Bags Packed for a Month in Laos

Bags Packed for a Month in Laos

As part of my retirement adventure, I made a promise to myself that I was not going to stop traveling until I had closely experienced a fair chunk of the world. My goal roughly has been to base in different places for one year and then move onto another. Although I’ve been in Southeast Asia for about two years now, I still don’t think I’ve seen enough of the area. I’m still fascinated by the contrasting cultures, the food offers a seemingly infinite variety of choices, and every day feels like it is a smorgasbord of photographic opportunity. Since I moved here I’ve spent nine months in Cambodia, a little over a year in Thailand, not to mention the months I have spent away in, Burma, Bhutan, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and various other places, but it is getting to be time to try another place that will give me good access and also offer a different experience.

One place that I haven’t traveled to yet is Laos. I keep hearing wonderful tales from people that have traveled there and in fact, Laos seems to be developing a bit of a cult status among adventurers seeking to get off of the well-travelled tourist trails. The little bit of research I have done indicates that maybe living there is not quite as easy as it is in Thailand but I have always enjoyed challenges. In fact, sometimes I begin to feel a little bit restless if my days don’t bring some variety, new experiences and a few puzzles to solve.

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In case you don’t know Laos is located in Southeast Asia between Vietnam and Thailand. It also shares borders with Myanmar, Cambodia and China. The Mekong River meanders along and through Laos before crossing Cambodia and Vietnam and flowing into the South China Sea. Even after years of war (it is the most bombed, per capita, country on the planet) and isolation Laos still has one of Southeast Asia’s most unspoiled environments, intact indigenous cultures and repute for being one of the most laid-back places on earth. Because of the French influence, Laos also has a reputation for an amazing combination of Asian and European cuisines.

So, for the next month, Sarah and I are going to be traveling throughout the country mostly as tourists, but also to get a feel for the possibility of Laos as the next retirement destination. The journey begins with a bus trip to the border at Nong Khai, Thailand, then a two-day cruise down the Mekong River followed by a few days in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Luang Prabang. After that, we only have a rough outline of things we want to do but we do plan to cover a lot of ground. I am not sure how much Internet access I am going to have while traveling in Laos but I promise to take a lot of photos and I am positive there will be some stories to tell.

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