Traveling in Laos

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Laotian & Thai Languages

The language of Thailand and Laos is inter-related so that the people of Laos often, if not usually, understand Thai. This  
why you will most often see either “Vat” or “Wat” designating a temple, Wat being the Thai designation, Vat being the Lao  

The Sacred in Luang Prabang & Vientiane
As we've mentioned in our CURRENT section, the U.S. eradicated most of the old temples and monasteries in Laos  
except in Luang Prabang and Vientiane, so for those going to see old monasteries, temples and stupas your visit will be  
concentrated in these two cities. In Vientiane, temples are often closed and monks are not seen so often.  However, Laos  
has other things to offer that will bring a balance and sanity to your trip. Nature is one of those things. Laos is naturally  
splendid with many, many places to explore, even just a short distance from cities.

In Luang Prabang it is easy to meet monks of all ages who are approachable despite seeing probably more than their share  
of tourists. The young are usually quite interested in talking with visitors. The evenings in both rural towns and cities is the  
time to join Laotians in their temples for chanting. Just listening to the chanting can bring you good “dharma” (good merit.)


Many Westerners contribute to the Laotian people in Luang Prabang through numerous programs. One, of the contributing  
activities you see under the trees at monasteries and in the library are language lessons. Books are greatly in demand, so  
if you can arrive with some appropriate books and leave them behind, they will be tremendously appreciated. Of the  
Western languages, French is widely read, as well as, English. Luang Prabang even has a “Book Boat” that drops off  
books with people as it travels along the Mekong River.


Laos has beautiful current ballads and popular music. You will hear it on long trips in vans and in any restaurant that has a  
live band.  We've never mentioned the music of any country in particular, but Laotian contemporary music deserves to be  

Evenings Along the Mekong in Vientiane

In Vientiane, along the Mekong River there is the hasty construction every night of many enterprising restaurants (a high-
end night market) with a bazaar further down the walkway. Walking along the Mekong in the evening while staying in  
Vientiane is a treat. It is well-kept and very attractive. During your walk, you may come across temple chanting across the  
street, heart-touching music, lots of arts and crafts and of course, food freshly prepared in front of your eyes.

For appropriate dress while visiting sacred places, please see the “Traveling In Thailand” footnote.

Wat Bansophoun, Chiang Kwai, Laos
Wat Pahouak - Luang Prabang, Laos
Vatmay Souvannapoumara - Morning Street Scene Luang Prabang, Laos
Vatmay Souvannapoumara - Luang Prabang, Laos
Vat Sop Sickaram - Luang Prabang, Laos
Wat Sop Sick Haram - Luang Prabang, Laos
Vat Xieng Thon Ratsavoravihanh - Luang Prabang, Laos
Vat Xieng Thong - Luang Prabang, Laos
Decorative Endpiece for Pole Suspending Temple Boat - Luang Prabang, Laos
Young Gardener Monk - Vat Pak Khan Khammungkhun - Siem Reap, Laos
Wat Hosian Voravihne - Luang Prabang, Laos
Wat Hosian Voravihne - Luang Prabang, Laos
Stupa -Vat Aham - Luang Prabang, Laos
Vat Manorom - Luang Prabang, Laos
Children with New Friend - Luang Prabang, Laos
Traditional Laos Dress for Women
Vatmay Souvannapoumaram - Luang Prabang, Laos
Mekong River - Luang Prabng, Laos
Photo Exibit at Wat Sidoutthabot Thippharam
Vat Phanluangratsouda Ram - Siem Reap, Laos
Vat Phanluangratsonda Ram - Siem Reap, Laos
Yogi Saint in Cave of Vat Phanluangratsouda Ram - Luang Prabang, Laos
Impeng Temple - Vientiane, Laos
Part of the Inpeng Temple Complex - Vientiane, Laos
Inpeng Temple - Vientiane, Laos