When the French controlled Indochina, they called the slowness of pace in Laos and the apparent indolence of the people the “Laotian malaise”, precisely what makes this land tourist heaven. Officially the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, a communist state, Laos is sandwiched between Burma (Myanmar), China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, a country about the same size as Great Britain. About 70 per cent of the country is made up of mountain and highland and there is extensive, untouched, forest too. Most Laotians live in the fertile plains of the Mekong and the 11 other rivers, eking out an existence by farming and fishing.
Its capital is Vientiane, home to Wattay International, where many flights to Laos touch down. Most travellers will pick up cheap flights to Laos from Bangkok. Vientiane is on the Mekong, a town of wide boulevards, French Colonial buildings, golden temples and Pha That Luang, Laos’s most important religious monument.
The former royal capital is Luang Prabang, a gilded city locked in time with 45 temples, 32 of them active. The most spectacular temple is Wat Xieng Thong. Early each morning hundreds of orange-robed monks make their daily alms round, a sight not to be missed.
The climate is tropical – extremely humid during the rainy season (July to October).
Laos’s climate can be split into three seasons: cool, hot and rainy.
The cool season (between November and February) when the rains have stopped and hot season (March to May) are both good times to search for cheap flights to Laos and visit. The Lao New Year (April) falls in the peak season and it may be difficult to find cheaper flights to Laos or accommodation during this time.
Off Season: the rainy season extends from June to October.
(prices quoted are from London)