I wanted a summer vacation this year. My plans to go back to Canada fell through so I decided to use the July 4th holiday, take the days before and after it off, and go somewhere. After a bit of thinking I decided on Laos. Why Laos? ..well it is one of the few countries left in South-East Asia that I have not been to yet. Also, since I would be taking my girlfriend with me I thought it would be a nice do some exploring together while keeping the cost relatively low.
We started our journey in the capital city of Vientiene. Besides a general idea of the cities we wanted to visit we had no set plans or schedule, the usual when I travel. We spent one day exploring the temples and markets of the capital city and hopped on bus the following morning to Vang Vieng. The town of Vang Vieng is very much a backpacker party town. The main attraction is tubing down the river while stopping at all the bars along the way. Each bar on the river has its own attractions like the giant water slide, or giant rope swing, mud volleyball, etc. Then at night everyone goes to the clubs in town to drink and party until dawn. We opted for the kayak tour which included tubing through a water cave. The surrounding nature was absolutely beautiful with rocky cliffs and rice fields everywhere.
After two days in Vang Vieng we traveled to the old capital of Luang Prabang. The large city was absolutely stunning, although since becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site it has become somewhat of a tourist town with expensive hotels, restaurants, and galleries everywhere. Still, with countless Buddhist temples and monasteries along with the buildings and atmosphere of an old French colony and hundreds of monks walking around in their orange robes it was one of the most beautiful cities I have been in. We spent a day hiking through the jungle and visiting remote villages in mountains before reaching the beautiful Kuang Si Falls for swimming. Unfortunately, the next days’ plans were cancelled due to a bad case of food poising
Our final day was spent back in Vientiene where we joined a Laos cooking class. We spent the day making and eating various Laos foods. We visited Buddha Park before heading back to the airport and back to Japan. The week went by really fast and I really wish I had about two more to really get out and enjoy the country. Laos is a lot quieter and more laid-back without all the bustle and people of Vietnam or Thailand, yet it still has lots of natural beauty and things to see. I would love to go back and visit again.