Discover a mystique, genuine and wild side of the earth with deep jungles and majestic mountains...
Years of civil unrest left the country isolated from the world, but Laos opened its doors to the public eye in 1989. With Thailand and Vietnam on each side of the country, you expect Laos to be commercial and crowded by tourists and sales people. However, Laos is not yet touched by the modern stressful way of life and offers a laidback atmosphere between majestic mountains, perky rivers and deep and breathing jungles. People are relaxed, friendly and respectful, and they often live in simple yet astonishing villages where animals of all kinds are free to wander in the simple streets, in the endless fields or in the deep jungle.
Population: 6.8 millions
Time zone: ICT
Drives on the left
"The laidback atmosphere and the relative lack of modern development make Laos perhaps the most authentic and unspoiled of the Southeast Asian nations"
Adventure time in Aay's Village
Tourists are also welcome to visit just to breath the fresh air and discover the beautiful village from time to time. Tourists will not be able to teach the children as we believe the children deserve to get to know their teachers in order to receive quality education in a safe environment.
Please be a concious traveler by keeping your environmental footprint at its lowest by not discarding trash or pollute the nature in Laos in any way.
Here are some travel guides that we recommend reading through when planning your trip to get the most out of the beautiful country of Laos:
What to do
Explore caves and blue lagoons
Shower in waterfalls
Kayak the curvy river
Zip-line through the jungle
Go jungle-trekking with a local guide
Enjoy a cold beer on the riverbank
Climb the steep mountains
Work in the rice fields for a day
Explore Laos from from a hot air balloon
"Landlocked Laos is one of Asia's most enchanting destinations. Stunning natural beauty - think mist-shrouded mountain peaks flanked by jungle-clad valleys teeming with wildlife combined with a fascinating Buddhist culture to make Laos a superb destination for backpackers and independent travellers, while luxury tourists are now also well-catered for" - from www.travelfish.org
Laos enjoys a tropical climate with two distinct seasons. The "rainy" season is from the beginning of May to the end of September, and the dry season is from October through April. When we say rainy, we mean that it might rain a couple of minutes 2-3 times a week. Nothing to put off your traveling plans for, so to say. The yearly average temperature is about 28 degrees Celsius, rising to a maximum of 38 degrees Celsius during April and May. The climate is hot and humid, so we recommend packing light clothes and if possible, opting for air-conditioned rooms for the night or a really really good fan.
A short trip from Aay's Village
The Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng
Phonsavat Village, where our project is located.
A short trip from Aay's Village
Culture & Food
Laos is a country with many different people and cultures. Since Phamai is many villages' put together, all different groups are represented, and once a year one of the groups arrange a traditional party that everyone put in money for and participate in. This is a beautiful way of respecting and appreciating each other’s cultures, traditions and differences. The official languages in Laos is Lao, a tonal language which sounds a bit similar to Thai. It also shares the Thai script. Most Lao people in the rural areas live in traditional houses built of wood and raised off the ground on stilts. The food in Laos is similar to the northeastern part of Thailand, it's a lot of fresh water fish, pork, chicken and duck. If you want to read more about the food: http://www.indochinatour.com/laos-guide/food-and-drinks.html
Even though Laos is a country filled with smiling, helping people, it does have a very dark history that still markes some people's lives. Being a part of a war they had nothing to do with left the country with bad scars and countless tragic faiths. By the end of Vietnam war, Laos was the most bombed country per capita in the history of warfare. The U.S dropped over two million bombs over Laos on their way back from Vietnam. There are a few museums worth visiting in Vientiane if you're interested to know more about the history.
Explore Laos: Team Favourites
Vientiane is the capital of Laos and is close to the Mekong river and the border to Thailand. It is a calm city with many restaurants and small shops. This is the first entry point into the country if you come to Laos from Thailand. It is a great place to chill out for a couple of days before embarking on your Laos adventure!
This is the perfect place to have a delicious treat or a hearty lunch, and this is actually where we started planning our project; sitting around one of the tables with a cup of coffee and a thousand ideas for Aay’s Village!
One thing all team members have in common is the passion for food. Makphet is a restaurant with amazing food, and there's seating both indoors and outdoors in a cozy garden. Favourites on the menu are the traditional laap and the fresh spring rolls.
