Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Laos

Laos Flag




"The Land of a Million Elephants"




Bamboo Bridge, Laos. Photo Credit: DEZALB/Pixabay 




Why visit Laos?
Ideal for well-traveled travelers seeking off the beaten destination experience for birdwatching, caves, culture, ecotourism, historical sites, jungles, kayaking, markets, mountain biking, mountains, museums, rafting, rock climbing, scenic rivers, temples, trekking, and waterfalls.



Kuang Si Falls (Kuang Xi Falls), Luang Prabang, Laos. Photo Credit: Wassana Lampech/Pixabay 



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Cotton textiles, fiber arts, needlework goods, quilts, silverware, and woven silk.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Fur (noodle soup). Khao Jee Pa-Tay (bread). Khao Piak Sen (soup). Laap (meat salad).  Khao Soi (soup). Naem (pork delicacy). Mok (wrapped fish). Or Lam (spicy meat soup). Sai Oo-ah (sausage). Soop Pak (vegetable dish). Sticky Rice. Tam (papaya salad).
  • Local Drink to Try: Beer Lao (local beer). Lao-Lao (rice moonshine). Puk Puk (strong coffee).


Vang Vieng, Laos.  Photo Credit: igormattio/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • In 1953, became independent.
  • During Vietnam War (1955-1975), U.S. planes dropped over 2 million tons of bombs.
  • In 1975, six centuries of royal rule ended.
  • In 2009, the oldest modern human skull fossil  was found (Annamite Mountains).
  • Friendship Bridge connects Vientiane with Nong Khai, Thailand.
  • One of four countries in growing opium poppy ("Golden Triangle").
  • Amongst the Greater Mekong Subregion greatest number of rice varieties.
  • Roughly  60% of the population are Theravada Buddhist.
  • The sinh, traditional tube skirt worn by women pattern easily defines the wearer region of residency.


Si Phan Don, Laos. Photo Credit: 41330/Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Boun Phabath Phonesan Stupa Festival, (February) Boun Khao Chi, Boun Pha That Sikhottabong Stupa Festival, Feb Festival, The Elephants Festival, Vat Phou Festival, (March) Boun Khoun Khao, Boun Phavet, Vientiane International Half Marathon, (April) Pimai Lao, Water Festival, (May) Boun Visakhaboucha, Rocket Festival, (June) International Children’s Day and National Tree Planting Day, (August) Boat Racing Festival, Rice Growing Festival, (September) Boun Khao Salak Ancestor Festival, (October) Festival of the Boats of Light, Lao Handicraft Festival, Luang Prabang Half Marathon,  Naga Rocket, That Luang Festival & Trade Fair, (December) That Inghang Festival, Vang Vieng Music Festival, and Vientiane International Marathon.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Armed Forces Day, Chinese & Vietnamese New Year,  International Women's Day, Lao New Year, Lao New Year, Labour Day, Hmong New Year, and Lao National Day.


Wat Xiengthong, Luang Prabang, Laos. Photo Credit: AdrienBe/Pixabay 



Good to Know
  • Generally has three seasons: rainy, cool and hot.
  • Southern part of the country is not as wet.
  • The north offers challenging mountain passes and the south provinces are flat for cyclists.
  • American Express, Master Card, and Visa are only accepted  in the large cities and tourist areas. 
  • Eating raw duck, goat, or pig blood is very common.
  • Lacks adequate infrastructure.
  • Overnight sleeper train from Bangkok to Nong Khai, Thailand.
  • Best time for trekking is between November - February.
  • Antiques and Buddha images are illegal to export.
  • Culturally, females do not stand or sit in a position that puts their heads higher than males.
  • When seated, one's feet should never be pointed toward a sacred object or person.
  • Has limited external and internal telecommunication.
  • Avoid public displays of affection.
  • June - October is the rainy season.
  • Ground transportation is considered inadequate.
  • While illegal, polygamy marriages occur.
  • Large amounts of unexploded ordnance (UXO) exist.
  • Tourists are known victims to various crimes.
  • Police are known to target foreigners to pay bribes for alleged traffic offenses.
  • Adventure Tourism to include inspection, safety, and training is not considered to our standards.
  • Medical facilities and treatment services are extremely limited and do not meet basic international standards.


Rice Plantation, Laos. Photo Credit: Simon/Pixabay 



This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity and two blank pages.
  • Tourist VISA is required. 
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $2,500USD.

Subject to high humidity and monsoons. 

  • Best Time to Visit: November - February
  • Coldest Months: December - January
  • Hottest Months: March - May
  • Peak Season: November - April


Patuxay Monument, Vientiane, Laos. Photo Credit: SaigonJoe/Pixabay 



Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Luang Prabang, Plain of Jars, and Vat Phou.


Photo Credit: rlabe/Pixabay 



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"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" Saint Augustine

                                                All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

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