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Officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Laos is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. The country is located at the heart of the Indochinese Peninsula and is bordered by China and Myanmar to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, Vietnam to the east, and Thailand to the west and southwest. Laos is traversed by the Mekong River and is popular for mountainous terrain, hill tribe settlements, French colonial architecture, and Buddhist monasteries. The capital city of Laos is Vientiane, the site of the Pha That Luang, where a reliquary houses the Buddha’s breastbone. Highlights of Northern Laos include the Plain of Jars, an archaeological site boasting over 4,000 ancient limestone containers and the Pak Ou Caves, replete with miniature Buddha statues. Southern Laos is popular for Wat Phou Temple Complex.
Popular Destinations in Laos
The capital city of Laos, Vientiane amalgamates French-colonial
architecture with Buddhist temples among which the most popular one is the
16th-century Pha That Luang, which is a national symbol. Other attractions
in the city include the arched Patuxai Victory Monument and the Lao
National Museum to name a few. Morning and evening markets in the city
offer produce, souvenirs, handicrafts and electronic items.
Vang Vieng is a small town located on the Nam Song River, in north of
Vientiane. The city is surrounded by imposing limestone mountains and
caves. Located in the western part of the city, Tham Poukham is a cave with
a reclining Buddha statue and a blue-green lagoon. In the north of the city
is the deep Tham Nam Cave boasting a spring at its entrance.
Pakse is a city located in southern Laos, at the point where the Mekong and
Xe Don rivers meet. The central part of the city is named Wat Luang, where
there’s a lavishly decorated Buddhist temple. Champasak Historical Heritage
Museum introduces visitors to the region's culture through textile,
jewelry, and musical instrument displays. The rich history of the city is
reflected in its French colonial architecture, mainly in the old quarter
located near Xe Don River. Daoheuang Market, located just outside the city
center, is a lively market selling clothes, household items, and fresh
produce. In the east of the city is the fertile Bolaven Plateau famous for
its coffee plantations and lovely waterfalls.
Best Time to Visit Laos
Weather-wise, the best time to take Laos flights is between the months of October and April. During these months, the weather is warm and dry. This is also the peak tourism season here. For those traveling on budget, May to October is an apt time to visit when the country sees rainfall, but the showers are usually sharp and short having little impact on exploration. It is advisable to book tickets in advance to get cheap flights to Laos as airfares tend to rise during peak tourist season.
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