As we left Pakse, Laos, in our minibus headed for Ubon, Isan, Thailand we reflected on our wonderful holiday in Laos. We hired a minibus with driver and were scheduled to change vehicles and drivers at the border and walk across into Thailand (we’ll pick that theme up in the next blog). Just to assure you, we really didn’t think of taking the tuk-tuk from Laos to Thailand!
For us, our 16 days in Laos has been full of superlatives. We were able to fill our time with an amazing array of activities. Here’s a chronological summary of our blogs:
- Luang Prabang – Laos – Three years later – Still truly delightful but very different
- Five wonderful days in beautiful Luang Prabang – Laos – Part 1/2
- Five wonderful days in beautiful Luang Prabang – Laos – Part 2/2
- Giving Alms in Luang Prabang – best photos
- First Thoughts on Vientiane Laos
- Some Splendid Sights in Vientiane, Laos
- Arrived in Pakse Laos – definitely the oldest tourists in town!
- Pakse Laos – Some lessons learned from a very unusual shopping trip
- 4000 Islands Mekong – One of Lao’s most beautiful natural treasures
- Best Photos – 4000 Islands Mekong – One of Lao’s most beautiful natural treasures
- An amazing half-day trip to Pre-Angkorian Vat Phou, Champasak Laos
- Best Photos – An amazing trip to UNESCO approved pre-Angkorian, Vat Phou, Champasak, Laos
- A Walk on the Wildside: Xe Pian, Champassak, Laos
Alf also posted on Dr Alf’s Blog the following whilst in Vientiane:
Laos is a wonderful country with so much to offer. For the moment it has not been spoiled by tourism like Thailand, Vietnam and parts of Cambodia, especially around Angkor Wat.
What’s special about Laos?
Here are a few pointers:
- Lovely, honest, warm, friendly, humble & religious people
- Stunning mountain, forest and jungle scenery
- UNESCO approved World Heritage sites & other historical sites
- Thousands of stunning Buddhist temples
- Excellent examples of French colonial architecture
- Fantastic opportunities for trekking
- Amazing range of adventure activities for young people
- Delicious Lao cuisine with French influence
- Good local beer
On the other hand, Laos may not be ideal for pampered Western tourists. The quality of accommodation and restaurants varies considerably. Luang Prabang has some surprisingly high standards of quality these days that is attracting luxury class tourists. But in the main, accommodation and eateries across the country are no match for Thailand or Vietnam. Pakse in the south is an excellent base for adventure activities in the area and for exploring the outstanding surrounding beauty and places of interest, but Pakse town itself has little to offer tourists. However, costs are very reasonable. For example, we stayed in a five-star hotel in Pakse at a cost of GBP35 per night for two people including breakfast. In Pakse’s most popular restaurant for visitors, we would typically pay circa GBP8 for two courses including a glass of wine and a beer. Obviously, if you are budget conscious as a first priority, Pakse offers much cheaper options still.
Laos is a rugged country, with 75% given over to mountains, forests or jungle. Transportation needs some thought. For longer trips we chose to fly with Lao Airlines but the costs are quite high by Asian standards. The other option for long distance travel is a bus which is cheap but the journey times are very long and we personally don’t like travelling by bus. For shorter trips, the choice is usually down to a tuk-tuk or a minibus.
If you are interested in further information on Laos, we would recommend the following YouTube video:
Finally, if you want a amazingly descriptive, fictional insight into Laos in the mid-seventies, Alf thoroughly recommends the following book, which is the first in a series of ten novels:
If you’re interested in visiting Laos, we would recommend not leaving it too long so that you experience it at its best and most authentic.