Top 10 Tourist Destinations in Laos
Posted on 5/07/2017 9:09:40
Laos is a beautiful country located in the south eastern side of Asia. The country is known for its heritage, tradition, ethnicity and modernity. Officially known as the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, this country is known for its rich storehouse of monasteries, French architecture, hilly terrain, local tribes and other forms of mesmerizing heritage. It is located in the middle of Indochinese peninsula and is bordered by China and Myanmar on the north western side, Vietnam on the eastern side, Cambodia to the south western side and Thailand in the west and southern side. With an average population of 6 million and area of about 237,955 square kilometers, it is the heart of diverse cultures and traditions. Because of these reasons, Laos attracts tourists worldwide. This article endeavors to provide a detailed opinion of the top ten tourist destinations in Laos.
Laos is generally traversed along the bank of the famous Mekong River. This river is one of the many attractions of the place that has won millions of hearts of the tourists. It is a spectacular river and has nonetheless occupied the respectable place among the top ten tourist destinations in Laos. 4,350km long, this river has occupied the place as the twelfth longest river of the world. It has its origin in the Tibetan plateau and flows through Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. The main attraction of the Mekong river tourism is the fact of enjoying the serene beauty of the place, while spending quality time on a big cruise. The cruise covers a journey of 530km, all along the length of the river. It passes through the northern Cambodia, via the Vietnamese capital of Ho Chi Minh. The cruise journey also acquaints you with history, culture, tradition and ethnicity from a very close distance. The platters served in the cruise are delicious. The officials are amiable and gentle. They are always ready to help you. You can brew the famous Vietnamese coffee while basking in the serene beauty of a rising or setting sun. Further while staying in the ship for many days, you will come across some wonderful people and experience. Thus, in a trip to Laos, take one or more day out of your journey and spend that time in the enormous cruises over the Mekong River.
Royal Palace Museum
The Royal Palace Museum, also known as ‘Haw Kham’, is another famous tourist spot in Laos. This museum is situated in a northern province of Laos, named Luang Prabang. The main building has been constructed as late as twentieth century; however the other parts are traced back to a really early era. The museum is an epitome of the turbulent past faced by the Lane Xang kingdom and the colonial days of Laos. Though it was actually the residence of the king of the kingdom, in later times it has been transformed into a museum or a heritage site. In the Royal Palace museum, the various authentic French Beaux-Arts along with the traditional cultural art of Laos is preserved. The palace was opened to the public as a museum only in 1995. The ground of the palace contains numerous other buildings including a new chapel and an exhibition hall. Half of the museum has preserved the total lifestyle of the kings and his families. The preserved heritages include the royal objects for use, the weapons, the screens, statues and paintings from the early eras. There is a spectacular mirrored throne hall that contains jewels of the crowns of the kings of Laos. There is a new pavilion house that contains a 83 centimeters long and 2000 years old gold statue of Prabang Buddha. There is also a garage that contains the various cars that the king hoarded as a collection.
A nominal fee is charged for the entry in the museum. The museum remains open from 8:00 to 11:30 and 13:30 to 16:00, everyday of the week except Tuesday. You have to leave your bags, photographic elements and shoes before entering the museum. These personal belongings are usually kept in a locker. Sometimes dance and drama performances are held in the Royal Theater in the next door. The best time to visit the place is early morning.
Lao National Museum
The Lao national museum is a charming example of French colonialism. The building was totally constructed in a French style. After Laos had gained independence in 1945, the building had been used as the government headquarters and also the place for the king, when he visited from Prabang Luang. This continued up till 1975 and in the beginning of 1980, the building had been transformed into a museum hall. The museum contains some 8,000 artifacts. These artifacts include materials from paleontology, history, ethnology and archaeology. There are collections that represent a revolutionary zeal and enthusiasm. There are certain aspects from Khmer culture along with some ancient tools and Buddha statues. In the upper stairs, there are some magnificent displays, telling the story of Pathet Lao, prepared with the busts of Lenin and Ho Chi Minh. The museum is open every day and the timing is from 8:00 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 16:00.
Wat Xieng Thong
Wat Xieng Thong is a perfect example of spectacular Lao temple architecture. It is located in Luang Prabang , in the form a sweeping two-tiered roof and decorative mosaics. These decorative mosaics include a beautiful tree of life, in the front temple wall that portrays the story of the foundation of the temple. The Laos myth states that the temple was founded by two hermits who decided to build a sanctuary beside this tree, especially where the river met. The story continues inside the temple, where Dharma wheels are carved in ceilings. There are many relics found in the temple. There is a beautiful Buddha image carved during the reign of king Setthathirat that is displayed in the Red Chapel. Other places of interest in the Wat Xieng temple are the Tripitaka library, the drum tower, and the ordination hall. The funeral carriage, which once was taken out in the road, containing royal ashes is yet another spectacular object to watch. The statue of the Naga king, guarding the ash and other mythological statues indeed make the place a very interesting tourist spot. The opening hour of the temple is from 8:00 to 17:00, daily.
