Northern Laos Loop – 1. Introduction

About the size of the Britain, yet only one-tenth of its population. Laos, officially the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), is a sparsely populated, land-locked country in South-East Asia, bordered by Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and China.

Unlike its neighbors who boast world renown temples, beaches, cultural villages, minority tribes and mountains, Laos, with only two Unesco sites (Luang Prabang and Vat Phou) to its name, is largely forgotten. But undeservedly so. The mysterious Plain of Jars at Phonsavan, dramatic karst scenery at Tham Lot Kong Lo and 4000 islands at Si Phan Don are just a sample of Laos’ numerous attractions. And not to forget, the backpackers’ haven at Vang Vieng where travelers can laze around for days downing beer and watching movies or for the more energetic souls, take part in spelunking and tubing at this riverside town.

With terrain that’s largely mountainous, road travels in Laos are usually accompanied with glorious views and cool weather. And which better way to see the country than to rent a motorcycle and do it at your own pace? As fellow travelers advise me, the true meaning of Lao PDR is Lao – Please Don’t Rush.

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