Saturday, September 18, 2021

Things To Do in Laos

AsiaLaosThings To Do in Laos
  • Sauna with herbs. The herbal sauna is a Laotian experience that should not be missed. These are simple-looking things, typically simply a decrepit bamboo hut with a stove and a water pipe on one side, usually open only in the nights and frequently operated by temples (but not always). The typical visit process is as follows:
  • First, enter and pay. The going cost is about 10,000 kip, plus around 40,000 kip for a massage.
  • Go to the locker room, remove your clothing, and wrap yourself in a sarong (usually provided).
  • Head over to the shower or water pail in one corner and wash up, keeping yourself modestly sarong-clad.
  • Take a deep breath and enter the sauna chamber. Inside, it’ll be dark, hot, and steamy, with strong herbal smells of lemongrass and whatever the sauna master is cooking up that day, and you’ll start sweating excessively right away.
  • When you’ve had your fill, go outdoors, drink a cup of weak tea, and marvel at how the tropical heat of the day has transformed into something cold and pleasant.
  • Hiking. Hiking in the mountains of Northern Laos is popular, and homestays in minority tribal communities are common. Luang Namtha is the primary center for this, with the two-day Ban Nalan Trail being particularly noteworthy. The itinerary passes via Nam Ha National Protected Area and includes overnight stays in Khmu communities. Oudomxay, south of Luang Namtha, and Pakse, in southern Laos, are two more trekking hotspots.
  • Kayaking. It is possible to set up in a variety of places. Kayaking the Mekong between Luang Prabang and Vientiane is an option for the adventurous tourist.
  • Rock climbing is popular in Northern Laos because of the limestone karst structures. Vang Vieng is the major rock climbing destination, although Nong Khiaw and Mung Ngoi are also worth a visit.
  • Tubing. One of the highlights of the Southeast Asia backpacker circuit is floating down the river on a big inflatable tube. The Nam Song’s famous Vang Vieng section is surrounded with pubs that entice you and your tube in with ziplines, water slides, loud music, buckets of bad local whiskey, and limitless Beerlao. In August 2012, after several tourist fatalities, crackdowns against Vang Vieng tubing were launched. Many river bars, as well as their flying foxes and rope swings, have been shuttered since then. Tubing is still an option, although it’s more quieter now. It remains to be seen if this is a long-term or short-term effect. Tubing is also available in other parts of Laos, such as Si Phan Don, Nong Khiaw, and Mung Ngoi.
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