Laos: The land of virginal beauty | Photo Essay

Last Updated on August 24, 2017 by Christine Kaaloa

top photography Laos

Exploring Laos: A country of virginal beauty | Photo Essay


At first, visiting the tourist cities of Vientiane and Luang Prabang, my spirits were a little low.

Vientiane was a bland-spirited, straight-faced urban player with few bones of humor to pick; and though, Luang Prabang was inviting as a foreigner-friendly, party-throwing mecca, convivial to tourists, its only dwellers seemed to be travelers, monks and those who work in tourism.

Was Laos the virginal beauty other travelers convinced me it was? If so, where was its rural spirit of its local villages?

Outside of the cities, rural Laos is pure and refreshing

Laos is still largely an untouched country, with great mountain scenery, ethnic minority villages of Hmong, Khmu, Lao and Vietnamese and great trekking. Compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors, like Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand,…  Laos is still behind times and it’s in no hurry to catch up.

Hitting the Laotian countryside, the facades of French colonial architecture melted away. Concrete turned to wood and earth, revealing a Laotian maiden. Small communities of bamboo hut villages, wrapped in the karst landscape that’s fed by the Mekong snake. Rice paddy fields stretch over the land like canvas and locals enjoy the simple unfettered existence of ‘village life’.

rice paddy fields in laos

Why should you visit Laos? 

My top reason for recommending Laos to anyone is that it’s because it’s just so damn beautiful!

The view alongside the Nam Ou and Mekong River as I traveled from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw are landscapes that look like paintings and this country will go down in my archives as having one of the most visually spell-binding. Karst mountains reaching up from riverbeds, with trees dotting like an impressionist painting.

laos kart mountains

lao beach

getting to nong khiauw, taking the nong khiauw boat to muong ngoi, laos landscape
getting to nong khiauw, nong khiauw laos

Laotian lifestyle in a rural environment

These are photos of people working in the marketplaces and in smaller villages, even hill tribes.

laos kitten

laotian people

NK p2

laos home

lao schclss

Laos school classroom

Is Laos still a virginal beauty? It would seem so.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • love the photos of the house and the lifestyle in particular! seems like in so many places, the best experiences are away from the “tourist zones”. ive heard a lot of differing opinions on laos as a travel destination, but its definitely still right up there on my list. it has a sense of mystery about it or something.

    • @Jamie: Thanks. Yeah, it seems Southeast Asia is currently hopping with travelers. Off-the-beaten path places are harder to find. For instance, how can you “fall off” the well-worn routes of Vietnam or Thailand? Kinda impossible. With Laos, if you go outside of Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng, a more rural Laos is there. However, with rural Laos, where can you stay or eat, right? Catch 22. We want purity but as travelers, how much can we handle bedding down in it? 😉

  • Nice to see it still looks lovely, I will be visiting there soon.