Luang Prabang and Vientiane: Luxury in Laos

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Laos was once Indochina’s backpacker haven but now offers high-end luxury retreats and top-end hotels in places such as Luang Prabang and Vientiane.  Having visited Laos in the late 1990′s little has changed this raw, rugged paradise of supreme pristine jungle, fast flowing rivers and tumbling waterfalls – even the fascinating cultural traditions of Laos tribal people have been maintained.  Unique experiences can be found in Laos while adventuring in the remote Laos countryside with its fascinating cultural insights.
















Laos is one of the world’s few remaining communist states and officially known as the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). For centuries lost in isolation it was only in the mid-90’s that the government reversed its stance on tourism and began opening up to the world – and I was lucky enough to visit soon after.


A highlight of my trip was an adventurous journey by dugout from Luang Nam Tha to Thailand on the Nam Tha river.  I travelled with local people returning home from Luang Nam Tha market together with their sacks and baskets of produce and livestock.   It was a most memorable voyage spent watching the languid riverfront life drifting by while witnessing the character of these gentle people and experiencing first hand the local people’s refreshingly simple village life. I also revelled in trekking deep into the wilderness of the mountainous northern highlands to experience ethnic Hmong hill tribe culture in its most intact form amidst cascading waterfalls and breathtaking landscapes.

> Travel Laos in luxury with World Odyssey. Get in touch for our latest deals and inspiration for your Laos holiday – call 01905 731 373 or use our online enquiry form.














Laos is officially Buddhist, and its national symbol is the gilded stupa of Pha That Luang (above).

Laos is a pristine paradise of unspoilt tropical forest shrouded by its gentle people, vibrant culture and traditions.














Laos is known as ‘The Land of a Million Elephants’ and the national animal is an elephant. The country hosts an Elephant Festival each year to which more than 50,000 people from across Asia flock to.


I revelled in the natural beauty of Vientiane and its tree-lined streets – and soaked up its spirituality and charm by ambling for hours by foot exploring the fascinating ‘Wats’, ‘Shrines’, ‘Monuments’ and ‘Stupas’ which can be found around every corner! A city tour by electric bicycle is a popular way to experience the tranquil atmosphere of Vientiane but that would be a bit too fast paced for me to enjoy such an unhurried place! It was very hard to believe that this is the national capital as it has the feeling of a charmingly cosmopolitan village.

The city rests against the banks of the Mekong and is full of hidden wonders with its mix of grandeur French colonial architecture and ancient, exquisite gilded temples, vibrant night markets, and local artisans Vientiane is a destination requiring weeks of exploration!

Pratuxay Monument situated in the centre of Vientiane – its architecture inspired by the Arc de Triomphe.

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is the ancient former Royal Capital and now a UNESCO world heritage site. Hints of the town’s glorious past can be appreciated at every turn, for instance the National Museum was once the king’s palace. It is a gentle and enchanting place where hundreds of saffron-robed monks move silently among centuries-old monasteries and still outnumber tourists.  It is a very touching experience to witness the early morning spectacle and tradition of giving alms to the monks (see below).







Traditional dance, festivals and parades can be enjoyed here including the Luang Prabang boat race and the Songkran festival in April deemed to cleanse the sins of the previous year and mark the traditional start of the New Year. Visitors can partake in a traditional ‘baci’ ceremony which is an important part of the Lao culture and brings good luck and health.

A most tranquil way to experience Laos is via the river on a boat cruise while taking in the river life culture and enjoying spectacular panoramic views of the countryside and fascinating limestone formations towering above the mighty Mekong River. From the Mekong you can visit the mysterious Pak Ou Caves which are crammed full of thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims.

> Travel Laos in luxury with World Odyssey. Get in touch for our latest deals and inspiration for your Laos holiday – call 01905 731 373 or use our online enquiry form.























The country’s magnificent scenery, varied topography, fascinating architecture and such gentle people with their Buddhist heritage and rich cultural tradition make Laos a destination packed with rich experiences that can’t be found elsewhere. Laos is one of Asia’s most captivating secrets and one of the most unspoilt destinations in modern Indochina – I can’t wait to go back and experience it all over again with a bit of laid-back luxury thrown in this time!

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