One of Asia’s most peaceful and quiet capital cities, Vientiane
cuddles up in fecund flatland along the Mekong River banks.
Many buildings display the country’s past connection with
Europe, such as the old quaint French colonial homes and the capital’s
Victory Monument, which bears a striking, if somewhat rococo,
likeness to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
A prominent national monument is the 16th-century That Luang
(Royal Stupa) that signifies Buddhist and Lao union. Other significant
attractions include the Lao Revolutionary Museum, Wat
Ho Prakeo (a former royal temple), Wat Sisaket (among
the capital’s oldest temples), Wat Xieng Khouang (Buddha
Park), located 24 kilometres (15 miles) south of the city and representing
amazing Hindu structures and Buddhist.
In the northeast of the country, Xiang Khouang province is
identified by Karst limestone and lush tropical high hills. The
capital, Phonsavan enjoys a good climate being at an altitude
of 1,200 metres (3,937ft). The mysterious Plain of Jars can
be reached from the city and boasts the amazing sight of hundreds
of stone jars, some weighing as much as six tonnes, spread through
the scenery. The jars are more than 2,000 years old and it has ben
said that they were used to brew rice wine in the 6th century for
celebrating a victorious battle. About 52 kilometres (32 miles)
north of Phonsavan, travellers can relax by 1 of the 2 hot springs;
Bo Noi and Bo Yai.
This ancient royal city was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site
in 1995. It is the cultural and religious capital of the country,
situated between the Mekong and Khan River, affording
32 large temple tourist sites.
Among the most remarkable temples, Wat Xieng Thong is adorned
with coloured glass and gold. Testament to the fact that it was
the royal capital until 1975, the royal palace there boasts gifts
made for former kings and exquisite artwork.
Close by, in the heart of town, travellers can climb Mount Phousi
for a beautiful spectacular views of the city and surrounding rivers.
The Palace Museum, the former royal palace is worth visiting
and easily recognized by its golden spired stupa, providing an amazing
collection of artifacts from old rulers of the Kingdom of Lane
The nearby Ban Phanom Village is well known for its weavings,
offering the chance to visit a traditional community and to buy
bargain-priced embroideries and silk. The graceful Pak Ou Caves,
approximately 25 kilometres (16 miles) along the Mekong River, are
easily accessible by speedboat from Luang Prabang.
The 2 caves, Tham Phun and Tham Ting, contain many
Buddha images that were left there by worshipers over hundreds of
years. Further down the river sits the small village of Ban Xang
Hai, popular for its production of rice whisky. The Kuang
Si Waterfalls are also worth visiting, located 30 kilometres
(19 miles) from Luang Prabang where travellers can swim in the lower
This mountainous province is located in the far northwest of Laos,
with lush tropical surroundings and more than 39 ethnic minority
groups. UNESCO has proposed setting up an eco tourism project
for this area.
The small town of Muang Xing, located on the river plains,
was once an outpost for an ancient southern Chinese empire. There
are quite a few guesthouses offering hiking trips starting from