A laid-back approach is best when visiting Laos. This Asian country really has a slow-paced feel, even in its capital city of Vientiane. This is a land of rice paddys and caves, Buddha statues and monks, temples and elephant rides. Laid-back? Maybe not.
If scenery is what you've come to Laos for, you'll want to see Mt. Phousi whose panoramic views give you the best the country has to offer. The zip wire view along the canopy of the BaKeo Nature Reserve could rival it any day of the week.
When elephants are what you want, the Boloven Plateau is where to go. An elephant ride isn't something most people get to do everyday, so enjoy it. You can get elephant rides in the UNESCO town of Luang Prabang, where you'll also find centuries old Buddha statues, a Royal palace, and monks.
Getting to Luang Prabang is easy, as its airport has flights coming in from Vientiane, Bangkok, Siem Reap, and Ha Noi. A motorcycle or bicycle is the best mode of transportation in Laos, while metered taxis are available in cities like Vientiane. Ferries and speedboats, as well as car rentals are available.
All that traveling can make you hungry. Many dishes use sticky rice as a staple--and Lao lao is a rice whisky that pairs nicely with just about everything.
Speaking of rice, the Plain of Jars is a site to behold. Weighing up to six tons, these massive stone jars were believed to hold rice wine.
Just remember to drink only boiled or bottled water; make sure all your meat and veg are cooked; and fruits are peeled.
Eating is more complicated than getting here, believe it or not. All you need is a passport and return ticket to somewhere. Most foreign nationals can get a visa upon arrival--but always best to check before you've left home.
You wouldn't want something as simple as that to keep you from dolphin watching, seeing Khmer Hindu Temples, or shopping for silk and silver, would you? What's worse, you would miss out on getting a locally made Lao sarong, called a pha sin. Everyone'll be counting on you to bring them home as souvenirs.