Laos

Laos pleasantly surprised me...the people are some of the friendliest I've met. Life seems far more relaxing here than in other SE Asian countries. It is one of the poorest countries in the region but everyone seem to be well looked after.

Luang Prabang in the northern part of the country is an absolute delight...it exudes a timeless charm with its many temples and monks. I recommend that you read Michael Buckley's description of Luang Prabang, and his travel guide book "Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos Handbook" (Moon Publications).

The country is the least commercialised of the SE Asian countries and as such it's a welcome relief to get there after all the hustle and bustle of the other countries. I fear Laos may change and lose it's charm...and as a tourist I know that I may have contributed to it. But I understand the needs of the country to exploit resources. Perhaps more "eco-tourism" is in order...
Wat Sisaket  Part of Wat Sisaket, Laos.  Photo taken in October 2001. Wat Sisake  Just some of the 6,000 Buddha statues in Wat Sisaket in Vientiene, Laos.  Photo taken in October 2001. That Luang  That Luang in Vientiane, Laos.  Photo taken in October 2001. That Luang side view  That Luang in Vientiane, Laos.  Photo taken in October 2001.
Pratuxai Monument  The Pratuxai Monument in Vientiane, Laos.  Photo taken in October 2001. Wat Visoun "Lotus Stupa"  I think this is Wat Visoun's Lotus Stupa (also called "melon stupa") in Luang Prabang, Laos.  Photo taken in October 2001. Wat Visoun "Lotus Stupa"  Another view of what I think is Wat Visoun's Lotus Stupa (also called "melon stupa") in Luang Prabang, Laos.  Photo taken in October 2001. Boat on the Mekong  A small boat on the Mekong River used by the people of the riverside village Ban Phanom, Laos. Alcoholic drink ("rice whiskey") is made locally here...and very cheap to purchase! Notice that the river is quite muddy in colour...this is because of the amount of rain that had fallen at this time near the end of the rainy season.  Photo taken in October 2001.
Hmong Village  A Hmong hill tribe village in northern Laos.  Photo taken in October 2001. Hmong Village  Cattle in a Hmong hill tribe village in northern Laos.  Photo taken in October 2001. Tiger  A tiger in northern Laos.  Photo taken in October 2001.