Thailand and Laos are two unmissable locations to go to when you’re exploring Southeast Asia. Whereas Thailand is famend the world over as a bustling haven for backpackers, Laos’ fame as a barely quieter vacation spot signifies that it’s an ideal foil in your time in Thailand. There are limitless alternatives for journey and exploration in each international locations – a lot in order that it may be troublesome to know the place to start! So, we’ve picked what we predict are Thailand and Laos must-do actions – the final word experiences for any traveller.
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
In 2014, members of the Karen hill-tribes of Northern Thailand joined forces with Chiang Mai locals to determine an moral sanctuary, designed explicitly for the welfare of native elephant populations. This sustainable ecotourism venture has grow to be a agency favorite of Dragon Journey travellers, because it supplies each a tremendous expertise to get up-close with these majestic animals and, crucially, a means to take action that ensures the safety and preservation of the elephants.
The Sanctuary locations significance upon guests studying all concerning the animals they’re seeing, so if you go to, you’ll come away with an entire host of information about elephants, their surroundings, the native individuals, and the necessity to protect elephant populations.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
In Chiang Mai alone, there are a whole bunch of gorgeous temples – and none are extra so than the spectacular Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, which soars above Chiang Mai within the mountains. This gorgeous temple was based in 1383 by King Keu Naone, and is reached by a steep 300-step staircase that takes you even larger above city-level. It’s an beautiful instance of Lanna structure, and in addition options spectacular naga sculptures – legendary sea serpents – that flank your ascent.
Throughout the complicated, you’ll see lovely temple buildings, pagodas, and statues – and should you can bear to show your again on it, you’ll additionally get spectacular views throughout Chiang Mai. It’s broadly recognised as one of many must-see websites within the province – and Thailand at massive.
Sticky (Bua Tong) Waterfall
In all of the superb pictures you see of Thailand, there’s no higher backdrop than a powerful waterfall. Bua Tong (referred to as Sticky Waterfall) is arguably one of many most interesting. Bua Tong will get its colloquial identify because of the limestone that types it – whereas moist rocks are normally slippy because of easy surfaces and algae, the hardened sponge-like limestone deposits that make up Bua Tong signifies that explorers can climb it by ‘sticking’ to the rocks. When you’re after a little bit of journey when you’re within the jungle, try to climb up!
Whilst you’re there, take a dip and funky off within the water, which is fed year-round by mineral springs from the highest. You may take a while to discover the plush jungle round it, and even bask in a picnic. Simply don’t neglect your swimsuit!
Tak Bat Morning Ceremony
Luang Prabang’s standing as a UNESCO World Heritage web site signifies that it’s a tremendous place to get a significant glimpse into Lao tradition. There are few ceremonies extra lovely than Luang’s Tak Bat morning giving ceremony – a sacred Buddhist custom. This giving ceremony is a means for each the Buddhist monks and the native individuals to affirm their religion, as a whole bunch of monks take to the streets of their saffron robes at daybreak to obtain meals ready by the town locals.
The ceremony is carried out completely in silence, because the monks take a vow and stroll in meditation. It’s not solely an unimaginable sight to behold, but in addition an effective way to achieve invaluable perception into the Lao tradition. Importantly, nonetheless, it’s essential that as a accountable traveller, you stay respectful of the ceremony’s deep which means to the locals and observe correct etiquette.
Kuang Si Falls
A small trickle, these falls ain’t. When you’re seeking to be correctly, really impressed by waterfalls, there’s a cause that Kuang Si is beloved by vacationers all over the place. The falls are multi-tiered, and as they cascade via the jungle, it creates lovely turquoise swimming pools so that you can take a dip in. The water’s distinct look is because of the limestone rocks that the waterfall is made up of.
It’s a tremendous place to unwind – within the cool waters, surrounded by lush jungle. In lots of the swimming pools you’re allowed to swim, however there are particular areas the place it’s prohibited, the place the swimming pools are deemed sacred by native communities.
Pak Ou Caves
For one more lovely cultural tour, a go to to the Pak Ou Caves is a must-do. Situated on the junction of the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers, they’re believed to have been a spot of worship from Buddhists from the 16th century. The caves are crammed with a whole bunch of pictures of Buddha which have been positioned there over the course of 400 years, a lot of which had been left by pilgrims visiting the sacred space.
For a twin expertise, attempt taking a ship journey up the Mekong from Luang Prabang to the caves. As soon as there, you’ll get one other superb glimpse into the wealthy spiritual heritage of Laos, in addition to unimaginable panoramas of the encircling forests.
For extra Thailand & Laos must-do actions, check out our 13-day tour – or our superb 31-day Southeast Asia loop.