The Lan Xang Kingdom "land of a Million Elephants"


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Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane
December 12th 2009
Published: July 22nd 2017
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More I travel and more I love this country. Laos, so far, is the country that I enjoyed most with its people laid-back lifestyle.



When I was in Vientiane, at night, I liked walking on the bank of the Mekong river and thinking about my past experiences and future plans. Laos for me was more than a place and what made it so fascinating, for me, was also this strenght of ita people to resist to the pressure of their bordering countries and of the whole world to modernization and capitalism. To the opposite side, instead, there was Thailand that was already conquered by the globalization and consumerism. Only the mighty and apparently endless Mekong river saparated these two countries.



Before 1994 there were no bridges linking Thailand and Laos, but then with the construction of the "Friendship bridge" in 1994 the country opened up to the massive tourism industry brought it from Thailand.



Laos slowly becomes like the rest of the world, to save it from under development, new missionaries of materialism and econimic wellbeing are destroying it. Another unique part of the world has gone in the name of globalization.



Laotian are still very much tied up to their old traditions and, only because they were in the middle of Indochina, they suffered this big change of the contemporary world.



During the Vietnam war, for example, the communist from Hanoi opened a trail through the forest f Laos to reach the south of Vietnam to provide the weapons to the vietcong and it was called the "Ho Chi Minh trail", to try to close it the Americans dropped, between 1964 and 1973 "secretly" about two million tons of explosive.



Also with countries like Thailand and China that only think of progress and money is difficult for Laos not to be involved in it. But even though the change of this country is evident it has still a peaceful ambiance that is rarely found, nowadays.



I think tourism industry was not this great invention, when masses of people invade a place to visit it and most of the times they do not show respect for the local traditions and culture.



Vientiane does not have the fascinating aura that I found when I was in Luang Prabang, for example, but I still think is worth of a visit even though you will probably find noisy backpackers getting drunk and these sort of people.



Walking on the streets you'll find cafes, street stalls, beer halls and restaurants offering everything from rice noodles to western style barbecued steak.



There is also a Night Market called Dong Palan if you are into Lao food and want to try some local delicacies.



And, as I always say, just explore yourself the area and you always discover some interesting place.


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22nd July 2017

Peaceful ambiance that is rarely found, nowadays.
You say, "I think tourism industry was not this great invention, when masses of people invade a place to visit it and most of the times they do not show respect for the local traditions and culture." Well said Marcos. The reason we will never visit Bali. We prefer the path less traveled with the less other tourists the better. We can thus feel the ambience of the place,,,embrace the sounds or loneliness...succumb to its charm.
23rd July 2017

Peaceful ambiance that is rerely found, nowadays.
Well said Dave, you are also very poetic..We do not find places like Laos all the times, sadly. Globalization is damaging the authenticity of each country around the world. Thanks to comment Dave.

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