Introducing the country
Laos' mountains and thick jungles to the north descend into the limestone structures of the Kuang Si waterfalls, a fairy tale staircase of pools. The Plain of Jars in the central lo...
Laos' mountains and thick jungles to the north descend into the limestone structures of the Kuang Si waterfalls, a fairy tale staircase of pools. The Plain of Jars in the central lowlands is bookmarked with thousands of the megalithic vessels. As Laos tapers to the south, so do the cocoa shades of the mighty Mekong before gathering momentum towards the Khone and Phapheng Falls, or the Si Phan Don - the largest falls of Southeastern Asia.
The only landlocked country in Southeastern Asia, most of Laos' seven million residents rely on the gratuities of the Mekong River. Many subsist in true farmer style, salvaging and recycling scrap metal leftover from the inordinate American bombing of the sixties and seventies, to make ends meet.
Laos' animist kindred are the youngest population of Southeastern Asia. Humility and curiosity are characterising Buddhist traits; adversity is met with impassiveness, elders are revered and the search for common ground is a priority.
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Best way to get around
Great for exploring surrounding countryside and necessary for navigating the Plain of Jars. Main roads are in good condition but apart from that it can be a bumpy ride.
Buses are slow. The roads are narrow, the engines are old and numerous stops are made. They are cheap though.
A pick-up truck with two benches in the back. There is no schedule and drivers will wait until they have enough passengers to justify leaving. Organise with fellow travellers to reduce waiting time.
If you're brave, hire a car to explore lesser known destinations. Roads aren't great but locals are helpful with directions.