As I was reading through my posts, I realized I barely had positive things to say about our experience in Laos. I flinched upon realizing I had one visitor from Laos and a certain guilt is eating me because, really, Laos is a beautiful place and the people the friendliest and most hospitable I’ve ever met.
Here are some of the things I love about Laos:
Sleeper buses: The best Southeast Asia has to offer. They’re big, fast, and super comfy. Pure air-conditioned luxury, with a toilet and a double bed complete with a thin mattress, pillows, and blankets. However, if you’re travelling alone, it would be a good idea to book for two spaces, because the beds are so narrow—unless of course you want to get a little bit cozy with a stranger on a 10-hour trip. Oh, and did I say there’s free dinner, bottled water, and wet tissues onboard? Can’t get any better.
Sabaidee: The Laotians spread their sabaidees, their version of aloha, as if it’s the end of the world. All you do is so much smile or glance at them, and you’ll be treated to a genuine sabaidee and a casual but warm conversation about anything under the sun. We had one about Charice Pempengko, the Filipina singing sensation who made it to the American music scene. It’s heartwarming to know that our fellow Southeast Asians also talk about her with pride. Though, I must admit it took me quite a while to realize what the Laotian was talking about. Quite embarrassing.
The Park: The park plays a big role in the pastimes of Laotians and of tired tourists. It’s a good way to unwind and go people watching. Children and adults frolicking in the sand. Hawkers offering all kinds of gastronomic delights. Monks strolling along the banks of the Mekong. Young lovers whispering sweet nothings to each other. Tourists catching a glimpse of the magnificent sunset. And Pinky and I shopping at the night street market! Life is beautiful in Laos.
Luang Prabang: Although we didn’t have the luxury of time and money to visit the most romantic place in the world, I would still list Luang Prabang as one of my Laotian favorites. As most backpackers say, you’ve never been to Laos until you’ve seen Luang Prabang. I’ve not been there yet, so I will just quote here what Lonely Planet has to say about this UNESCO World Heritage site:
“There are places that linger in the imagination long after you visit them; Mekong-bordered Luang Prabang, with its Unesco-protected peninsula of gleaming wat and crumbling French villas, is such a place. Timeless, and reinvigorated by a new airport, this once-inaccessible Shangri-la is an absolute must for its Buddhist architecture, the tangerine stream of monks taking alms at 6 a.m., and its vast array of shopping and cuisine. In short, Luang Prabang is a sensual cocktail with a heavy measure of history to match.”
Another reason for me to go back to this one heaven of a place. 🙂
A sneak peek of Luang Prabang (photo courtesy of http://www.trekearth.com):