Travel author Justine Tyerman travelled to Laos with New Zealand-based company Innovative Travel and Singapore Airlines.
Laos is a landlocked country in South East Asia surrounded by China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Our tour began in the capital city Vientiane, on the banks of the mighty Mekong River. The city is rich in history, heritage, culture and traditions, and has fabulous cuisine.
With a population of just 760,000, it is far less hectic than most other Asian capital cities. We also spent time in Phonsavan, 400km northeast of Vientiane in Central Laos.
The capital of Xieng Khouang province, Phonsavan is the gateway to the mysterious Plain of Jars. The site consists of thousands of stone ‘jars’ or urns scattered around the hilltops on the Xiang Khouang Plateau. Dating back to the Iron Age (500 BC to AD 500), it is one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia.
Just over 300km away is Luang Prabang, the spiritual capital of Laos.
Located in northern Laos at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers in a valley surrounded by mountains, Luang Prabang is famous for its many beautiful Buddhist temples, French colonial architecture and waterfalls. Inhabited for thousands of years, it was once the royal capital of the country. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995 due to its ‘rich architectural and artistic heritage that reflect the fusion of Lao traditional urban architecture with that of the colonial era’.