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Experience the Charm of Laos

 

Laos is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia.  Although landlocked, Laos is known for its amazing waterfalls.  Rainy season is from May to October, dry season is from November to April or early May.  November to February is considered the cool dry season and March to April or early May is considered the hot dry season. The Lao people greet each other with a prayer-like gesture called a nop. Our western custom of shaking hands has become more common in recent years, but a smile and slight bow of the head is still considered polite. Public displays of affection, shouting, and wild gestures are all considered impolite and should be avoided.

There are two frequently used Lao expressions – “bo penh nyang” meaning “no problem” and “thammadha” meaning “proceeding as usual.”  These two expressions are the key to understanding the Lao people — Things will be as they will be and nothing lasts forever.  Quite possibly because of this “bo penh nyang” the Lao people are known for their rich sense of humor.  If you do not allow yourself to experience this during your travels through Laos, you have missed something truly enjoyable.

Most Lao people have been brought up in extended families requiring a high level of harmony, kindness, patience and readiness to help each other.  This has lead to a generous, kind and soft hearted people.  They refer to the people in their extended ‘families’ as their aunts, uncles and cousins, indicating a strong family-like relationship.  However, they are not always related by blood as we usually refer to our aunts, uncles and cousins.

Laos is a charming country of golden facades and golden stupas and several areas that have been declared Unesco World Heritage Sites.  Every morning in the town of Luang Prabang, a procession of monks performs a ritual known as Morning Alms or ‘Sai Bat’. This is a local tradition when the locals offer food to the monks for their daily meal.  Be sure to climb the 328 steps of Mount Phuosi to see the beautiful panoramic views of the sun setting over this once-royal ancient city and the Mekong River.  Visit Pak Ou Caves, a boat trip up the Mekong River to two linked caves filled with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues brought to the caves by pilgrims

Among the beautiful, refreshing waterfalls are the Kuangsi Waterfalls, the Liphi Waterfalls, marking the end of Lao border to Cambodia and the Khone Pha Pheng, often called the “Niagara of the East.”  Take a boat trip on the scenic Nam Ou River, and then walk through small streams and rice paddies to the bottom of 100 waterfalls.  Take time to relax and let the energy from the waterfalls envelope you with relaxation and restoration.

Call V’explore Tours to design a tour of Laos that meets your clients’ interests and timeframe.