IMG_8304Laos is a very peaceful country to visit with smiling, welcoming locals, and plenty of natural beauty to explore.Luang Prabang is the focal point for our fascinating cultural adventures in the region. We’ll visit with a local family in their home for a baci welcoming ceremony, a Lao tradition for centuries, strolling the pleasant, traffic-free streets and alleys of the old city, visiting with novice Buddhist monks in their gilded temple, and spend private time with a rare Asian elephant in a sanctuary outside of town where we’ll learn about how the project is saving the elephants, and the care and feeding of the gentle giants.

Furtehr afield, take the kids to Vang Vieng where you can rent an inner tube and float down the river, stopping every so often at riverside stalls to buy fruit juices for the kids and a perhaps a beer or two for Mom and Dad.
The Four Thousand Islands region is another scenic spot where the islands are so small you can cycle around them in a day. Stop off at picture perfect waterfalls, take refreshing dips in the rivers, or visit ornate and colorful Buddhist temples among the rice fields. At night the electricity goes off early, so this is a great place to show the kids what the stars actually look like when they are not obscured by big city lights.

To many people Laos is so obscure that without a detailed map, they couldn’t tell you where it is, much less anything else about it. Laos dropped off the world stage after the Pathet Lao Communist takeover in 1975, it’s emergence postponed by Hmong separatists into the 90s. And therein lies its charm.

Laos are impossibly beautiful but it is in the sublime Luang Prabang one discovers the last Shangri-la of Indochina.

Luang  Prabang is the splendid old capital, featuring a cluster of shimmering royal temples, palace, and administrative buildings, remnants of the faded grandeur of the Lao monarchy. Luang Prabangis a jewel, tiny and compact, encircled by peaks and camouflaged by palm trees and dense tropical foliage. From a distance, only golden-spired stupas can be seen-flashes of gold among the greenery. Situated on a tongue of land at a strategic junction of the Mekong and Khan Rivers. At the heart of Luang Prabang is Mount Phousi, a high rocky outcrop with forested slopes, dotted with sacred shrines and stupas. The serene town remains one of the most well-preserved in Asia bypassed in the rapid development that has seized the rest of the region. Delicious cuisine, authentic markets, and gentle residents round out one of Southeast Asia’s most remarkable places.