Things to know before travelling to Laos

There has always been mystery associated with the Far East. Life is so much different from many other parts of the world. Religion plays an important part while there have been struggles over the centuries, colonialism, struggle, invasion and even resistance to the most powerful country in the world, the USA. Scars are inevitable yet the natural friendliness of the locals, even those in remote rural areas that until recently have seen few foreigners, is a tribute to this part of the world. Indochina tour packages reveal more about the region as a whole and even though the American conflict in the region was against North Vietnam, Laos suffered bombing as well. Laos tour packages show some of the results of that bombing.

When you begin to think about a holiday and decide to travel to Laos, your research will reveal a number of things. Some will be basic information, others the main highlights within the Country and more with pieces of advice that are particularly relevant to those travelling independently. Even though you may be travelling within a group and not exposed to some of the daily things in life, they are all worth knowing. There is no particular order of importance in these pieces of advice and warnings then there is a list of some important attractions.

laos tour packages

•    Negotiable Prices. It is not the case every time but locals are used to bargaining. If you are an oversea visitor on travel in Laos it may be obvious that you can afford to pay more than a local.How far you can get a reduction on the first price you are quoted is often dependent on how much you want to haggle. It is important to a vendor that he or she does not lose face yet there is every chance of getting a much better deal on most things than the first price quoted.

•    Cuisine. There are some similarities between the cuisine of Laos and that in neighbouring countries. There is also a great deal of choice in where you eat and there is usually absolutely nothing wrong in buying street food. You want to be certain that a particular seller is busy so that you are not buying something that has stood for hours. When it comes to restaurants if no one else is eating there then perhaps you shouldn’t either? There are always English language guides on the best restaurants though if you are on Laos tour packagesthe research on good ones will have been done for you.

•    Look Around. When you have some free times away from Indochina tour packages go exploring with your camera. Always be respectful of the locals and certainly dress appropriately especially at religious sites but you never know what might be around the corner unless you look. This is day time advice only and avoid poorly lit strange areas at night, just as you would do at home.

•    Read. Wherever there is an ex-pat or a tourist there is likely to be news in leaflets and magazines. Make use of that fact.

•    It’s Different. There are times you recognise a label, perhaps a drink? It may not be what you are used to at home. Often it is not the original. However on Laos tour packages try the local drinks, soft and alcohol but not too much of something that appears fairly strong on first taste.

•    Look at the Tours. Your itinerary will be largely arranged for you though there would always be some free time. If you see something that is of special interest to you then tours published locally are worth looking at closely.

•    Local Transport. In the event of free time take appropriate transport and be certain of the costs of doing so. Buses are usually fairly cheap if crowded while taxis are quicker as long as you know what you want.

•    Health. You are not going to find the same level of health facilities as you would expect at home, even in the major cities. It is worth carrying a basic first aid kit and any recommended non-prescription medicine unless you are actually currently on medication. In that case obviously carry it.

•    Petty Crime. There is petty crime in towns and cities. You are certain to have much more money than the locals so take care of your valuables. Arrange for copies of your important documents and keep what you don’t need at any one time in hotel safety deposit boxes.

•    Strangers. Most mean no harm though as an obvious tourist you may be seen as an opportunity, even a very innocent one. A polite refusal is all it takes whenever you are approached, and it will happen.

You should grasp the basic information before you travel but also look at the highlights of the country. Many of the obvious ones are likely to be standard in Laos tour packages though good tour companies will try to accommodate particular interests that their clients may have:

•    Luang Prabangthe ancient capital of the country is where the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers meet. Quite rightly the City has earned UNESCO World Heritage status. The temples are amazing and there are orange –robed monks everywhere you turn. Traditional Laos wooden houses find themselves surrounded by those temples and French colonial architecture from their period of occupation. The Royal Palace in Luang Prabang is now a museum and is known locally as Haw Kham.

•    Pak Ou Caves to the north of Luang Prabang sit above the Mekong River on the west bank. It is bad luck to throw away any images of Buddha and there are 100s in the caves in different states of repair. They have been put there over the centuries and more are being added all the time.

•    Kuang Si Fallssouth of Luang Prabang have a series of pools at various levels. Just keep your eyes open for the leeches and if you don’t like the idea of a leech just enjoy the surroundings.

•    The Great Stupa, That Luang, is in the capital, Vientiane. While it looks like a fortress from the outside once you are inside there are two stupas and plenty of gold leaf.  Wat Sisaket in Vientiane is famous for thousands of small Buddhas and the rows of seated Buddhas. They originate between the 16th and 19th Centuries and vary in size and material; wood, bronze or stone.

•    The Buddha Park also in the capital has more than 200 statuesin all.The reclining Buddha is the top attraction, more than 40 metres high.

•    Pakse, the capital of Champasak in South Laos is a transport hub for the wider region. It is not as crowded as Luang Prabang so it affords an excellent opportunity to watch thefamous monks’ alms giving ceremony at Wat Luang. Wat Phou near Pakse has even been described as a match for Angkor Wat such is its appeal. Laos tour packages are certain to include it in the itinerary.

•    Nature lovers are in for a rare treat. The Bolaven Plateau in the south averages over 1,000 metres high. It is Laos’ main coffee growing area but the setting is stunning. Tad Fane Waterfall is the most impressive waterfall in Laos and probably South East Asia. Indochina tour packageswill always include these Falls.

•    The Plain of Jars is just that, thousands of stone jars in various sizes in groups of various sizes. It is close to Phonosavan and its origins have not been definitely proved. It is widely thought to have been burial sites from the Iron Age. Unfortunately there was some damage done to the Plain due to American bombing during the Vietnam but it nevertheless remains impressive.

•    That Ing Hang Stupa from the 16th Century is just 9 metres high but has some wonderful carving. It is situated in Savannnaket in Central Laos.

•    Si Phan Don in the Mekong River in Southern Laos is a place to relax which you may well need after a hectic schedule.  There are 400 islands to choose from! While there is not a lot different about its temples it does provide an opportunity to see the freshwater dolphins.

There is plenty to take in when you are considering whether to travel to Laos. Tourism is relatively new but growing all the time. The people are friendly and hospitable even though their lives are generally hard. In the remote regions little has changed for generations and it is important that Laos tour packages show everyday life in rural villages. The infrastructure of Laos may not be as good as say Thailand or Vietnam but that is a small price to pay for the memories and experiences that it will provide. You may have many questions after reading this and you are more than welcome to ask them. We will be only too happy to answer them and should you decide to travel then to look after all your requirements.

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