Our Book

2002 Laos

Beautiful Laos, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, is also known as the Land of a Million Elephants. Laos is approximately the same size as Britain with a population of only five million; her neighbours are Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China and Myanmar; 70% is mountainous, 2/3 forested. Laos was populated about 10 000 years ago; the first principalities consolidated in the 13th century; Luang Prabang (now a World Heritage Site) founded in the 14th century. Later Laos fell under Thai suzerainty, then French power, then the Japanese occupation of World War II. It gained independence from the French in 1953. Ongoing conflict internally between royalists, communists and neutralists, exacerbated by the Vietnam War (known in Asia as the American War) led to a communist regime in 1975. Mass migration followed. The 90s saw some economic reforms. Buddhism, despite all, thrives.

My trip in brief and photos: I spent one night in the capital Vientiane – hiring a scooter for 24 hours and braving the manic traffic and appalling pollution. And taking in Buddha Park with its surreal collection of Buddhist and Hindu statues, the Golden Stupa superb against a blue sky, Wat Si Saket – muted and lovely home to 10,000 Buddha statues, and the Victory Monument – constructed from donated cement intended for an airport! Then travelled north to Vang Vieng for a night. This small town is situated on the banks of the Song river against a dramatic backdrop of limestone mountains – and is enjoying an unprecedented tourist boom. Via stunning mountain scenery and tiny bamboo hamlets then further north to Luang Prabang where I spent three nights enjoying the pavement café atmosphere, the amazing temples, a massage at the Red Cross and a dance and costume show. Two days on a hard bench by boat up the Mekong via Pakbeng (one night) to Huay Xai (one night). And across the border then and back to Bangkok. Loved Laos!

Laos Vientiane
Laos Vientiane
Laos Vientiane
Laos Vientiane
Laos Vientiane
Laos Vientiane
Laos Vientiane
Laos Vientiane
Laos Vientiane
Laos Vientiane
Laos Vientiane
Laos Vientiane
Laos Vientiane Buddha Park
Laos Vientiane Buddha Park
Laos Vientiane Buddha Park
Laos Vientiane Buddha Park
Laos Vientiane Buddha Park
Laos Vientiane Buddha Park
Laos Vientiane Great Sacred Stupa
Laos Vientiane Great Sacred Stupa
Laos Vientiane Great Sacred Stupa
Laos Vientiane Great Sacred Stupa
Laos Vientiane Great Sacred Stupa
Laos Vientiane Great Sacred Stupa
Laos Vientiane Great Sacred Stupa
Laos Vientiane Great Sacred Stupa
Laos Vientiane Great Sacred Stupa
Laos Vientiane Great Sacred Stupa
Laos Vientiane Wat Si Saket
Laos Vientiane Wat Si Saket
Laos Vientiane Wat Si Saket
Laos Vientiane Wat Si Saket
Laos Vientiane Wat Si Saket
Laos Vientiane Wat Si Saket
Laos Vientiane Wat Si Saket
Laos Vientiane Wat Si Saket
Laos Vientiane Wat Si Saket
Laos Vientiane Wat Si Saket
Laos Vientiane Wat Si Saket
Laos Vientiane Wat Si Saket
Next Page