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The AFAR Guide to Laos

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057 photisarath RD Ban That Luang, Luang Prabang, Laos, Laos
I took this photo while visiting Luang Prabang, which is the 3rd largest city in Laos and used to be the capital. The entire city has been named a world heritage site due to its beautiful valley and river setting, the quality of life and the...
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13, Vang Vieng, Laos
Vang Vieng could be considered a touristy town, but don't hold that against it. It's a magical place, and if you don't find it floating down the river, rent a bicycle and head straight out into the countryside. This image was taken after climbing...
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Luang Prabang, Laos
For some the Mekong is for travel, for others the Mekong will provide commerce. At night when crowds disperse and mosquitoes fall asleep a walk down to the Mekong River near central Luang Prabang is well worth the view. The serpentine river carves...
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Huay Xai, Laos
While in Laos I did a jungle trek into the Bokeo Reserve, then spent three days ziplining from treehouse to treehouse. We would sleep up in the canopy and every morning and evening our meals would come zipping in.
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Vientiane, Laos
I arrived in Vientiane towards the end of the rainy season and while that sounds slightly undesirable, I haven't minded one bit. Aside from the mud on the small side roads, the rain actually provides a nice relief to the blaring hot and humid...
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On our way back from the village school we were visiting north of Luang Prabang, our driver asked if we could stop at a tourist market where they sell their local tonic of Laos moonshine filled with snakes and other critters as well as handmade...
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Muang Ngoy, Laos
Meung Ngoi, Laos: This was my favorite village in all of Laos, and possibly of my whole 5 month trip through Southeast Asia. This tiny town is only accessible by boat, no fresh water, no internet, and electricity for only 3 hours/night (bring your...
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Vang Vieng, Laos
After hearing the horror stories of drunk high-school graduates floating on inner-tubes from bar to bar, I was determined not to visit Laos’ Vang Vieng. I didn’t come half-way around the world to hang out in bars watching Friends. But, as fate...
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Luang Prabang, Laos
Hundreds of Kongming lanterns, or wishing lanterns, illuminated the night sky of Luang Prabang on New Year's Eve. The center of town turned into one big party centered around the night market. Festivities included a lot of bad karaoke music and a...
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Ban Phong Pheng Village, Luang Prabang 06000, Laos
South East Asia is hot and humid. So finding this little Swimming pool and bar was a lifesaver when my wife and I were traveling through Luang Prabang, Laos. We walked from central Luang P. but if it is too hot or you're not up for the exercise...
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Mekong Riverside Road, Ban Horxieng, Luang Prabang 856 71, Laos
The morning market in Luang Prabang is bursting at the seams with culinary curious - some you may indeed want to put in your mouth, and others, well - others you'll need to see for yourself. Luang Prabang is the busiest tourist destination in...
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73/5, Luang Prabang, Laos
The shamanic Tai-Lao people mastered the ikat tie-dye technique centuries ago, weaving a single, continuous silk thread into exquisitely patterned scarves. This three-day class gives the literal ins and outs of the process, from cocoon silk...
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Sisavangvong Road, Luang Prabang, Laos
Wat Mai, Luang Prabang, Laos. Rubbing shoulders with tangerine-robed monks in Laos is one of the best parts about any visit to Luang Prabang. The young monks are often eager to converse with respectful visitors; this young fellow peppered me with...
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Somewhere between Ban Sopjam and Muang Ngoi Neua on the Nam Ou, our guide, Vita, brings in the net.
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Mekong River
Life still largely revolves around the Mekong River in the sleepy town of Luang Prabang and its neighboring villages. The best way to take it all in is with a sunset boat ride. Bribe your driver with a few cans of Beerlao and he might let you sit...
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cnr Th Sisavangvong & Th Kitsarat, Luang Prabang, Laos
Aimed primarily at tourists, the Night Market sets up each evening along a few blocks of Thanon Sisavangvong. Lining both sides of the street, with a section down the middle, stalls offer a plethora of souvenirs, from cotton shopping bags and...
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Luang Prabang, Laos
Most visitors don't associate Laos with luxury - until they spend a little time in Luang Prabang. Villa Deux Rivieres sits at the conflux of - you guessed it - two rivers - and offers a wonderful respite from the banana pancake trail. This is a...
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Luang Namtha, Laos
The buses are unpredictable when traveling through Laos. Once I asked how long it might take to get to the next town and they said "3-7 hours" I asked, "Why such a big range?" They said "you'll see" I've been on buses where it's broken down twice...
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Vientiane, Laos
The sleepy city of Vientiane gets part of it's charm from the many wats (temples) found throughout the city. While the wats themselves are wonderfully intricate and stunning, I find myself curious about what goes on behind those walls that we...
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Historic District, Luang Prabang, Laos
You haven't done Asia until you've done a temple stay - so sayeth a snobby backpacker I once met. I hate to admit it, but that snobby backpacker was on to something; nothing replicates the experience of breaking bread with a monk, discussing the...
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Khong Lor, a 7.5 km cave in Laos: I've been to the long cave in Palawan, Philippines, known as the "longest underground river in the world" and Khong Lor was 10 times better. It's more difficult to get to, which made it less crowded. The cave...
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75, Oupalath Khamboua Road, Ban That Luang Village, ຫຼວງພະບາງ 843300, Laos
The latest sign that Luang Prabang, the once-undiscovered UNESCO World Heritage city on the Mekong River, now fully caters to upscale tastes, Villa Maly is in the former residence of Prince Khamtan, grandson of a 19th-century Lao king. The hotel’s...