Did you know that Laos:
- is the most bombarded country in the world?
- has no coast but is traversed by the Mekong river?
- was a French colony once and is still characterized by former socialistic ideas
- has 100.000 KIP as biggest bill which is approx.. 10 €
So far for me Laos was a big question mark on the world map. Normally you have a rough ideas about any country you are heading to – but for Laos – honestly, I had no imagination at all how travelling in this country will be like.
Actually the majority of the population consist of (rice) farmers – industry and tourism are hardly developed – what a big difference to Thailand.
Just when morning dew has vanished you can see the amazingly untouched countryside without big hotel chains but small guesthouses with French character. Everywhere in the city you can find small cafes to enjoy croissants or baguettes – leftovers from the colonial era. At the night market you can make an excellent bargain for dinner – 1.50 € all you can eat buffet. At home you will not even get your drink for this.
Contrary to its neighboring countries Laos is focussing on ecological tourism what you can feel with having a look at the prices for a day tour – 79 USD per person for half a day at the waterfall. Doesn’t sound like a good deal for us.
We want to see the famous waterfall but for a reasonable price. As sporty and spontaneous travellers we just decided to rent a mountain-bike an doing a lovely little sports session – 30 km up-and downhill at 32 degrees Celsius – well – not sure if this was one of our best ideas. Anyhow – we saw much more of the country and its people like just sitting in an air-conditioned minivan.
Anyhow my highlight in Luang Prabang was for sure my day as a rice farmer.
The Living Land Company offers acreage to local farmers and help them to cultivate rice in a traditional way. You hardly believe how much work it is to get a grain of rice on your plate.
I expected Laos to be a second India but found a relaxed, untouched country for relaxation. Good that things sometime do no turn out the way you expect… Same applies to our travel plans. Due to a forecasted weather change (from 31 to 13 degrees with rain) we skip tubing in Vang Vieng and fly back to the south of warm Thailand instead.