Laos is serene, gorgeous and a must for all Southeast Asia travelers. Landlocked by Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, China, and Vietnam, it stands as a country that is usually visited as an extension of a trip from nearby countries.
Here are five things for every lady to know before going to Laos:
1. So many drugs. Much like Cambodia, drugs are technically illegal, but there are people on every corner offering marijuana, opium, whatever you want. The prices are pretty low, so indulgence in right there if you want it, but the whole scenario is straight out of a bad ‘80s movie: a man on a dark corner, hissing broken English a price and then sending you to someone else to pick up your stash. And I’m sure we’ve all seen an episode of Locked Up Abroad, so my suggestion is just to abstain completely.
2. The capital is a small town. Vientiane, the capital, has nary a car and is completely silent at night. If you have a hankering for a lively nightlife, Vientiane is not for you. You can cover the capital in a day easily, but if you crave a quiet getaway and super slow wifi, consider staying a few extra days.
3. Laos will test your patience for other foreigners. Vang Vieng sometimes feels like 90% of the population is Westerners. Loud, overbearing, blacked out foreigners! And Luang Prubang is overcrowded with slow-walking tourists oohing and ahhing over all the temples. Getting up at dawn to give a tribute to the monks is worth it, but much like the capital, you can cover it in a day. On a more positive note, you can probably meet plenty of people willing to help you plan your trip or offer a lot of suggestions if you’re not sure what to do next.
4. Practice your photography. If nothing else, Laos is incredibly scenic. It’s a great place to finally figure out your camera’s settings and try to capture Laos’ beauty.
5. Rent a bike! Renting bikes is the best way to see the countryside without having to endure hairpin turns at the hands of a bus driver. Don’t forget to slather yourself in bug spray beforehand!
Finally, and this is the same as all throughout Asia: bring all your trusted meds and period stuff and then some. And if you get really sick, head back to Thailand; medical help in Laos is not going to get you very far.
What do you suggest for a successful Laos trip?