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Backpacking Laos: A Full Travel Guide for You

Laos is a truly gorgeous country. From the party haven of Vang Vieng to the little-explored jungles of Luang Prabang Nam Tha and the remote mountains in the north, Backpacking Laos offers something different for everyone and Laos remains one of my favourite countries in Asia. This is a land of crawling broadband and pot-holed roads. Every time there is a thunderclap, the electricity goes out, so you better forget about that fruit shake you just ordered! This country requires time; everything seems to slow down here, and people are not in a hurry to get anywhere. Dawdle down cobblestone streets as you pass crowds of orange-robed monks seeking alms outside brightly gilded Buddhist temples.

There is little pressure from hawkers or touts, and locals and backpackers alike wear a dreamy expression as they watch the countryside slip gently past from the seat of a bus or the deck of one of the Mekong’s legendary barges. Laos is one of South East Asia’s last tourism frontiers, take your time; this is a country worth exploring. Laos has two very different regions: the mountainous north and the farmlands of the south.

The south has plenty of famous attractions, like the temples of What Phu, the Bolaven Plateau an many other beautiful cascading waterfalls. You’ll also see many more rice fields here than up north.The North is often cooler in temperature and offers wonderful mountain scenery and rainforests.

Laos’ most famous destinations include Luang Prabang, a charming city with plenty to do and see, and Vang Vieng, a party town on the river with access to water adventures. Even though these areas are the backpacker hot spots, it’s very easy to get off the beaten path in Laos, where tourism is far behind its neighbors. Many travellers arrive into Luang Prabang by slow boat from Thailand. It’s a great place to begin your Laos backpacking trip.

Make sure to wander around the streets and explore the old town, a historical preservation zone declared by UNESCO. The strict building code, drawn up by UNESCO, keeps it from becoming another modern architectural nightmare without turning it into a museum. Spend half a day taking a walking tour of the town to find hidden treasures or get a massage after your long journey.

A perfect day in Luan Prabang consists of: grabbing a cup of coffee at Saffron Café, checking out the monk offerings in the morning, the Royal Museum by day, catching the sunset on the mountaintop and finishing the day at the night market. Climb Mount Phousi before the sun comes up, take some coffee and wait for an incredible sunrise over the Ancient Kingdom… there is not much of a better way to start your day!Wat Xieng Thong is a temple not to be scored off on your backpacking Laos adventure. If you don’t see any temple in Laos or Asia for that matter, check this one out. Otherwise known as the Golden City Monastery built in 1560 by King Setthathilat this temple is a complete work of art. Even if you don’t go inside, wandering the temple grounds early in the morning before the rush of tourists is awesome.

Luang Prabang Nam Tha, often a starting point for those Backpacking Laos and hoping to enter into the Northern Hilltribes. Although the town itself offers no more than a rural village with a few guesthouses, those seeking off the beaten track adventures will make it here.