Laos- The land of a million elephants

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ABAX and the Stig in Laos

From Vietnam to Laos, a journey between two countries that share so much of the same story. Laos remains a country many regular tourists associate with the Vietnam War and you can still find plenty of tracks after the war that tore two countries apart. More than 2 billion tons of bombs are scattered throughout Laos, making several parts of the country impassable, including the highest point of the country.

The country has, however, more than war history. The city has been a popular destination for backpackers and adventurers from around the world for several years. Now more have become aware of this hilly gem in South East Asia. The country has an abundance of wildlife with several species not found anywhere else in the world, hence the ancient nickname "Land of a Million Elephants".

Stig says:

If you sit at home at the kitchen table and consider whether you should embark on a long drive, I would probably recommend steering away from the highway in Laos. In this case, you need to set aside plenty of time. We were going to drive from Ha Long Bay to Louang phrabang in Laos. A mileage I calculated to being 14 hours, including the border crossing. The plan was to stay one night in the car and we would arrive well before the sunset the day after. We ended up spending 22 hours driving ... EFFECTIVE. Laos is so rugged that it's almost impossible to build proper roads. And the communications budget is probably not the greatest. It goes up and down all the time and certainly difficult to clear average speeds above 40 km / h. And the road standard ... To put in perspective: gravel roads are the best... But the travel distance is also amazing. It is greener than green and we have driven through many remote villages that have been a great experience. We have seen Laos closely.

I do not recommend you taking your car to Laos, so I would recommend that you make the trip to Louang Phrabang, an oasis in the jungle. I am a bit unsure that I would recommend the city for absolutely everyone. But for an active retiree who is attracted by the beaches, have had enough of big cities, and like to relax and enjoy life then this is clearly the destination to visit. Veronica is going back home with our sons Joaquin and Niri, so the place is not just for retirees I actually think I've never been in such a peaceful place. Everything is at a "comfortable" pace. Gone are the over-enthusiastic salespeople in Thailand, and gone are all the honking and bustle of traffic. The town has lots of great cafés and eateries. And everything takes the time it takes. Also the city's 291 hotels. Do not get away from the fact that there is also a tourist spot. Many tourists buy art and anything that is made in Laos. Boat trips on the Mekong river - in the middle of the jungle. Around the town are waterfalls, elephant and bear farm and other excursions. We visited a farm training in rice production. Tourists will also be involved in the entire process. Temperature is also back in the early 30's so lovely weather to take a dip in the pool facility at the hotel. Briefly, Louang phrabang is worth a 2-3 day visit. Then by plane to return to Bangkok. Seniors and others who seek quiet and pleasant days may well wish to stay for longer. I also got the tour's first puncture. Whether it was a nail in the road or whether it was tapped into the tyre, it was not known. We went into the city centre yesterday and parked in best faith. In the evening, this was right in the Night Market ... Those who had stalls behind were probably not very happy and then my tyre was flat ... Veronica has gone home now, so I am heading to Myanmar (Burma). I now leave one of the poorest countries and will be visiting a new one.

Do you have tips for Stig about places he should see or visit, restaurants he should try? Send us an email to kha@abax.no or sal@abax.no.

Click here to follow Stig's route in Google maps.
ABAX and the Stig in Laos
ABAX and the Stig in Laos
ABAX and the Stig in Laos
ABAX and the Stig in Laos