Laos: The Hidden Asian Gem
By Real Travelling
Last updated: 30th August 2016
Not many people know about the hidden gem of Laos. Tucked away off the beaten backpacker route, Laos is the perfect haven for those wanting to experience REAL Asia. Situated between Thailand and Vietnam, it has the same friendly culture and traveller vibe, but expect even more jaw-dropping landscapes, temples, and delicious local cuisine. Plus did we mention the waterfalls and caves?
We recently sent talented videographer Tien to Laos to explore the country and create a video from her travels. On her return, we also decided to quiz her on all things Laos, so over to Tien for her recommendations. Enjoy…
Why did Laos appeal to you?
Laos appealed to me because how little I knew of the country, despite having travelled to its neighbouring countries Vietnam and Thailand.
I really wanted to visit Laos as soon as possible, as it's majestic natural landscapes and culture are still very untouched by tourism. It was exciting as no one I know has travelled to Laos before, meaning I didn't know what to expect and could form my own opinion of the country firsthand.
Highlight of the trip?
The highlight of my trip was Kuang Si Waterfall, it’s unlike any waterfall I have visited! It's great because it has something for everyone; if you love photography you'll have a field day, if you want to relax there's almost too many natural pools and tiers to choose from, and if you like adventure you can trek to the top and see where it all starts. Another highlight was exploring the caves in Vang Vieng, a very unique experience and loads of fun.
Most unexpected moment?
The most unexpected moment happened while we were travelling from Vientiane to Luang Prabang and we stopped for a break to stretch our legs, only to realise we had the most spectacular view of the mountain ranges down below. Having had explored the city in the days prior, this was the first glimpse of abundant natural beauty Laos has to offer – it’s those kind of moments where you realise why you travel.
A must do is the swimming pool in Luang Prabang called Luang Prabang View. It does cost 10 US dollars but when you've spent a day cycling in the heat, there's no better way to cool off. The pool is stunning with mountain views all around, and there is great wifi - meaning it’s the best place to FaceTime everyone you know and make them slightly envious.
Our group agreed that the best meal we had was the group dinner at Luang Prabang. Pre-organised, it was set meal where your plate was divided into many small portions of different Laos delicacies. It was a great way to try lots of new dishes all at once, and the flavours were incredible. I really enjoyed the spicy green papaya salad and if you love noodle soup as much as I do, Laos doesn't disappoint. Also, if you don't get a fruit shake with every meal...have you even been to Laos?!
Flip flops with a back strap (or any waterproof sandal) come in handy as they won't fall off during activities like kayaking and tubing! Not a must-have but I always bring a mini hair-dryer while travelling as I have long hair and it means I can shower before bed and not have to sleep with wet hair. Lastly, if you have a go-pro or even a disposable waterproof camera I think it’s totally worth bringing to capture all the activities both on land and water.
3 words to describe the trip?
Breathtaking, Adventurous, Picturesque
HUGE thank you to the lovely Tien for the stunning photos. We've had a sneak peek and Laos looks B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L! Want to see more? See our trips to Laos and South East Asia over on our website.