We only got to visit Vientiane and Luang Prabang in Laos, however it was a good way to get a glimpse of the country and as a pretty underrated country, I’ll definitely be back at some stage! The nature and landscapes are out of the world and it’s a beautiful place in general.
Vientiane is the capital of Laos and is right near the border of Thailand. Most travellers come here to do their “visa run” and then head back to Thailand. However, the capital is still charming with it’s French colonial feel and the food is meant to be some of the best in Laos as it combines with other Asian influences (Vietnamese and Thai).
We grabbed lunch nearby our hostel and we had fried spring rolls and laap which is a traditional Laos minced meat salad. We checked out the Patuxai monument which is the “Arc de Triomphe” of Vientiane and walked to That Dam (black pagoda) and the surrounding temples.
For dinner, we went to a street market and had delicious papaya salad, grilled chicken, Laos sausage and sticky rice. So cheap and so good!
The next morning, we headed to Luang Prabang by bus. The infrastructure is lacking and the dirt roads made the 10 hour bus ride to Luang Prabang fairly uncomfortable. Add in windy roads up mountains and a local Lao lady vomitting on the bus and you can imagine how fun the ride actually was.
Luang Prabang is the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a sleepy town located in the centre of Laos. We stayed on the riverside and explored the city mainly by foot. We crossed the bamboo bridge on the Mekong, went up Mount Phousi to see the view of the city and saw the many temples in the city. We saw the Alms Ceremony, which is known to be a sacred Lao tradition, at sunrise where Buddhist monks come out to gather their meals for the day. We also ate a lot – we devoured a buffet for only $1.50 at the night markets and ate at many of the street stalls which are scattered around the city.
The next day, we got a tuk tuk to Kouang Si Waterfalls. It is 25km outside the city and takes about 50 minutes by car or tuk tuk. The drive is through the countryside which is quite scenic. It is 20,000 kip entry but worth it as they were one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen. We went swimming and we were basically the only ones there for 2 hours which was amazing. The tiered turquoise blue pools are simply breathtaking! We also walked to the top of the waterfalls and had to walk through thick forest. This is a MUST go when in Laos, it was a real highlight of my trip.
We spent Christmas Day bike riding, swimming in waterfalls and kayaking. We rode 15km through the countryside and it was very enjoyable as there wasn’t many hills and it was very serene. We cycled to the river where we kayaked to Tad Sae Waterfalls and went swimming and had lunch. We kayaked along the Mekong for another 2 hours after and headed back to Luang Prabang.
In the evening, we went to Lao Lao Garden and met up with Lizzy (who we met in our hostel at Vientiane) and had the Laos BBQ which consisted of 3 different meats, various vegetables and noodles plus egg – it was delicious and only 55,000 kip ($10) between the three of us! We went to a few other bars around the area including Hive Bar but to be honest, the nightlife is lacking here so we called it a night.
Thanks Laos, it was a blast!