FEATURE: Exploring Laos is easy and fun

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Lao has among the best tourist sites in the world and it’s about time locals took a cue from the millions of foreigners who visit the country each year by visiting the country’s legendary sites. 

Lao people should save up money and take time out to visit at least one tourist destination within the country every year. It is a sheer joy to travel to the provinces of Laos, witness it’s simple life and it’s culture that fascinates so many tourists.

Everyone should travel and learn about other people’s lives and cultures, and see their different worlds.

However, some people worry about the mounting bills once they step out of their homes to explore new territories. The good news is the travel is not really expensive for locals – especially if they use the public transport system. 

Anyone who wants to escape the summer heat should travel to the north of the country. Those who want to experience summer temperatures should head to the south of Laos.

In the winter months,  travel can be extra exciting. From  November through to January the feel of the crisp cool air is pure joy. The picturesque backdrop of the mountains and cooler daytime temperatures are added bonuses of winter travel.

Along with my wife and a few friends we enjoyed a road trip around the country.

Mr Duangphachanh Luangnikone, a 50-year-old resident of Vientianne likes to travel. Last week he went with his family to Champassak.

“Many people do not want to stay at home over the weekend as it gets boring,” he said.

“But I have not seen all of the country’s provinces as my meagre monthly salary is a hurdle,” said Mr Luangnikone.

So far, he has been to Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Xayaboury, Oudomxay, Luang Namtha, Champassak, Savannakhet and Khammuan provinces.

Mr Duangphachanh drove around in his car and visited Champassak province. After an eight-hour drive – nearly 700 km from Vientiane – he arrived in the evening.The goal was to eat fresh fish at Khonephapheng waterfall.

“The next morning – a Saturday - we hurried to see the waterfall, about 100km from the town in Pakxe district,” he recalled.

There were several eateries near the Khonephapheng waterfall. Visitors can place orders from an extensive menu which offers a variety of fish dishes.

On the way to Champassak province, along South 13 Road, across the river between Khammuan and Savannakhet provinces – is a favourite point for a stopover. Almost everyone travelling on this road stops here, as Champassak is still a long way away.

The fish that is sold in these restaurants is as delicious as the shops in the Khonephapheng waterfall of Champassak province, because the fish is sourced from Xebangfay and Mekong Rivers.

Touring to the north or south is a happy experience. The road is steep and winding in the north, and travellers are treated to the awesome beauty of the green hillsides.

Many people do not like the idea of going there by road. They fear they will suffer motion sickness because of the steep uphill climb.

“I have never felt ill because I talk too much as we drive along the north and south of the country,” Mr Duangphachanh revealed.

He suggested that if people do not feel like talking, they should sleep during the travel, especially when driving around the north of the country.

Most people in Laos own cars and the travel to various provinces is not as big a hurdle as it was say 20 years ago.

Last year, Laos observed the Visit Laos Year 2018. The current year has been marked as the Visit Laos-China Year.