Laos – Land of the Million Elephants (Pre-trip)
“Why Laos?”, I was asked many times before I left for my trip. As a friend of unconventional travel, good Asian food and warm climate, the decision was quickly made. Inspired by the beauty of northern Thailand some years ago, I decided to travel again to this region.
Laos is the least developed of the three former French Indochina states (including also Vietnam and Cambodia). After many years of virtual isolation, Laos has become more open towards the outside world. However, caused by the lack of infrastructure, the number of visitors are still low compared to its neighbours, Thailand or Vietnam. There isn’t too much foreign influence, so Laos still represents the old Indochina. Unspoiled from mass tourism, Laos offers plenty of adventures for the individual traveller.
If you like a country depends on what you experienced on other trips and what you are really looking for. I just spent two weeks in Laos itself. Although I did not stay very long at most of the places, I think I could feel what makes Laos different from most other SEA countries. That feeling is something magic that is difficult to describe. I was overwhelmed by the peaceful and laid back atmosphere. Almost everyone I met was very friendly and helpful. People are not just after your money. Probably all of Asia was like that 30 years ago.
Here’s an overview of my route:
Berlin – London – Bangkok – Vientiane – Luang Prabang – Pakbeng – Mouang Houn – Udomxai – Luang Nam Tha – Muang Sing – Vieng Phuka – Huay Xai – Chiang Khong – Mae Sai – Chiang Rai – Bangkok.