137/4 Tran Huu Trang, Phu Nhuan District
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tel. ( 84 - 8 ) 847 7335
Fax ( 84 - 8 ) 847 7335
LAOS - THE LAND OF A MILLION ELEPHANTS
Laos seems to be a more quiet country than the neighbouring countries - Vietnam and Cambodia. However, things have changed. Laos is now becoming one of the major, largely unknown areas of the world for travelers to exotic places. For the travelers who look, there are treasures at every turning in Laos, from the many beautiful wats that have already been declared national treasures to the forgotten little decade-old fire hydrants on street corners in Vientiane. French colonial architecture is another highly appealing feature of the country, only Phnom Penh perhaps rivals Vientiane for the concentration of colonial style architecture. Sight-seeing around town is thought-provoking with the many temples and monuments steeped in age-old history. Pay a visit to some temples and enjoy the peace and tranquillity that they offer. Stroll through the city streets at night and enjoy the heady smells, sights and sounds of balmy magic. Laos is also known for its beautiful silver goods and fascinating textiles which are so much a part of the culture of its people. You never know what treasures a tiny shop down a back street will offer, so be adventurous and explore. Of course, Laos, contemporarily known as Asia's hidden little gem, has more surprises for the tourists and it is awaiting to be discovered in here.
The capital of Laos, located on the bank of Mekong river, is a charming city brimming with ancient temples, beautiful gardens and fascinating museums. Places of particular interest here are Wat Prakeo, National Museum and Wat That Luang as well as Wat Sisaket and the Central Market. The influence of the French can be seen most prominently in the architecture and cuisine of Vientiane. The sidewalks are wide-open and usually shaded by decade-old trees. As in most of the tropics, this town puts a unique spell on the visitor. It is perhaps the sight of gracious old French colonial buildings, or the croissants and coffee by the sidewalk in China Street - it must be the cheeky grins that the girls on motorcycles give you as they skim alarmingly close. Visitors can walk to Vientiane's pagodas from their hotels, Laotians will smile at the walkers and usually say sa-bai-di ("hello"), and it is just a sheer joy to feel safe and secure while stretching the leg muscles. Vientiane is a destination for those who want to look and also be part of what they are seeing.
. . Luang Prabang
Only a 45-minute flight north of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, being called isolated splendor, is nestled serenely, virtually untouched by time in a steep valley at the joining of the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers. The royal capital of the Kingdom of Lane Xang (meaning "a million elephants" in Laotian) was once situated here. Luang Prabang had long been the centre of culture and religion for the Lao, and also situated the former seat of the government and location of the Royal Palace, which is now a museum. Millenniums are reflected in the wooden houses, century-old temples and simple serenity. Laos, for the travelers, usually begins and ends in Vientiane, but once coming here to Luang Prabang, you will find there is much more to this country than the capital city.