Ah, Laos. Land of all the French Indochine mystique I've ever dreamed of. And to think I almost wrote you off as some played-out backpacker party paradise. Because you weren't those things, not in the slightest. Instead I found your landscape stunning, your people kind, and your to-do's more centered on culture and natural beauty than on raging the night away.
To be fair, I'm travelling at this point during the real low season -- much of Southeast Asia is supposed to be rainy at this time of year, but I seem to have brought the California drought with me as it's unseasonably unrainy. This might make a huge difference in the vibe of Laos -- I'd imagine that during the height of the Northern Hemisphere's winter, there's loads more people in a lot of the places I've been in the past two months. Whatever, better for me! I show up in places and they feel just barely half full (or I'm seeing them as half empty) and best of all, the temperatures have dropped by at least ten degrees from what they were when I arrived in Southeast Asia on April 1. (Note to future SE Asia travellers: April and May are the hottest months of the year here.)Read More