Still preserved from mass tourism, Laos invites you to discover its rich Buddhist heritage and its friendly people and smiling. Indulge in Asian charm.
Vientiane or “City of the Moon” in Laos
Capital of Laos, Vientiane is located on the left bank of the Mekong River which divides the country of Thailand. As one of the least populated cities in Asia, Vientiane is traversed on foot or by bike. As you cross the streets without traffic jams, you will marvel at the many pagodas and the few buildings of colonial architecture with a French twist. Go to the largest market in the morning, locally called “Talat Sao”, where you will find many treasures for ridiculous prices. Located close to the bus station, this huge bazaar offers a host of memories and woven outcome of Lao provinces.
Enjoy a break in one of the many cafes that line the Mekong River and enjoy the bewitching charm. Then discover the most famous site in Laos “That Luang”. It is characterized by its impressive gold. According to local belief, the site would house a relic of the Buddha. For lunch, sample the local specialties. Refreshing papaya salad composed of crabs is consumed without moderation. Be careful with many spices hidden in the dish!
Luang Prabang, the jewel of the Mekong
World Heritage of UNESCO, Luang Prabang is a city entirely devoted to culture. Located on a peninsula formed by the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan, it also has a French colonial architecture. The Wat Xieng Thong, which means “the temple of the Golden City” in Lao, is a true masterpiece. Featuring a typical Laotian architecture, the site includes several Buddhist shrines. Today the National Museum, the former Royal Palace in Luang Prabang offers a classic French-Lao architecture. You will find the famous Golden Buddha which comes from Ceylon, a gift from the Khmer king Sirichanta Praya.
Place of pilgrimage for Buddhists Lao and Thai, the caves of Pak are located two hours by boat from Luang Prabang. Overlooking the Mekong River, these Sanctuaries are home to nearly 8,000 statues of Buddha. In the vicinity of the city, you can browse small artisan villages such as Ban Phanom, renowned for its weavers or the Ban Chan, a pottery village. On the way to the airport, Van Hatian is exclusively inhabited by families of blacksmiths. You will find metal works mainly made from recycled metals.