Laos

Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel

Laos, the Land of a Million Elephants, is one of the most fascinating countries in Indochina. It shares borders with Myanmar, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand and it remains very rural. It only reopened to tourism in 1988 after several decades of isolation that followed a civil war and a Communist regime. Today Laos is a one-party Socialist republic that welcomes tourism and luckily for us, we can enjoy its many cultures, beautiful architecture with a mix of Laotian and French influences and Buddhist temples.

Forty percent of the population is formed by Mon-Khmer groups, the Hmong and other hilltribes who live in the foothills and mountains throughout the country.

VIENTIANE, the capital of Laos since 1563, is located on the Mekong River. It is a beautiful city that still features mostly French architecture, beautiful boulevards and ancient temples.

Enjoy the highlights of Vientianne, Wat Sisaket, the oldest living temple of Vientiane, built in 1818 by King Anouvong and said to have more than 2,000 silver Buddha images. Wat Sok Pa Luang temple, famous for its herbal saunas and massage; Victory Gate and the Revolutionary Monument, built in honor of the soldiers who died in the revolution between 1945 and 1975.

The Lao National Museum offers an impressive collection of artifacts and paintings depicting the history of Laos and its Revolution.

Buddhist monks, Luang Prabang

LUANG PRABANG, once the capital of Laos, is situated on the Mekong River. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its magnificent temples. Luang Prabang was home to the royal family until 1975, making it very rich in history, architecture and culture. It is intrinsically linked to Theravada Buddhism. The 2,100 monks and novices residing in the city make up a significant portion of the town’s overall population.

The Royal Palace, officially named Haw Kham” was once the residence of King Sisavang Vong and his family. In 1975 the monarchy was overthrown and the Palace became the National Museum. 

Other highlights include Makmo Stupa, Wat Vien Thong Temple and the night market. One of the highlights of Luang Prabang is the Tak Bat (Alms Offering). Monks and novices walk through the town every morning at sunrise to accept alms from the townfolk.

La Residence Phou Vao

Visit the Pak Ou Caves, one of the most holy sites in Laos dating back thousands of years. Pak Ou means “mouth of the Ou river” and the shrine which consists of two caves is dedicated to Buddha and contains more than 4,000 statues of the Buddha offered by the locals over hundreds of years. The caves are very important for the local’s pilgrims throughout the year but mainly in April when the Lao New Year comes.