Number four on our list is the country of Laos. Laos is a landlocked country east of Vietnam with a population of 6.7 million people. The capital city of Vientiane is by far it’s largest city with 210,000 inhabitants; over twice as many as the second most populated city of Pakxe. Laos civilization is one of the oldest in the world. An ancient fossilized scull was found in the Tam Pa Ling cave in the Annamite Mountains that dates back over 20,000 years.
The most frequently traveled and said by many to be South East Asia’s most beautiful location, Luang Prabang is a must visit location. Luang Prabang was the ancient royal capital of the Lan Xang Kingdom until 1545. In the heart of the town’s historical district are ancient royal palaces and over 33 Wats (or Temples). It wasn’t until 1989 that the government opened it’s doors to tourism. Now it is a hotbed for for visitors throughout South East Asia.
The capital city of Vientiane’s most famous location is the Pha That Luang or the Great Stupa; is a national symbol and the countries most sacred Temple. It stands 148 feet tall and is covered in gold leaf. Pha That Luang according to some estimation dates back to the 3rd century but the current Temple was built by King Setthathirat in 1566 on the site of a 13th century Khmer ruin. Every November Buddhist from all over Laos and other near-by countries to come to the annual Boun That Luang Festival. The three day festival is the most important Buddhist celebration in Laos.
Buddha Park (pictured above) is an amazingly beautiful park with over 200 Buddhist and Hindu sculptures. Surprisingly the park is fairly new. It was built in 1958 by Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat who studied both Hindu and Buddhism, which explains the mix of both types of sculptures. If you head back to the entrance of the park that is by the river their is an eatery their that serves fresh local snacks.
The Plain of Jars in the province of Xieng Khouang is home to a large area of stone carved jars that date back about 2000 years. They range in size from very small to over 11 feet. No one knows exactly who made them and why they are here. Legend has it they were carved to store rice wine or possibly the bodies of the dead. It is still disputed to this day.
For such a small country there are so many things to see and do while you are here. Laos has all the beauty of it’s more popular neighboring countries of Thailand and Vietnam without the heavy tourism (yet). As of late last year, there are now several new airlines flying into Laos so now is the perfect time to see this historically beautiful country.