Sights of Laos
Even in ancient times, the country was called the “Kingdom of a Million Elephants.” Almost until the end of the 20th century, it was very difficult to get into the country, after that, Laos began to be considered the most unusual state in the entire territory of Southeast Asia. A large number of temples, a rich culture, a population that makes up a wide variety of ethnic groups, exotic plants and animals, and impressive landscapes are the main attractions of this unusual country. According to Ethnicityology, Vientiane is the capital of Laos and at the same time a famous landmark. This city became the capital thanks to King Settatirat, who managed to turn a small village into the seat of government and the largest city. Today it is the smallest capital in terms of area in Southeast Asia, however, the largest cultural and administrative part of the country. In Vientiane, you can visit a wide variety of temples and markets. Of course, its main attraction is Buddhist monasteries, of which there are quite a lot in the city. You should definitely visit the main national monument – the Pha Luang stupa, which combines both Buddhism and a sign of independence of Laos. According to legend, it was at this place that the great Indian emperor Asoka built his first stupa, in which he enclosed the relics of the great Buddha. Of course, it is now impossible to find out whether it really was or not, but according to numerous excavations, it has been established that there is an ancient Khmer temple around this place. It is also necessary to visit such interesting places as: Ho Pha Keu Temple with the Buddha Museum, which used to house the famous “Emerald Buddha”, an unusual stupa without entrance doors Tat Dam, the oldest and the only temple not destroyed in 1827, Wat Si Saket. Not far from the capital, you can find interesting places, for example, 20 km from Vientiane, you should visit the most interesting collection of sculptures of Siang Houan, the Vang Sang temple near which there are cutouts of the Buddha in the rock and the incredibly beautiful place of Vang Vieng, where you can see a huge number of islands around the dam on Lake Nam Ngum. Another very interesting attraction is the city of Luang Prabang, which today is the oldest city in the country and its ancient capital. For more than 800 years, this city has been the capital of Laos. In the city you can find many ancient and well-preserved monasteries, which are now one of the most important cultural heritage of the country. The most valuable monument of art and culture is the monastery of Wat Sieng Thong, which was built specifically for the king and decorated with extraordinary frescoes. One of the main masterpieces of Lao architecture is the Tat Chomsi pagoda. A narrow staircase, consisting of 328 steps, leads to its foot. Not far from the city, you can visit the small village of Ban Lu, which today is the center of folk craft. It is best to start your tour from the local Dala market where you can see and buy folk products, food and national clothes. For lovers of beautiful scenery, central Laos is a great place to visit. In addition to natural beauties, this region is distinguished by an incredible diversity of ethnic composition and a small number of tourists. The largest shopping center and the most visited city in southern Laos is Savannakhet. The architecture of this town is very unusual for Laos. The city center is rich in French colonial architecture with wide streets and green spaces rarely found here. The outskirts of the city, on the contrary, is an eternal maze of tangled narrow streets and Vietnamese architecture. The rich Vietnamese flavor is ensured by the fact that the population of more than half of the city (60%) is Vietnamese. Fans of military history can go a little east of Savannakhet and visit the world-famous Ho Chi Minh Trail, which is a system of roads and trails with strongholds. The Ho Chi Minh Trail was formed during the Vietnam War to fight against the colonialists of the state. Many unexploded explosives that were dropped in the 60s by the US Army greatly influenced the nature of the region, but made this place the main military-historical attraction. The northeastern part of Laos is famous for the Dja Valley, which is a wilderness that contains about a hundred stone urns, the origin and purpose of which is still unknown. Urns are large structures, the largest of which weighs 10.5 tons. According to the research, it was established that the urns were carved more than 2 thousand years ago from hard stone, which is impossible to find in these parts. In addition to urns, underground burials were found during excavations.
The main ingredients of Lao cuisine are a variety of spices, rice and sauces. In addition, vegetables and herbs are very often eaten, and meat and fish are processed on coals or in heated oil before eating. Basically, Lao cuisine is not much different from the traditional dishes of neighboring countries.