Is Laos the most boring country in Asia?
Why all the hate? 🙁
After reading so many negative comments about Laos I was about to give in and limit my trip to Vietnam only. Then I said to myself: “whatever. I’m gonna go and see with my own eyes”. And that’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I enjoyed every single day in Laos and I’d like to go back there one day if I have the chance.
Let me give you some good reasons to pack your stuff and buy a one way ticket to this awesome land !
1- Awesome Waterfalls
In Laos there are some of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls. I personally visited the Kuang Si waterfalls, easily accessible with a 40 mins – 1 hour drive. Many agencies and hostels can arrange a tour for as low as 50k kip (plus 20k kip entrance fee, total 8.5 $). The complex of natural falls and pools is quite big and can be explored with an easy walk. You are allowed to swim only in certain areas so pay attention to the signals.
I chose the Kuang Si waterfalls near Luang Prabang because of the Lonely Planet recommendation and some awe-inspiring photos I saw online. I left town after lunch at 13.30, arrived there in about one hour sharing a van (booked by the hostel) with other 5-6 guys. After spending a couple of hours there, we returned back to Luang Prabang around 17.00. If you prefer, there’re usually some morning tours (latest 11.30), or you can simply get one of the tuk-tuks parked near the Post Office.
2 – Laos is a super relaxed place
Everybody says Laos is the most relaxed country in Asia. That’s true!
Laotian towns are quieter and smaller compared to Vietnam and Thailand, there is almost no noise in the streets and people’s daily life goes on slowly. In the morning you won’t wake up because of the loud noise of the bikes. Most places are simply wrapped in silence. No one is in a hurry, it’s definitely perfect for chilling out. Rent a bicycle for 10k kip (1.2 $) and start exploring!
3 – Few tourists, more peace for your mind
Forget the flood of people surrounding the Royal Palace in Bangkok and the armies of Chinese tourists searching for the most exclusive photos in Siem Reap.
Laos’ tourist attractions are all there for you. Whether you are visiting the most beautiful temple in Luang Prabang or the That Luang in Vientiane, you can take pictures without having to use a selfie stick to make your way through the crowd.
However, there are exceptions such as the Phou Si hill in Luang Prabang, completely packed at sunset.
4 – Best fruit I’ve ever had!
Everything is super fresh, especially compared to China. The fruit in particular is so tasty and juicy that you will find yourself buying mangoes and shakes every few hours!
I remember I paid only 10k kip (1.2$) for a fruit shake in Vientiane and Luang Prabang.
I’m not saying you won’t find such a delicious fruit anywhere else on the planet but it’s definitely super healthy, flavoursome…and addicting!
4 – Unforgettable sunsets
Thanks to the lack of lights and pollution you can enjoy beautiful sunsets like nowhere else in Southeast Asia. A real blessing not only for professional and amateur photographers, but also for couples looking for a romantic scenery.
5 – Stunning temples
Laos has a lot in common with Thailand, both culturally, linguistically and certainly also from a religious point of view. If you have already visited Thailand, the gorgeous Laotian temples will surely look more than familiar to you. Without reaching the heights of refinement of Thai masterpieces of Chiang Mai, in Laos you can find some exquisite examples of religious architecture. Sometimes there’s a little entrance fee to pay (10k – 20k kip = 1.2 – 2.4$) which is devoluted to support the monks life.
6 – Sense of freedom and adventure
Have you ever:
crossed a bamboo bridge?
run a bicycle through rice paddies?
prayed with the monks on the top of a mountain?
spent an afternoon tubing on the Mekong River?
well if you haven’t, you can try all of that in Laos. And don’t forget the elephants! 😉
ok Joe, Laos is awesome! Any drawback at all?
Of course there are, exactly as any other country I visited.
Few things I didn’t like so much about Laos:
- a lot of “made in China” handicrafts
- I wasn’t particularly impressed by Lao food and coffee. Typical Lao food is bit spicy (don’t like it) and too similar to Viet-Thai flavour.
- high prices for tourists. You heard me right. Laos is expensive! No matter where you go prices are higher than Vietnam and Thailand. Food, drinks, hotels, everything is pricey (with few exceptions).