After Vietnam, I left Hanoi to go to Vientiane in Laos. Vientiane is the capital city of Laos and is typically like any other city. Here we visited Buddha park, which as the name says, is a park full of Buddhas. This was really interesting to see however there wasn’t any tourist information so we didn’t really know what any of the statues meant. On the same day we visited their palace but chose not to go in as it was so humid and we couldn’t cope with the weather. As a tourist attraction, locals here sell caged birds for tourists to buy and set them free. The tourists feel like they’ve done a good deed stopping animal abuse, however the birds are trained to return so they can be resold. If you really want to stop this animal cruelty, don’t buy them at all and stop the process.
My first stop in the beautiful country of Laos was Vang Vieng where the main activity to do here is tubing. The main road is lined with excursion shops where you’re able to rent a tube for the day, we haggled our price down to $6USD. If you’ve never heard of tubing before, it’s basically you sitting in a rubber ring floating down a river which is so much fun. Along the way there are bars for you to drink to your hearts content and party the day away. Tubing is best to do in the afternoon otherwise you’re morning drinking and there are less tourists to party with. There has been horror stories with this activity as some people take it too far and get too drunk and have died in the water. As long as you’re sensible it is a great day out!
Our next stop was Luang Prabang which I loved. Here there are the Kuang Si waterfalls which are absolutely stunning, they are very touristy so there are a lot of people swimming around in them, however I feel like the tourists are justifiable with the views here. We went up to the caves which is a 3km walk and if I’m honest I wouldn’t recommend these at all, the views are much better at the waterfalls and the cave is a bit of a let down. You effectively rent a torch to explore a dark cave, we had expected water but it was just a cave. Also in Luang Prabang is a temple which you can walk up to for the sunset as it is high up. I really recommend doing this as the views are great, the earlier you get there the better as lots of tourists visit and you either want to get a good seat or view. A great restaurant to visit here is Utopia where you can have a chilled evening laid on mats on the floor with music and the opportunity to meet lots of people. Most people then leave here when the bar closes to go drunk bowling just outside of the town.
The last 2 days of my trip to Laos was spent on a boat trip which is a typical thing for tourists to do. You can cruise down the Mekong River which provides beautiful views, however after one day we were all losing our minds a bit from boredom. I really recommend doing a boat tour through Laos however I don’t recommend doing it on a slow boat as there is only so much you can do to entertain yourself.
Compared to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, Laos is far less touristic as it’s not a very popular destination. For this reason, I probably liked it the most as the country hasn’t been destroyed for the sake of tourists. The country is very much untouched and for this reason it was my favourite. If you’re one of the people who go travelling to Asia to party as it is so cheap, don’t go to Laos as there is next to no nightlife. Again compared to the rest of Asia, Laos had worse customer service at restaurants and bars as the staff were very care free. They are carefree in Laos as during the Vietnamese war they were bombed every 8 minutes, 24 hours for 9 years. Now the people of Laos take everything at their own pace as they are no longer living in fear.