Laos Is a Square in Asian Game of Hopscotch
As the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia, Laos is becoming a hub destination for exciting multi-country itineraries. Tourism in the Indochina region is developing as swiftly as the flow of the Mekong. As transportation infrastructure and road quality improve, the opportunities for overland transport or hopping from country to country is increasing and provides your clients with new and exciting possibilities to link Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia through Laos. With Myanmar now opening its doors to neighboring countries, it is only a matter of time before Southeast Asia’s newest intriguing destination will join this game of Southeast Asian hopscotch.
The following are some potential ideas for overland itineraries or “country hopping” starting or finishing in Laos:
Northern Laos and Vietnam
Combine your visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Town Luang Prabang with a multi-day overland journey through pristine and relatively untouched mountain jungles of northern Laos. Inspired by ecotourism and adventure, your travelers will be on the lookout for endangered animals such as Asian tigers, elephants and sambar deer during the award-winning Nam Et Phou Loey Night Safari before heading further north to exploretra the historic Vieng Xai caves. Heading to the east, your clients can cross the border into Vietnam for the cultural charm of a homestay in scenic Mai Chau or continue to other destinations in Vietnam such as Hanoi, Hoi An or beaches further south.
Northern Thailand and Luang Prabang
The Mekong River cruise starting in Chong Mek, Thailand at the Lao border town of Huai Xai provides travelers a unique opportunity to compare and contrast the cultural highlights of these two neighboring countries. It is probably the favorite border crossing from Thailand to Laos and despite the slower pace, this riverboat journey offers fantastic views into authentic local lifestyles before arriving to the riverside pier of Luang Prabang just as ancient royals did in centuries past. The northern province of Luang Namtha, Laos is also an option for more active visitors, famous for trekking and nature experiences.
Northeast Thailand to Luang Prabang
The border crossing from Nan, Thailand, to Luang Prabang is still an insider’s tip but starting this month it is possible to make it in six hours from eastern Thailand through Laos by public bus. Traveling via Xayabouly, your travelers can stop a couple of days at the Elephant Conservation Center before continuing to Luang Prabang.
Southern Laos to the Angkorian Temples
In southern Laos, travelers have plenty of options to cross into Cambodia, Vietnam and/or Thailand. No matter if your clients hire private or public transportation, coming from southern Laos’ Bolaven Plateau or the 4000 Islands (Si Phan Don), the newly completed road to Siem Reap saves a good chunk of time previously spent struggling through poor road conditions. Crossing the international border at Veunkham, Laos, into Dong Kralor, Cambodia, your travelers have the chance to visit Kratie, or continue to the eastern provinces of Cambodia such as Rattanakiri and/or Mondulkiri.
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