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Grand Escapades’ Travel Guide To Laos

Asia’s Most Relaxed Destination

Hmong New Year's Celebration - Phonsavanh

Hmong New Year’s Celebration – Phonsavanh

Itinerary And Time Of The Visit

Our two trips to Laos could not have been more different from each other. In June 2008, during our Round The World Trip, we spent one month in this charming country. We crossed the border from China on foot and started in Luang Nam Tha, where we trekked Luang Nam Tha National Park, then headed for popular Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng & Vientiane. Some of the lesser-known places we visited were Phonsavanh & the Plain of Jars, Kong Lo Cave, Pakse & the Bolaven Plateau and last but not least 4.000 Islands.

In November 2014, Gilles accompanied his father on his “Bucket List Trip” during 10 days in Laos, focusing more on well-trodden paths: Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Phonsavanh and finally Luang Prabang.

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Budget Guide To Laos

Still Cheap But No Longer Cheapest

On the way to 4.000 Islands

On the way to 4.000 Islands

Type Of Travel

Our two trips to Laos could not have been more different from each other. In June 2008, we were on a Round The World Trip (one year), and therefore on a somewhat tight budget (between Backpacking and Flashpacking). In November 2014, Gilles accompanied his father on his “Bucket List Trip”, which meant a pleasant mid-range type of travel. And this becomes clearly visible in the very different expenses we had on each trip …

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Laos – A Selection Of 43 Pictures

Pha That Luang, Vientiane, Laos

Pha That Luang, Vientiane, Laos

Our two trips to Laos could not have been more different from each other. In June 2008, during our Round The World Trip, we spent one month in this charming country. We crossed the border from China on foot and started in Luang Nam Tha, where we trekked Luang Nam Tha National Park, then headed for popular Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng & Vientiane. Some of the lesser-known places we visited were Phonsavanh & the Plain of Jars, Kong Lo Cave, Pakse & the Bolaven Plateau and last but not least 4.000 Islands.

In November 2014, Gilles accompanied his father on his “Bucket List Trip” during 10 days in Laos, focusing more on well-trodden paths: Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Phonsavanh and finally Luang Prabang.

Continue Reading →

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Championship of Pétanque – Lao Style!

Competition of Pétanque in Luang Prabang, Laos

Championship of Pétanque in Luang Prabang, Laos

The most unexpected is always the best… This can even prove true in a Tourist Ghetto like the Old City of Luang Prabang. No, Luang Prabang hasn’t changed since our last visit in 2008: it is a maze of Restaurants, Travel Agencies, Massage Parlors & Hotels.

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Hmong New Year ’s Celebration

A Photo-Essay

Hmong New Year's Celebration - Phonsavanh, Laos

Hmong New Year’s Celebration – Phonsavanh, Laos

We arrived in Phonsavanh in the midst of the Hmong New Year’s celebration – to our great surprise!  This event seems to be widely unknown amongst Western visitors. On the first evening we missed the Bull Fights, so the next day we were determined to see the Festival on the edge of town. After a rough 12 kilometer drive, we reached what seemed to be a fair-ground, with various games going on, like throwing darts. Needless to say that serious karaoke singers were trying to out-do each other, a must at every social gathering in Laos. Again, no lack of food stalls serving cheap and delicious local food. Continue Reading →

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UXO – The Aftermath Of America’s “Secret War”

UXOs or Unexploded Ordnances, Phonsavanh, Laos

UXO or Unexploded Ordnances, Phonsavanh, Laos

UXO stands for “UneXploded Ordnance”. Of the estimated 2 million tons of bombs, including 280 million cluster bombs dropped onto Laos between 1964 and 1973, about 30% did not explode! These have killed no less than 14.000 people in Laos in the last 30 years and crippled 44.000. The province of Xinuang Khoung, with its capital Phonsavanh, was especially targeted during the bombing raids. The USA suspected this northeastern province to be the hiding place of the communist Pathet Lao. Continue Reading →

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5 Things To Do in Vientiane

Pha That Luang, Vientiane, Laos

Pha That Luang, Vientiane, Laos

Vientiane, Laos’ very relaxed capital city, has changed in many ways since my last trip in 2008. Though still a very chilled and somewhat slow-moving place, the center is now bustling with a new well-off middle class, driving expensive cars and enjoying themselves in trendy restaurants. Looking at their menu it could be any place in Europe. A few years back it was mostly NGOs and government officials that frequented such places… Continue Reading →

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An Unexpected Stopover In Kratie

Cambodia-601

Border Crossing between Laos & Cambodia

The plan was rather simple: we had bought an expensive ticket from our guesthouse on Don Khon to be taken from there to Phnom Penh in one day. That involved taking a boat, a minibus to the border, another minibus from the border to the next town and finally a bus to Phnom Penh, a 14 hour journey. Continue Reading →

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Don Det & Don Khon

Don Khon, 4.000 Islands, South Laos

Don Khon, 4.000 Islands, South Laos

The boat trip from Don Khong to Don Khon – this is not a joke, the “g” makes for a difference of 16 kilometers further south on the Mekong – was fantastic. Cruising past small islands that had almost disappeared in the Mekong’s high waters, we saw many small boats carrying just anything, tables, motorbikes, etc… Continue Reading →

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