Discovering The Untouched Beauty of Laos

Laos is known for its attractive sights, mountains, and coffee but there are still a lot of things to do and see when visiting this country in Asia.  The Vieng Xai caves are an extensive network of caves that were use as a place to live during the Vietnam War.  The present government hopes to promote this miniature city cave like the Cu Chi tunnels of Vietnam.  City Stupa (Pha That Luang) is one of the beautiful and significant monuments in Laos.  The stupa resembles terraces that go up.  This was smashed during the Siamese invasion in 1828 but was later rebuilt by the French in 1931.

Si Phan Don is composed of 4,000 beautiful islands set along the Mekong river.  Khone Falls has various rapids which stretch along the rivers of these islands.  Vang Vieng has a picturesque riverside town.  The dramatic landscape is what makes this town postcard picture perfect.  Laos has its version of the Arc De Triomphe in Paris with its Patuxai.  The difference between these two is that Patuxai boasts of four archways as oppose to the two archways of the Arc De Triomphe.  That Dam was once coated with gold but was pillaged by the people of Siam (Ancient Thailand).  After this, the stupa was never reconstructed and has remained “black” as a reminder.

Wat Sok Pa Luang in Vientiane, Laos is famous for its herbal saunas and expert masseuse.  The masseuses are a lay person who live in this temple.  Guests are adviced to allow at least 2 to 3 hours of relaxation to allow the perspiration to soak into the skin’s pores.  Luang Nam Tha might just be the best stop over point when taking a backpacking trail from China to Laos.  Tourist can take an eco tour of this place.  A visit to the Luang Nam Tha museum will reveal several local anthropological artifacts such as ethnic clothing, Khamu bronze drums and ceramics.

Taking a bicycle ride can be the most ideal way of exploring the wats (temples), waterfalls, and other landscapes that Luang Nam Tha is famous for.  Panfa Art is where tourist and locals can shop for stunning scarves and wall hangings made from raw silk.  Manychan Guest House is the most popular place to stay in this town.  They offer an extensive menu that boasts of Lao, Thai and Chinese dishes.

Muang Xay is where guests can find the Chom Ong caves with a ceiling height of 50 meters.  This is compared to the movie Lord of the Rings Tolkien’s Mines of Moria.  This cave was just recently discovered which covers about 16 km of natural tunnels adorned with sparkling stalagmites and stalactites.  Authentic village life can be observed as well as handicraft production of people wearing their ethnic tribal Khmu clothes in the beautiful village of Ban Chom Ong.  Tourist can swim in the cold waters of Nam Kad waterfalls.  This waterfall stands near an untouched pristine forest.  The famous Oudomxay stupa can be found in Phou That Mountain.

The oldest and largest monastery in Savan is Wat Sainyaphum.  The monks might be willing to communicate.  Tourists can see the Buddha production line along the river entrance.  Savannakhet has loud karaoke in the town of Dragon where most tourists can sing to their heart’s content.  Another option is to listen to occasional live music at the Rose Bar.  Savannakhet is famous for its Eco Guide unit.  This was formed in 2005 to offer ecotourism tours to anyone who wishes to see the best of what Savannahkhet has to offer.  Explore Dong Natad using bicycles.  An eco tour includes a 2 day stay at Ban Phonsim village where one can participate in rice planting.

Trekking tours are also included where Eco guides can teach guests on what ancient forest products can be used or eaten.  Bird watchers would have a grand time listening to the chirping of the birds during this trekking tour.  This adventure includes a trip to the sacred Nong Lom Lake.  The Champasak landscape includes the Vat Phou temple complex.  This landscape has existed for more than 1,000 years now.  This was shaped to honor the Hindu vision of the relationship between nature and man.  This landscape includes temples, shrines and waterworks.

A visit to Muang Khammouan must include a trip to the longest and amazing Kong Lor caves.  Visitors can climb to the top of the waterfall near the mouth of the caves.  Some say that the best cycling trails can be found in Muang Khammouan.  Visit Ban Pako, an eco tourist resort with a lodge near the ancient site of Nam Ngum river.  The lodge surrounds hundreds of hectares of jungle where the air is filled with the sweet scent of flowers.  The sound of monkeys busily climbing the trees can be heard in the distance.

For those who love elephants, Laos has an elephant conservation center in Sayaboury.  An elephant festival is organized in February which has about 50 to 60 elephants that participate during the parade.  About 80,000 locals and tourists are attracted to this festival.  It is in Sayaboury where flowers are in full bloom and one can still find virgin forests.  This place is for travelers who love the wild and rugged landscapes with beautiful mountains, caves and waterfalls.

Never miss a slow boat ride along the Mekong river to see the beautiful sceneries along this river.  Laos has been promoting their coffee industry.  The quest to produce world class coffee in Laos can trace back its roots to nearly a century ago.  Even French colonists have noticed the fertile Bolaven Plateau that is conducive for coffee planting.  Laos boosts of high altitude and mineral rich volcanic soil.  These are two of the main things that are needed to grow this precious crop.  Trends in global supply seem to be working its way in Laos’ favor.  Due to the poor yield in Brazil and Colombia coffee bean prices went up.  This means there is a chance that smaller suppliers like Laos will be a good alternative for the world’s coffee market.  These are but some of the things that a tourist can expect to see and experience when in Laos.