Beer Lao (Best beer in Southeast Asia. Rice is an ingredient in the fermentation process), Sticky Rice is a must with any meal, Green bean and bamboo with chillies, Mulberry pancakes and shake; Eggplant and chillies with sticky rice; morning glory vegetables; pumpking soup; fried spring rolls with pineapple sauce; the various curries depending upon region of Laos; barbequed chicken skewered with bamboo served over vegetables and, of course, sticky rice.
Kip (10,800 to 1 $USD)
Cost of Goods and Services
Average Hotel room (Dbl): $6 ($9 gets you a very nice 3 star hotel)
Average food bill per day for family of 4: $15
Beer Lao: $.80
Lao Coffee with milk: $.30
6 hour boat trip from Nong Kiaw to Luang Prabang: $10
Favorite Places and Adventures
Our 9 hour 4x4 truck ride from Huay Xai to Luang Nam Tha on a slick red clay road being completely reconstructed in the monsoon. The road is very mountainous with no guard rails and minimal truck clearance. The road also passes through many hilltribe villages.
The boat ride from Nong Kniaw to Luang Prabang. This 6 hour ride passes through limestone mountains draped in jungle, subsistence villages along side the river and a break from the body shaking road system in Laos.
Staying in Luang Prabang. Luang Prabang is one of those places that is a must see and several days set aside to enjoy. The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, which gives you some understanding of how fabulous this city is. The night market for fabrics, shirts and food is a must. A stroll down the peninsula to visit the Wats and the Monks and a 6:00am wake up to provide the monks with some sticky rice make one appreciate the cultural significance of the area.
ANY bus or truck or songthaew ride on a Laos road is an adventure. Our friends had a 8 hour ride turn into 16 hours complete with flat tires and engine trouble. There is very little pavement and the steep, narrow roads are constantly climbing or descending mountains.
All of Laos. I really enjoyed the country and have put Laos on my must visit again list.
I really enjoyed the natural beauty and the people of Laos. My major reflections are: Trekking with our incredible guides, To and Tha, in the Nam Ha natural protected near Luang Nam Tha and seeing two hilltribe villages, rice paddy cultivation and tropical rainforest; the beautiful mountainous terrain shapes all of Northern and Central Laos; the red clay roads and decrepit buses and trucks that transport us through the mountains and villages; boat rides are a must during any visit to Laos; the people are generous, sincere and very compassionate and helpful; leaving my passport in Vang Vieng and having the owner of the resort rushing me back just in time to catch the last bus to Vientiane; Therese, Peter, Paul and Carrol’s narrow escape from their bus crash; viewing all the different rice paddy formations; Luang Prabang!! The entire city of Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city has beautiful guest houses, the night market is the best we’ve encountered, numerous Wats and Monks, cultural significance, day trips around the city, nearby waterfalls and dinner on the Mekong Rive sipping a Beer Lao; the limestone mountains towering over the Vang Vieng and Nong Khiaw area; having Alex, Veronica and Anna as part of our family throughout Laos and sharing adventurous with them; the food at the Organic Farm just outside Vang Vieng can’t be beat; the restaurants at Vang Vieng all play “Friends” re-runs and are packed with Farangs.
As mentioned earlier, the road system is Laos is very difficult for traveling. Make sure you have planned enough time in your itinerary for transportation. Outside of the main road between Luang Prabang and Vientiane, long distance transport is by trucks, songthaews or very old buses which tend to break down. Also, include at least one, or two boat trips into your trip to Laos.