Laos is simply the ideal country for hiking, we explain you why.
You are planning a trekking expedition in Southeast Asia, but you are not sure about the country to go? The mountains of Vietnam and the north of Thailand come quickly to mind when talking about walking in this part of the world. But know that there is a small country unknown, surrounded by all these tourist destinations, Laos. It has many assets such as a very preserved fauna and flora, the presence of ethnic groups living in autarky, breathtaking mountain sceneries and rice paddies.
The diversity of these lands will be suitable for both experienced trekkers and walkers looking for a family adventure. But if you are not convinced yet, here are 5 reasons that will persuade you to come for a trek in Laos to live an unforgettable adventure.
Hiking in an unspoiled nature
Laos has retained its wild character, national parks, in particular, are home to a wide variety of wildlife, some endemic to the country. During your walk in a hundred year old primary forest, you will be surrounded by ferns, orchids, banana trees, rattans, gigantic bamboo, .... You will also have the chance to discover an incredibly rich fauna, with insects of all kinds, buffaloes, birds with flamboyant colors ... If luck is on your side, you can see gibbons, giant spiders, or a tiger.
The countryside trails, used only by local farmers, are well known to your guide. Thus, he will share with you his experiences of life outdoor, the stories told about the forest, the different myths ... He will show you some hidden secrets such as lost waterfalls, caves where bats live. He will also give you some botanical lessons showing you herbs, fruits and vegetables that you can eat safely.
Meet ethnic tribes and sleep in remote villages
During your trek, you will meet different ethnic groups. Your guide will be the link with them and you will understand their culture, their rites based on the spirits, as well as their daily customs. Sharing a meal and a night in a remote village will be moments that will leave unforgettable memories. The welcoming by adults will always be very warm. The little ones as for them, once the shyness of the first moments passed, will come to play and laugh with you. With 4 major ethnic groups, and no less than 80 distinct ethnicities, Laos is the ideal country for a trip back in time to discover traditional ancestral lifestyles. Mostly located in the regions of Phongsaly and Luang Nam Tha in the north of the country, these populations have kept their centuries-old customs.
Thus, they still live in small houses of wood and bamboo, living in complete autarky. Experts in agriculture, buffalo breeding, and gathering, they live largely from their own production. Wearing the traditional costume is still in use, mainly among women. It goes without saying that discovering this day-to-day life makes you rethink about our modern comfort.
Hiking for all levels
The landscapes offered by Laos are always sublime and very diverse. Thus, during your walks, you can hike in a dense banana forest, follow farm tracks in the middle of paddy fields or stroll along the mountainside.
Depending on the region chosen for your trek, the panoramas can be very varied. Therefore, hiking in the center of the country will be a completely different experience than in the north.
Thanks to its different geologies, it is quite possible to consider several levels of difficulty for your trek. From the easy family walk with children to trekking sports with significant unevenness, all walkers can find the well fitted adventure in Laos.
Incredible mountain sceneries
The mountainous areas represent 70% of the surface of Laos, it is thus the ideal playground for trekking. The hills and valleys usually vary between 800 and 1 500 meters high, which allows you to discover breathtaking views very often.
At the edge of a mountain, at the exit of a forest, or at the bend of a dirt road, you will arrive regularly on mountain landscapes that extend as far as the eyes can see.
Discover Laos by its culinary diversity
Exploring Laos is also discovering the richness of its traditional cuisine. Exotic spices such as lemongrass, kaffir, ginger or galangal are the basis of this gastronomy rich in tastes. From the north to the south of the country, each region, each province, and each ethnic group has its own way of flavoring and spicing up its dishes. Nevertheless, some basic foods such as rice are the used everywhere. It should be noted that anywhere in the country, the dishes use seasonal herbs, fruits, and vegetables grown or picked locally. A good opportunity to exchange information and news, the meal is traditionally centered around sharing in Laos.
The guests eat directly with their hands, and pick in the same dishes presented on the common table. Spending an evening in a village is the perfect opportunity to discover the preparation of typical dishes, learn local tips and tricks, and bring home cooking ideas. For festive meals or if foreigners are around the table, Lao people love to open their lao-lao bottles, the local rice alcohol. Often prepared by hand, it is not necessarily pleasant or tasty to drink but it has the merit of relaxing the atmosphere and gives rise to great moments of fun.
We hope that through this article, you will have understood that hiking in Laos is more than just a trip, it is a unique experience, an immersion in a preserved culture. The hospitality of local people, the lush vegetation, the customs of another age, all that makes this country a perfect playground for an exceptional authentic adventure. So if the blood of Indiana Jones runs in your veins, do not hesitate, come to Laos live a fantastic epic experience ...
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