Every night along the Mekong river there's a night market. You can't miss it because of all the red stalls. There's a mix of all the normal tourist bracelets and t-shirts as well as other more original things which makes it a nice market to stroll around after dinner.
Patuxay is a beautiful monument in Vientiane, which looks a lot like l’Arc de Triomphe. It is a war monument which was built as a dedication to those who fought for the independence from France.
The place to get breakfast! the morning market is a vibrant market that is open every single day on the bus station of Vientiane. Here you can get some traditional food, and the famous Laos baguette for around 2 dollars.
Interwoven is a small shop with jewelry and such in Vientiane. It provides safe jobs for women in Laos, and we support their mission to the fullest. Check out their homepage here: https://interwovenasia.com/ and make sure you stop by if you are in Vientiane!
Vientiane offers a hotel or hostel on every street corner, so feel free to google your way to your favorite. It is very cheap, you should be able to get a hotel for 10 dollars with air condition. We have stayed at different places in Vientiane, but can generally recommend the area Ban Haysoke, where is a good start-off point for any activity, restaurant, pub or shopping in Vientiane.
Restaurant Makphet, Vientiane
COPE Visitor Center
Night Market, Vientiane
Morning Market, Vientiane
JOMA Coffee Shop, Vientiane
If you’re interested in the history of Laos and want to know more about how it once was and how it is today, there’s a place called COPE visitor center in Vientiane that is well worth to spend an afternoon.
Vang Vieng is a small riverside village in the middle of Laos, only 2 hours north of Aay’s Village. It was firstly used as a airport for the US in the Vietnam war, but is now a popular tourist destination. In the early 2000s, the place was famous for its tubing and drinking parties on the riverside, but that activity has somewhat slowed down because of the many accidents that unfortunately took place. Tubing the river is so much fun, but we recommend you to do this sober. Vang Vieng is a magical paradise in the middle of the steep mountains and offers a lot of activities. Many tourists end up staying here several years, actually!
In the middle of Vang Vieng, there is an awesome night market with food, fabrics, spices and clothing. Go there for cheap shopping or just so soak up the great atmosphere.
Vang Vieng offers a hotel or hostel on every street corner, so feel free to google your way to your favorite. It is very cheap, you should be able to get a hotel for 10 dollars with aircondition. However, if you feel like indulging in a bit of luxury, the Silver Naga Hotel in Vang Vieng is modern, spacious and has an infinity pool overlooking the river and amazing mountains of Laos. Well worth a visit!
Although Vang Vieng is a well known destination for tourists there's still quiet places with lagoons and a view of high peak mountains not far away. All you have to do is rent a bike, grab a map and explore the surroundings of the town. We recommend a bike ride to the blue lagoon in Vang Vieng, but get there early if you are traveling in the peak seasons as it is a popular destination!
Around midday, everyday, Cliff View Bungalows offers a nice barbeque on the riverside - you can sit on a small bamboo hut floating on the river and get cozy with a BeerLao and some barbeque treats. Super-cozy!
Rent a Bike, Vang Vieng
Accomodation, Vang Vieng
Night Market, Vang Vieng
BBQ at Cliff View Bungalows
Alms Giving Ceremony
Night Market, Luang Prabang
Pak Ou Caves, Luang Prabang
Kuang Si Waterfalls, Luang Prabang
Join the locals any day at sunrise in the main street of Luang Prabang and buy food and flowers to give to the Buddhist monks at the Alms Giving Ceremony. Ask for guidance from the locals and kneel down to give your present to the monks. The reason for this ceremony is for the monks to make merit and collect food for their one meal of the day.
Kuag Si Waterfalls is a beautiful river with several waterfalls, the biggest one is 60 meters and you can swim and relax in the incredible blue lagoon pools here.
Pak Ou Caves dates back many thousand years and is packed with over 4000 Buddhist icons. It is a huge limestone cliff divided to two caves; Tham Ting and Tham Theung. Go explore the caves with a guide and a torch and be amazing by this historic venue.
From 5-11 pm, you can find the Night Market from Wat Mai through Sisavangvong Road towards the town centre. It is a great way to see the nightlife and buy some local produce. Remember to try to haggle down the price!
Luang Prabang is the ancient capital of Laos, and lies in a valley where Mekong and Nam Khan rivers meet. It has a number of beautiful Buddhist temples, and is known for its cultural impact on everyone who travels there.