Laos – the Land of Million Elephants

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The old name of Laos is Lan Xang – Million Elephants.  Laos is a beautiful landlocked country located in Southeast Asia. The country is widely covered by unspoiled diverse and rich tropical and sub-tropical forest.  The official tourism slogan is ”Simply Beautiful”.

Laos, Southeast Asia / image source

Laos, Southeast Asia / image source

The Laos climate is mainly tropical, with a seasonal monsoon and this means the weather is warm, humid and there is a lot of rain in the wet season.

Sigtseeing in Laos

Luang Prabang is a Lao province located in the northern part of the country. The city was formerly the royal capital and seat of the government of the ancient Kingdom of Lane Xang or the Land of Million Elephants.It has natural and historical sites, and it’s well known for its various Buddhist temples, its monks and well-kept culture and traditions.

Sightseeing in Laos, Southeast Asia / image source

Sightseeing in Laos, Southeast Asia / image source

Waterfalls

Laos has some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Southeast Asia. In the north, don’t miss a day at Kuang Si Waterfall, just outside of Luang Prabang. Aqua blue water and swimming holes make this a great excursion. The southern Bolaven plateau has even more waterfalls, as rivers roll off the plateau on all sides, resulting in the country’s highest falls among the dozens of beauties.

Waterfalls Laos, Southeast Asia / image source

Waterfalls Laos, Southeast Asia / image source

The 4000 Islands

Si Phan Don in Champasak are a collection of islands in the Mekong River, in the far south of Laos. The southern islands of Don Dhet and Don Khong are the two most visited.

The stone jars

Located near the Eastern border with Vietnam, the stone jars are found in small clusters. The jars, often weighing as much as 7 tons, appear to have been made at a different place and then moved to their present locations. They are from 3 to 10 feet in height and some span more than a meter in diameter. All are made from very hard stone, mostly granite but some have been carved from sandstone containing quartz, feldspar and mica.

Laos, Southeast Asia / image source

Laos, Southeast Asia / image source

Vang Vieng

This is a small town, located on the Nam Song. Its stunning natural surroundings, the beautiful landscape, the Song river, caves and cliffs make Vang Vieng interesting and popular among turists.

Culture

Most of Laotians are Buddhists. Their official language is lao. The Lao language is a very polite language.

Lao has quite a variety of traditional clothing. Lao women wear silk skirts called sinh, blouses and scarf when they attend important ceremonies. Lao men wear Salong, big large pants or the peasant pants.  Laos is also known for its silver jewelry. Broad, woven cuffs remain a popular style among the Lao, while the Hmong favor elaborate, woven necklaces in the shape of an inverted pyramid as well as large, dangling earrings.

The most distinctive Lao musical instrument is a bamboo mouth organ called a khene. There is an interesting story about this instrument. Woman tried to imitate the sound of the garawek bird. She brought the new instrument to the king, and he said that it is good but he wanted something better. She made some changes and king replied “Tia nee khaen dee” or “this time it was better”. National dance of Laos is Tang Vai.

Laos Monks, Southeast Asia / image source

Laos Monks, Southeast Asia / image source

 Food

One of the groceries of Laos food is sticky rice. As the name reveals this rice naturally sticks together so it is easy to roll into small balls, dip into food and eat with your fingers. A traditional everyday Lao meal is simple and normally consists of rice, some vegetables and at least one of spicy sauce to dip the rice into, plus some fish or meat.

Another daily favorite is noodle soup called feu which is a soup incorporating meat, noodles and vegetables

Laap is made from chopped or thinly sliced meat or fish that is mixed with lime juice, fish sauce, mint, coriander, spring onion, chili and uncooked rice grains that have been dry fried and crushed.

In some parts of the country locals like to eat it raw, particularly fish laap.

Other Lao favourites include papaya salad (a spicy mix of green papaya, lime juice, fish sauce, fresh chilies and peanuts), barbecued fresh fish and grilled meats (often served as small kebabs) and steamed fish or chicken in banana leaves.Tam Mak Hung – Green papaya salad. Similar to the Thai som tam salad more commonly seen outside of Asia, this salad has its roots in Laos and the northest Isaan region of Thailand bordering Laos. The Lao add small pounded eggplants to this salad, and dressed up versions of this salad may include shrimp.

You can get this at street side stalls and at most restaurants.It is served cold and is usually accompanied by sticky rice, Jeow Bong (Lao traditional homemade sauce), peppers and vegetables.

Laab is made from minced meat, fish or vegetables which are tossed with lime juice, garlic, powdered rice, green onions, mint leaves and chilies. Lao also eat a lot of what could be called Chinese food.

Food in Laos, Southeast Asia / image source

Food in Laos, Southeast Asia / image source

 Animals and plants

Some species found only in Laos include the Laotian rock rat, a rodent that has a dark colored fur with a bushy tail similar to a squirrel. They are about 26 cm (10 in) long with a 14 cm (5.5 in) tail and weigh about 400 g (14 oz).  The Annamite roundleaf bat as well as the Khaokhouay roundleaf bat, both microbats with very limited habitats, are also found exclusively in Laos. Roosevelt’s muntjac, sometimes called Roosevelt’s barking deer, can only be found with certainty in Laos.

Laotian Rock Rat, Southeast Asia / image source

Laotian Rock Rat, Southeast Asia / image source

Plants native to the Asiatic jungles include varieties of bamboo, trees such as palms, kapok, mangrove and tualang, as well as edibles such as durian, pomello, fig trees and the sesame shrub. More than several hundred varieties of orchids can also be found in the jungles of Asia as well as varieties of hibiscus, ixora, the jambu and famous giant Rafflesia flower.

Rafflesia Flower, Southeast Asia / image source

Rafflesia Flower, Southeast Asia / image source

Laos is beautiful and peaceful place, friendly people and stunning scenery are unique & priceless.

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