Laos is one of the most popular destinations for honeymooning couples, and a Selective Asia holiday here has all the ingredients you need to get any marriage off to a fine kick start and set the tone for years to come, hopefully.
Laos is a relative newcomer on the international holiday destinations scene as it is landlocked and surrounded by mountains, effectively isolated from the wider world. The country is reminiscent of ‘The Lost World’ or ‘The Land that Time Forgot’, a time capsule of a place where everyone is laid back and still living the same lifestyle of hundreds of years ago. In this region of South East Asia the neighbouring countries have embraced Consumerism with a vengeance, and Laos is a small oasis which many are starting to recognise as the precious remnant of a vanishing way of life. Even Vientiane, its capital, feels more like a relaxed provincial town lazing away on its riverfront.
However, just recently the infrastructure has been hauling itself into the new millennium and concerted efforts are being made to attract tourists to the many delights which Laos has to offer. If Vietnam and Thailand can have thriving tourist industries then so can Laos, and with the roads and bridges opening up its many attractions are becoming increasingly accessible. Laos may not have any beaches but it has plenty of other attributes, both natural and cultural, that make it an ideal spot for a honeymoon but also as a destination for anyone looking for an interesting and exciting holiday.
The Vieng Xai caves, for example, are a vast network of underground caverns which constituted an alternative, hidden, city throughout the Vietnam War when the rice fields and towns above them were being ravaged by war. The Communists were based here when they were fighting the royalist armies based in Vientiane. They were home to more than 23,000 people at that time and even contained a theatre along with bakeries, shops and a hospital. Nowadays you can take a guided tour and have a traditional meal down here, and there’s no longer any danger of being carpet bombed or sprayed with Agent Orange when you emerge afterwards.
Take a riverboat cruise along the ancient Mekong River to the Pak Ou Caves (there are plenty of caves in this country), north of Luang Prabang to see the famous miniature sculptures of the Buddha. There are hundreds of these wooden figurines stacked on a series of shelves, and it’s a good place to meditate whilst contemplating the reclining, meditating, teaching and always fascinating images, like an alternative and much more sensible Terracotta Army.
The charming city of Luang Prabang was the capital of Laos until 1975 when the Communists took over, and it makes a great base with its golden temples, French colonial buildings and quaint wooden houses, all clustered together between two lazily winding rivers. Sip a G&T with ice and lemon whilst sitting on your balcony and watching the sun set over a truly timeless scene.
Guest writer David Elliott is a freelance writer who loves to travel, especially in Europe and Turkey. He’s spent most of his adult life in a state of restless excitement but recently decided to settle in North London. He gets away whenever he can to immerse himself in foreign cultures and lap up the history of great cities.