Travel
Colours of Laos
January 30, 2015
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Colours of Laos - Tuk Tuk

Laos (Lao PDR officially) is one of Asia’s travel destination underdogs. It wasn’t on our original itinerary, but as we researched things to do in Laos it became obvious there was more to see than we had time for in 7-days. Here are the shimmering highlights of what we managed to squeeze in, including Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane.

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang, a former ancient capital and current cultural centre at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers, is a French-colonial architecture hotspot. The city is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and is the central marketplace of ethnic minority groups that produce beautiful textiles and jewellery. No wonder it is UNESCO World Heritage listed!? From the vibrant silks and ethnic minority handicrafts to the gilded wats and nearby milky jade cascades, Luang Prabang is one colourful destination.

Crossing into Laos from Thailand by two-day Mekong River cruise, it was immediately clear that the opportunists that gather in many highly touristed areas all over the world hadn’t made it to Luang Prabang yet. It was refreshing to walk through a market and look without being harassed by shop owners or hear the incessant “Massage? Suit? iPhone?” experienced in other locations. Given that many imitation products can make their way from China to Luang Prabang, it was lovely to see members of the Luang Prabang Handicraft Association (LPHA) displaying their ‘Handmade in Luang Prabang’ labels which makes purchasing soulful souvenirs that much easier!

Soulful Souvenir - Laos Silk
Luang Prabang, Laos
This gorgeous little lady trying to sell me bracelets
Teapots, Luang Prabang, Laos
Colourful offerings to Buddha
Colourful offerings to Buddha
Reclining Buddha, Luang Prabang
Reclining Buddha, Luang Prabang
Temple rooftop details
Temple rooftop details
Haw Pha Bang, Luang Prabang
Haw Pha Bang, royal temple built to enshrine the Phra Bang Buddha image
Luang Prabang, Laos
Snacks hanging in a Laotian market
Ethnic minority jewellery for sale in Luang Prabang, Laos
Ethnic minority jewellery for sale in Luang Prabang
Bags for sale in Luang Prabang
Bags for sale in Luang Prabang
Kuang Si Falls
Kuang Si Falls
Kuang Si Falls, Laos
Tad Sae
Tad Sae
Baskets and drums
Baskets and drums

Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng, once known as the countries hedonistic capital has been reformed into a place of quiet tranquillity with endless opportunities to enjoy nature. The town has taken it back to basics with its karst mountain landscape and lazy river that can be experienced by kayak, caving, hiking and hot air balloon ride. Thank goodness Vang Vieng has passed its time of tubing bar to bar for pail size drinks concocted of unknown substances. I would hate to have had to skip this natural beauty and one of my all-time favourite hotels – Riverside Boutique Resort.

Sunset, Vang Vieng, Laos
Kayaking among the limestone mountains in Vang Vieng
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Vang Vieng sunset reflections
Vang Vieng sunset reflections
Trying Akha traditional headress
Trying Akha traditional headress

Vientiane

Vientiane, the modern capital, has its own architectural gems both French-colonial and Buddhist wats. I’m not going to lie, by the time we arrived in Vientiane we were exhausted after three weeks of travelling through Myanmar, Thailand and Laos in top gear. We were ready for a rest day or ten and were getting harder to impress. Still, the Laotian capital pulled a few punches and won us over with the 1930’s built That Luang stupa and midcentury Patuxay, Laos’ unexpected war memorial also known as the Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane. Not to mention the rebuilt home of the Emerald Buddha, which is now a religious art museum and Wat Sisaket’s curious cloister wall housing over 6000 Buddha images.

Pha That Luang, Vientaine
Pha That Luang
Temple Ceiling, Vientaine
Temple Ceiling, Vientaine
Reclining Buddha Vientaine, Laos
Patuaxai - landmark arch and war memorial
Patuaxai - landmark arch and war memorial
Ceiling details inside Patuxai
Ceiling details inside Patuxai
Buddha images at Haw Phra Kaew
Buddha images at Wat Sisaket
Haw Phra Kaew
Haw Phra Kaew reconstructed home of the Emerald Buddha for 200 years

Plan a trip to Laos

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Find flights to Laos with Skyscanner.

Search for accommodation using Tripadvisor.

Don’t forget travel insurance, I recommend Seven Corners or World Nomads.

If you loved these Laos highlights, check out these other vibrant destinations and events – Vietnam, Myanmar and Rio Carnival.

Peace, love and inspiring travel,

Madam ZoZo

Highlights of the Asia destination underdog - Laos

About author

Madam ZoZo

Hi! I'm Madam ZoZo, aka Zoë, an Australian designer, creative consultant, blogger and digital nomad. I'm passionate about travel, design, dance and new experiences that fuel my creativity. I strive to travel in a style that is gentle on the earth and that contributes to the communities I visits, even if it is merely to take away a greater understanding of a different culture. Duende by Madam ZoZo, is where I share the stories of my travels and the duende (soul/inspiration) I find along the way.

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There are 2 comments

  • […] series dedicated to the most vibrant and colourful destinations I’ve travelled. Check out Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and […]

  • […] much as I do, check out the other posts in the “Colours of” Series including Vietnam, Laos and […]

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