Laid back Laos
Check the video below.
My travels in Lao I started in Luang Prabang an ancient but small city. Has an international airport direct connection with China and Vietnam. Because of the horror stories by taking a night bus from Hanoi to Luang Prabang/Lao I took a cheap flight. Luang Prabang lies near the Mekong river and has several great highlights such as several temples, imperial palace and one of the most beautiful waterfalls where you can swim in: Kuang Si Waterfall
Phonsavan & Muang Kham
Phonsavan is the most and heavily bombed region during the Vietnam war. Because of the bombings in North Vietnam the NVA (North Vietnamese Army and the Vietcong in the south in Cambodia) took shelter in Lao and took a different route on the Ho Chi Minh trail. Lao is the most heavily bombed country in the world. 30 % of the bombs did not explode. Even today there are still casualties of war of UXO (Unexploded Ordnance). In this region you find the mythical plain of jars. Stone jars of 1 up to 5 meters lies random on several fields in huge numbers. The archeologists can not tell who made this and what the purpose is of this ancient artefact.
Muang Kham visit was a nice one on my motorbike. 50 km one way with small villages of minority groups, caves and waterfalls. Even at the end I got a flat tyre.
If you travel Laos most of the time you follow the Mekong River what is also a border with Thailand and in the south with Cambodia. The first time I saw the Mekong River was in Vientiane on the opposite side of the river you can see Thailand. Vientiane is a very laidback town you don’t have the feeling it’s a capital. More a small province or district city. That make the entire city very unique in it approach to street life.
Thakhek (3 day motorbike loop)
I also did a motorbike loop in Thakhek. It is not that spectacular like the Ha Giang loop in Vietnam. However it is worth and fun to ride. I went counter clockwise through the Phu Hin Bun national park. The first day I pass and visit a lot of caves and enter the flooded woods area. And stay over night in Thalang. The second day was entering the high karts mountains and following the river in the valley up to Konglor Cave (named after the village). Konglor is very unique and I have been to Phong Nha in Vietnam it is just that big and maybe even bigger. It is totally worth it to go. 2 hours pitch black cave on a tail boat through the other side and back. I stay this night in the Spring River Resort very nice place I wish I could stay longer. The 3rd day was boring because 2/3 of the trip is riding back to Thakhek on the highway but I goes over one nice mountain pass with a very nice view.
Before going to Pakse (famous of its Bolovan plateau) I went through the night in a local bus to the 4000 islands also known as Si Phan don. This is at the border with Cambodia. The mountains around the 4000 islands are all belongs to Cambodia. A very chill and laid back area. The Mekong river widens up and split up and goes around several islands and rocks (doubt actually if there are really 4000 islands…). Because a part of the islands are on the plateau and the other part of the islands lies lower so there is a whole line of powerful rapid currents and stream impossible go in a boat. I stay on the south side of Don Det because it is very laid back instead of the party side in the north of Don Det. The South part is connected with an old French (rail) bridge to Don Khon. The most interesting part of those two islands you can find on Don Khon. If you visit this islands I warn you: you never want to leave.
Pakse & Bolaven plateau
However there is another motorbike loop but less impressive that’s the Pakse motorbike loop. My last stop was just for a couple of days Pakse and do some daytours on a motorbike on the Bolaven plateau. Amazing and stunning nature with impressive waterfalls especially the Tad Fane waterfall a huge hole with a waterdrop of 120 meters. I’ve also to Wat Phou – national heritage site but during my visit there was a festival: the Full Moon festival (and that is NOT the same like in Thailand). They celebrate the moon cycle with a lot of food, drink and prayers