention.
Best Time to Visit
Laos has an equatorial subtropical climate. It is a mountainous country, and where cities and settlements are located higher, it can be cool. The hot period lasts from March to the end of April, the air temperature in some regions reaches + 40 ° C. The time when it will be cheaper to fly to Laos is precisely for these months. But from May to October there is a rainy season. Sometimes it does not rain for many days, especially when it comes to May or the second half of September and October. This is the time when it is better to relax in Laos, if you want to see the riot of nature and colors.
Tips for Travelling in Laos
Laos is a fairly safe country. Traveling around the country is usually safe; certain security measures should be taken only when travelling along the Cambodian border. Laos is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. The flows of tourists begin right at the border crossings when tourists are required to pay for each stamp and other fictional services. Medicine in Laos is very poorly developed, there are no serious hospitals. In case of serious illnesses, you will have to go to a neighboring country, best of all to Thailand. There are no direct flights from Russia to Laos. However, getting to it is not very difficult and expensive. Laos has several international airports, but most popular for travelers are Wattay International Airport in Vientiane and Luang Prabang International Airport in LuangPrabang.