I had the opportunity to travel to Laos for a week recently (pardon the slight hiatus), and it was definitely one of the most fascinating trip that I have ever been on. It is really hard not to be won over by the many breathtaking scenery that Laos has to offer – from the boat ride along the Mekong River (you may see elephants if you’re lucky) to Kuang Si Waterfall in Luang Prabang (no surprises why Luang Prabang was named one of UNESCO’s Heritage Site.
Vientiane – the main capital of Laos still maintained a heavily influenced French culture, a legacy of the colonial period. It was a pleasant surprise to see the legacy surviving well – from the street signage to the wide availability of freshly baked baguettes on the streets.
Coffee is the fifth largest export of Laos – namely Arabica & Robusta. Robusta is mainly used for regular coffee which is usually sweeten with condensed milk. Coffee stalls are a common sight on the streets, a cup of hot coffee goes for 5,000 kip (USD 0.60) and an iced coffee would go for 10,000 kip (USD 1.20).
This is the size of their iced coffee, pretty standard across the city and it is usually really sweet (a tad too sweet for my liking). Hence you might need to request for less condensed milk to be added on. Putting that aside, their local coffee is definitely one of the best coffee that I have ever tried.
Wondering around the city by foot was a food happy hunt. Street food usually ranges from (10,000 kip to 25,000 kip; USD1.20 – USD 3.10). We discovered awesome Banh Mi (baguette with grilled pork) that we just had to go back again, even if it means waiting outside the shop at 6.45am before our flight home.
Cafes are widely available along the streets of Vientiane – Le Trio Coffee is one of them.
To give you a little glimpse of the scenery in Vientiane, this is one of the many postcard worthy moments taken on top of Phousi Hill.
We then flew to Luang Prabang (north of central Laos), and time stopped at this beautiful place – Kuang Si Waterfall.
A night out at the night market, we stumbled across a little lane and discovered their street food (BBQ meat)
Their version of “Chap Fan” (Economy Rice)Bread, assorted pastries and cakes are also widely available on the streets.
Thank you Laos for pleasantly surprising me. Hopefully this post would give you a little insight of this beautiful country, definitely a hidden gem 🙂