Four Thousand Islands
Si Phan Don or the four thousand islands in Myanmar is yet another spectacular tourist spot. It consists of a group of islands on the Mekong river. Amongst these islands, Don Khong is considered to be the biggest island. It is true that apart from enjoying the scenic beauty, there is nothing much to do in the Four Thousand islands. Most of the tourists are attracted to Don Khong where there are provisions for biking, swimming and walking by the Mekong Falls. There are also provisions for beach party and boating. This place is mainly visited for enjoying a total relaxation for few days. Enjoy the platters like garlic breads, banana pancakes but do not try the pizzas. Amongst the drinks, you can take the beer Lao and the fruit shakes. The cost of the tickets are about 8.5$ while the cost of renting a bike is about 10,000 Laotian Kips.
Champasak Provincial Museum
The Champasak Provincial Museum is located in Pakse. This Museum can be travelled by taking a tuktuk or public transport from the centre of the city. It is yet another mesmerizing tourist site. It can be considered as the insight into the history of Laos. The museum consists of two storeys. The lower storey contains the relics of ancient people. You will be able to see the farming tools, the ornaments the ancient tribes wore, their dresses and many such things. There are also various musical instruments and lintels and statues. The upper floor mainly preserves the remains of the Siamese rule. The entry fee to this museum is about 3000 kips per person. The opening hours range from 8:00 to 16:00, operating from Monday to Friday.
Plain of Jars
For tourists wanting to find enigma and adventure, the Plain of Jars in Laos is the right place to visit. It contains the remnants of the civilizations some 2000 years back. The place is nothing but an uncanny collection of cylindrical rock pieces scattered over a vast area. Sometimes they are considered to be the remains of some lost city. They are also believed to have been created by the Indian travelling tribes and they look totally like some Asian stone henge. Many people consider it to be some aspect of funeral rites. Others consider it to be the remains from a fierce warfare. Nonetheless it is an exciting place that demands a visit. A total of 15$ is enough to make a trip, including the lunch.
Buddha park, also known as Xieng Khuan is located in Vientine. This is a famous sculpture park containing some ravishing structures, including a statue of reclining Buddha which is 40 centimeters high. Other sculptures include the sculpted figurine of Indra, the king god of Hindu mythology, riding three headed elephants. Another sculpture is there of a four armed deity riding a horse and an artistic sculpture of a deity with twelve faces and many hands, each hand holding something interesting. The sculptures show some real genius in art not only because their colossal size but also because of their minute detailing. The tourists usually devour the charm of the sculptures. There is a cafeteria where, after visiting the park, they relax. The popular snacks are papaya salad, Lao beer and fruit shakes. The fee of entry is nominal. The park is open from 8:00 to 18:00, everyday.
Mount Phousi is located in Luang Prabang. It is about 150cm above the leveled land of the place, creating a distinct skyline of the place. The mountain is usually ascended and descended, taking halts in between, under temples and other relaxing areas. Moreover the top of the mountain provides a distinct 360 degree view to the whole Luang Prabang. You can enjoy the sunrise or the sunset against Mekong River, from this region. The places of interest are usually the Wat Tham Phousi shrine, which contains spectacular stautes of reclining Buddha and a big bellied Buddha nestled in a grotto. On the topmost part of this mountain is located Wat Chomsi. You should bring sufficient water bottles and insect repellent cream with you. The admission charge is modest. The best time to visit the mountain is in the late afternoon providing provisions to enjoy the sunset. The opening hour is not particular but it is advisable to visit it during daytime.
The Savannakhet dinosaur museum in Laos has a mixed review regarding the importance of the place. Very few people have suggested the place to be not so crucial to include in the list of top ten tourist destination of Laos. However majority have agreed that it is a very spectacular place that should be visited. It is a sort of educational museum which is very interesting. The museum contains dinosaur bones and meteors. The museum contains two rooms packed with technology and archaeological remaining and science. The entry fee is about 5000 kips. There is an environmental office also. There are some colonial houses around the place. The museum, packed with science is an interesting spot especially for children. You will get to know many things about science and origins especially about the origins of dinosaurs of various types.