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Laos In: Travelers’ Imagination and Reality

It is not oversaying to cite that Laos is Southeast Asia’s best-kept secret. Things that we know about this country are too little, while the stories are so much to tell. Travelers still have a lot of imaginations towards Laos instead of experiences. And not all of them are correct. So it’s time to revise your preconceptions about this culturally and naturally rich nation!

Let’s see which are the differences between your imaginations and reality.

Your Imagination: Laos food might be too… Lao?

Many travelers may think that Laos cuisine would be too exotic. You can imagine about slightly outlandish-sounding dishes like buffalo skin and swallow meat, and even some people consider filling their luggage with cup noodles!

Reality: A comforting hodgepodge of Asian flavors

You’d be surprised to know that Thai food is very heavily influenced by Lao cuisine. For instance, the sticky rice that you see so often in Thai dishes is a staple in Laos and often preferred to steamed rice. The food in Laos also shows traces of its other neighboring countries like China, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia resulting in flavors that aren’t quite the generic Asian foods we know so far, but somewhat familiar nonetheless.

Your imagination: The whole country is still rather undeveloped and rural

Laos is famous for its authentic landscape, and The nature of Laos is always described that “be untouched” by the modern forces. Is it another way to say “undeveloped” and “rural”. Many people are not sure whether they can travel by… car between Laos provinces.

Reality: Vientiane is a roaringly dynamic capital!

Gorgeous natural landscapes aside, the capital of Laos is all manicured greenery and stately looking buildings. While Laos as a whole may not be completely decked out with the latest technology and infrastructure, it’s certainly well on its way.

Your Imagination: You will face many difficulties in communication as you are not sure about Laotian languages

The natural assumption is that in such an insular country, everyone in Laos will speak Lao or some ethnic dialect. Travelers will assume that they have to fall back to the age-old mode of communication: wild charades and exaggerated hand gestures.

Reality: The people of Laos are probably more multilingual than you

Since Laos was previously colonized by the French, the language is still taught in many schools and a large number of the population still speak it. English is also spoken, especially by the younger people, and you will more or less get by with shopkeepers!

Your imagination: Is it “sightseeing all day” on every Laos trips?

You may think that with so many majestic stupas, temples, and Buddha statues, the most exciting thing that you’ll be doing in Laos is perhaps a sedentary cruise down the Mekong river. But don’t resign yourself to a holiday wherein the thrill factor plateaus at getting a boat with a more powerful motor because…

Reality: There are a plethora of fun activities for you to do all around Laos

Quad biking, hot air ballooning, water activities, hiking, you name it, they probably have it! Laos has been seeing an influx of tourists and they’ve risen to the occasion, with a lot of vendors offering day trip packages complete with fun activities.