Travel

Traveling ASEAN, Part 3: Where to Go, Where to Stay, and What to Do in Laos

I couldn’t wait to

get this one posted. Coming off of Thailand, Laos topped off my nine-day, three country escapade through ASEAN (Association of Southeastern Asian Nations) in September and it ended up being one of the most adventurous trips I’ve ever been on. We crossed the Thai border in Huay Xai over to Laos and immediately began our two-day river cruise down the Mekong River. It’s a popular ride to take for many tourists, but beware: there’s no Internet or service, and the boats don’t boast much comfort (besides delicious homemade meals by the boat owners), so be prepared to zone out, catch up on some Zzz’s, or read a few books. All boats have to stop before sunset and a popular city to do so is Pakbeng complete with local hostels, hotels, shopping, and bars. Overall, it’s quite a peaceful journey and you get to experience the country in some an off-the-beaten path way (literally). And if you can have your boat stop at local villages to experience how people live or support the local villagers’ economy by shopping for beautiful textiles along the way, it’s an added bonus.



In partnership with ASEAN (Association of Southeastern Asian Nations). I was a guest of ASEAN and the Laos government, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I will definitely make my way back to Luang Prabang again. I was unexpectedly surprised to see so much character in such a small, little town. In fact, I almost felt like I was back in time in the 1700’s. We arrived at our hotel, Parasol Blanc, toward the late afternoon straight from our river boat ride and got ready for dinner and drinks with — I kid you not — the same newlyweds whom we ran into in Chiang Mai from the Spanish wedding a few weeks prior! We finished up the evening shopping at the night market where I picked up my new favorite pants (Thai fishermans pants) and a traditional linen shirt, which ended up being my outfit of choice for the majority of my stay there.

Talun Zeitoun in Luang Prabang, Laos



The next day, we rode bikes through town (so fun), stopped by the local market filled with all kinds of produce and “meats” (I’ll let your mind wander on that one), toured the former Royal Palace (where we ran into my newlywed friends again!), and finally made our way to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfalls. This ended up being the highlight of our trip, and I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Kuang Si Waterfall
Kuang Si Waterfalls

One place we didn’t have time for was the Kuang Si Butterfly Park, but we got a little taste of it by the falls since the butterflies like to pay a visit. If you go to Luang Prabang, put the the falls on your need-to-do list relatively early in the day so you can have time for the butterfly park. I’m sure it would’ve been magical. And I’ll know soon enough as I’ll definitely be back to this beautiful country.