Posts in Lao PDR
a comprehensive guide to visas for U.S. citizens traveling Southeast Asia: how to get your visa for Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, + Myanmar in 2019

Southeast Asia is popular for tourists thanks to its affordability, wild landscapes, and the appeal of its “exotic”-ness. It’s because of this, knowing that many people want to travel this part of the world, that I decided to but together a detailed guide on visas for U.S. Citizens traveling through the region. I’ve also included Myanmar, since I was intimidated by the rumours I had heard about strict visa policies. I thought including it might help others rest assured it isn’t impossible.

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Orange Robe Tours: culturally appropriate tours that give back in Luang Prabang, Laos

In Luang Prabang, there are more social enterprises, non-profits, and giveback-businesses than you might believe for such a small town, and that number only seems to be growing. Cafés like Saffron, textile shops like Ock Pop Tok, and tours like Orange Robe Tours all add to the Luang Prabang community.

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how responsible tourism can help support minority communities in northern Laos

Laos is home to an estimated 42 ethnic minority communities. Most travelers get glimpses of Khmu, Hmong, and Lao Lum culture, but very rarely do people journey up north where the Akha, Oma, and Lanten people live. During my trip to Luang Namtha Province with Luang Namtha Tourism, I was given the unique opportunity to learn more about these ethnic minority cultures in Laos in an initiative with the tourism board to broaden the economic opportunities of these communities through the tourism industry.

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kayaking the Nam Ha River in Laos: why you cannot miss this northern adventure

If you’re into travel adventures that combine local knowledge, community-based tourism initiatives, and physical activity, and rugged nature— kayaking the Nam Ha River in northern Laos is the next destination you should put on your itinerary.

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trekking in Laos: everything you need to know before hiking the Nam Ha Biodiversity Conservation Area in Luang Namtha, Laos

Luang Namtha Province in northwest Laos is filled with natural landscapes and cultural diversity, making it an ideal place for ecotourism. Especially since it is home to the Nam Ha Biodiversity Conservation Area and various outdoor tourism initiatives.

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20 tips + facts for your first trip to Laos

Planning your first trip to Laos might feel a bit daunting, since information is hard to find online or is missing altogether. Thanks to my extensive time in the country, I’ve put together a list of 20 tips and facts about Laos that will help you know what to expect, what to pack, and how to prepare for the exciting journey ahead! Visitors tend to pass through on their way to one of its more well-known neighboring countries. I’ve often read blogs about Laos and felt frustrated by the lack of quality and correct information on the web. That’s why I’m hoping my blog is a space with thorough information, maps, and all the details travelers need. And, in regards to Laos, I’m hoping guides like these will help first-time travelers feel prepped and ready.

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how to spend 48 hours in Luang Namtha, Laos: where to eat, what to see, + where to stay

Luang Namtha is the main city in Luang Namtha Province. Confusing, I know. It’s mostly known as a stopover town for backpackers crossing over from Thailand into Laos. However, I was recently invited by Luang Namtha Tourism with a small group of travel writers and bloggers to promote tourism in northwest Laos. After spending a week in the district and seeing all its main city has to offer, I feel as though Luang Namtha is highly underrated as a destination for cultural and ecological tourism.

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a weekender's guide to Vientiane, Laos : how to see the best of the Laotian capital in 48 hours

I’m going to say something that, as an advocate of slow and thorough travel, I normally would not say: 48 hours in Vientiane is probably all you really need. You can, obviously, spend more time there, but it is entirely possible to see the major tourist highlights over the span of a weekend and still have some spare time on your hands. Here’s my guide for what not to miss no matter how much {or how little} time you chose dedicate to the capital city of Laos.

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Tad Thong Waterfalls in Luang Prabang: the abandoned waterfalls you don’t want to miss

Tad Thong Waterfalls is likely a place you’ve never heard of, and don’t feel bad about that! Most people come to Luang Prabang with a short bucket list that includes the stunning {albeit crowded} Kuang Si Waterfalls. Laos has no shortage of waterfalls to explore and visitors shouldn’t limit themselves to only the most visually appealing and well-known. Those looking for a crowd-less cascade of water off-the-beaten-path should head to Tad Thong Waterfalls for a jungle trek and fresh water to cool-off in. It’s also a great place to play “Jane looking for Tarzan” in.

