Laos - Overall Summary

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Laos - Overall Summary Reviews

Tannith Tannith
45 reviews
Laos - Overall Summary Mar 22, 2008
Laos is relaxed and friendly and apparently still quite surprised at the increasing tourism that has, as yet, mostly left the landscape and the people unchanged. The north is dusty and warm, the south is steamy and hot. The people are the real beauty here; children shout hello from their houses and run to the road waving and yelling and reaching to touch you, bare-foot beauties walk the dirt roads with bundles on their heads also smiling and willing to greet you. You can’t fail to get a lot of good feeling here get from sharing a smile and a giggle with someone who doesn’t share your language. It’s nice to feel so comfortable, so relaxed and so welcome, especially if you have been in more stressful Asian countries where the vibe is less positive or welcome.

There are several World Heritage sites in Laos – Luang Prabang is particularly beautiful and quaint. Vang Vieng and Don Det are probably the most touristy places, and if you are looking for a more authentic experience then give these places a wide berth and seek the experiences that make them famous (tubing and the beach on the Mekong) somewhere else (there ARE other places to tube, and other beaches). I cleaned my teeth with the water, used ice cubes, drank the milk, cream and ate ice cream and was fine. The only downside is the Hover WCS and no WC paper (carry it always!) but you’ll doubtless arrive through another Asian country to get there so you should be used to it by then. $1 = 8800 kip (some people will tell you 8000 kip – don’t believe them or check properly before you go). Get rid of your kip before you leave the country (but not at the border where you’ll get a rubbish exchange rate) or no one will ever exchange it!

If/when I return I will spend more time in Vang Vieng, explore Vientiene properly, travel to some of the more Northern regions beyond Vientiene, and spend more time exploring the southern islands, especially Don Det.
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