I recently went to Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Laos was by far the highlight of the trip. Something about the people and the culture captivated me. Very quickly I fell in love with this place.
After a simple bus ride of perhaps 4-6 hours, depending on where you’re coming from, you’ll be greeted by a mix of majestic gothic-shaped and karst-like towers of limestone, not to mention gnat-like bugs which love to fly up your nose, into your ears and eyeballs. And a very humid (90%) and warm climate (80-90 F). In some parts of Laos there are towering cliffs comparable in size to Yosemite’s big walls.
Just outside a little town called Thakhek is the new climbers lodge (Green Climbers Home) equipped with bungalows, dorms, a lounge, restaurant, bar, slacklines, and tents. A true climbing community founded by Germans and frequented by quite a few Germans too.
The hosts were friendly locals who absolutely love a good chat or board game–if you can learn some of their language. They’re wonderful cooks and good company!
Most of the culture is still left ‘untouched’ by Western influence. As a result you encounter a laid-back, relaxed, warm-climate culture. It was similar to my experience in Africa where ‘time stood still’. Life is not a rush, nor is anyone making haste. They’re just enjoying themselves where they are with what they have.
I know I will be returning here in the future, and hopefully, spend more time there.