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the Chomphet hike: hidden temples + trails in Chomphet District, Laos

While Luang Prabang may not be known for its hiking the way that Vang Vieng is, it only takes a ferry ride across the Mekong to find quality trekking in Chomphet. The ferry ride to the “Chomphet Hike” trailhead takes only a few minutes, but the difference between the city and its neighbouring village will make you feel like you’ve traveled hours. Chomphet’s side of the Mekong is much less developed and significantly less visited, making the hike an easy detour from tourist congestion. Though you won’t find tourists on the hike, you will discover five different temples, including Wat Long Khoune, and side of local life in Laos many visitors miss out on.

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homestay highlight: Vanvisa At The Falls in Luang Prabang, Laos

As a total surprise to me {and I can count the number of times I’ve actually been surprised on two hands}, I was told only to pack an overnight bag and swimwear, I was at an absolute loss for what to expect. Whisked away on the back of a motorbike, I was more and more confused as we got further and further south. Surely, we were heading to the waterfalls? But…there’s no place to stay the night at the waterfalls? I WAS CONFUSED. We pulled up near the gate of Kuang Si and took a turn down a dirt alleyway. Pulling up to an area filled with open seating and pools of teal water I’d never seen before, Luke jumped off the bike and said, “We’re here.” And that’s how our time at the hidden hotel I’d never heard of in all my time in Laos started— the Vanvisa At The Falls Homestay Resort.

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Mekong Kingdoms Sunset Cruise: the sunset cruise in Luang Prabang you cannot miss

Right before the daylight dips behind the jungle-covered mountains of Luang Prabang, tourists sit on the banks of the Mekong to witness the end of the day that was. Basking in the golden light of the low-hanging sun, Luang Prabang steps fully into its best self. It’s because of this, its “unspeakable beauty” as the late Anthony Bourdain put it, that sunset cruises along the Mekong River has become a “must-do” for most travelers visiting this tiny UNESCO town.

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Tamarind Cooking School in Luang Prabang, Laos: what to expect from the community-minded cooking class

Long-time readers of this blog will know, ya girl is a fan of cooking classes. I think there are so many benefits to learning about the cuisine of a culture. So, when I was asked to check out Tamarind cooking school to see what they’re evening classes offer guests in Luang Prabang, I was over the moon.

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an expat's guide to non-Lao food in Luang Prabang

I’m all for eating the local cuisine. For one thing, it’s delicious and a door to deeper cultural understanding. Finally, it’s much cheaper! Where you might pay USD $5 for falafel pita here, you’ll pay USD $1.66 for a heaping plate of yellow noodles with veggies and chilis. However, when you live or stay anywhere long enough you need a little variety. This post promises to provide a comprehensive list of eateries where you can get your non-Lao food fix!

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should you visit Pak Ou Caves: what to expect + why I was underwhelmed

Pak Ou Caves are one of Luang Prabang’s most famous tourist attractions. Limestone caves sitting alongside the Mekong as a place of pilgrimage for over a thousand years sounds like magic, amirite?

But, I simply wasn’t as dazzled as everyone else.

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renting a motorbike in Laos: questions to ask + things to consider

Wind in your hair. Dust on your face. Sun at your back. Freedom as far as the road extends. That’s the beauty of a motorbike. Renting one is popular with tourists, but there are many things they should consider before they hop on two wheels for a joy ride through a beautiful country like Laos.

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a dairy doing good: Laos Buffalo Dairy in Luang Prabang, Laos

For such a small little town in the middle of a country no one talks much about, there are a number of social enterprises doing big things in Luang Prabang. One of these important businesses is Laos Buffalo Dairy.

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the ultimate café guide to Luang Prabang: where to find the cutest cafés + the best coffee

This cafe guide includes local joints, social enterprises, and some of the more expensive but aesthetically pleasing spots in Luang Prabang to grab your morning caffeine intake— something for everyone.

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Nahm Dong Park: the secret oasis you never knew about in Luang Prabang, Laos

An eco-tourism haven, Nahm Dong Park is an oasis you’ve probably never even heard about right outside the city limits of Luang Prabang. Don’t worry, I knew nothing about it either! Until one day, paint fumes of a newly renovated office space dizzying my head and fingers hurting from whipping out writing work, it was suggested that I hop on the back of a motorbike and head to Nahm Dong.

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gyms, spas, + yoga retreats: a wellness guide to Luang Prabang, Laos

Staying fit, healthy, and well while traveling can be a challenge, but it’s also a vital part of being a happy traveler. When you feel better, you have more energy to explore! Working on {consistent} wellness has become more of a priority for me recently. If you’re in Luang Prabang and unsure where to start, look no further— I got you!

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