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Laos is a perfect country to savour all the immeasurable charm of intact natural landscapes that live in perfect symbiosis with cities that still jealously preserve their cultural and traditional riches. Therefore, to find out what to see during a trip to this real pearl of Southeast Asia, we must really overcome the embarrassment of choice because there are so many essential destinations.

From the breathtaking mountains to the cities, Laos has always remained practically alien to any attempt at modernization from neighbouring countries, perfectly assisting all its different ethnic groups and preserving its Buddhist culture with enormous spiritual dedication through museums, temples and natural corners of beauty. boundless.

Thanks to this purity out of the hectic flow of time, Laos has attracted more and more visitors from all over the world especially in recent years, to the point of representing a tourist destination particularly beaten by anyone wishing to spend a well-deserved holiday in the name of an absolute relaxation made of peace, tranquillity and immersion in the most remote and uncontaminated nature.

So let’s pack our travel insurance and leave for this wonderful experience.

Muang Sing

Muang Sing is literally the last city before the Chinese border, it is absolutely not a must-see but renting a scooter and travelling the 60 km that divides the city from LuangNamtha is an extremely pleasant way to spend the day.

The road with little traffic is in good condition and runs through rural villages and the jungle, it is truly scenic. Driving calmly is about two hours, you can have lunch in Muang Sing and then return to the city in the afternoon. I also recommend stopping at the Pagnueng waterfall, it can be reached at the end of a short path, not exactly impressive but certainly nice and a nice way to stretch your legs, admission technically costs 10,000 KIP but during my visit, there was no one there. check and I got in for free.

I rented a semiautomatic scooter at this shop for 50,000 KIP, the automatic scooter costs 70,000 KIP, a passport is required as a deposit.

How to reach LuangNamtha?

The bus station is located about 10 km south of the city, the fixed price of the tuktuks is 20,000 KIP. From here there are direct connections to LuangPrabang approximately 8 hours, Nong Khiaw approximately 6 hours and HuayXai approximately 4 hours. There are also several departures to the border with China and air connections to and from the capital Vientiane.

Where to sleep in LuangNamtha?

If you are looking for the cheapest option ever, Manychan Guesthouse seems the only option with a dormitory, 30,000 KIP per night. I slept at Adounsiri Guesthouse, away from the main road, a spacious and clean room for 70,000 KIP even if at first I wanted 80,000, I also took a look at Thoulasith Guesthouse, an excellent solution in the centre. If, on the other hand, you are looking for an economical solution but in a really nice setting outside the centre on the banks of the river, take a look at Taidam Guesthouse.

Nong Khiaw

Nong Khiaw is not part of the classic Laos itinerary but being only three hours from LuangPrabang it is becoming particularly popular. It is a small town on the banks of the Nam Ou River, surrounded by limestone mountains with a landscape similar to VangVieng but with a much more rural and relaxed atmosphere.

What to do and see in Nong Khiaw

It is a very quiet place where you could spend a couple of days relaxing, renting a bungalow by the river, but there are also many excursions and activities to do in the city and its surroundings.

Climb the viewpoints overlooking the city

There are at least three really cool viewpoints around the city. Phang Peak can be reached in about 40 – 60 minutes depending on the pace, excellent view at both sunrise and sunset, if you want you can camp on the top, the path is easy to follow and well maintained, the entrance costs 20,000 KIP.

The second viewpoint I went up to is Nang None Mountain, where there are actually two distinct viewpoints: the first is slightly lower while the second is higher and in my opinion, offers a better view, the entrance costs 15,000 KIP.

Of the two just mentioned, Phadeng is the most beautiful. Finally, there is a third and last viewpoint, which I have not visited but judging by the photos it doesn’t look bad at all, it was recently opened so it is not as popular as the other two but it looks absolutely the highest, so I guess it takes well over an hour to climb, the start of the trail should be this, entry costs 20,000 KIP.

In all cases, it is advisable to bring a headlamp, especially if you decide to go up for the sunset.

PhaKuang Cave

The cave is located slightly outside the city but can easily be reached on foot, the reviews are somewhat mixed but I assure you that if you like exploration it is absolutely worth it. Admission costs 10,000 KIP and, if you don’t have it, a headlamp is provided.

It is a cave used during the war as a bomb shelter and the tunnels are at times extremely narrow, you have to literally crawl on the ground to make your way between the various rooms, extremely fun and adventurous as far as I’m concerned but if you’re not ready to get dirty and do of contortionist manoeuvres, I would probably avoid.

Another cave near the city is PhaTok Cave, I haven’t been there personally but according to the review, it doesn’t seem like anything special.

Finally, among the various activities offered in Nong Khiaw, there are kayaking along the river, visiting ethnic villages that you could do on your own by renting a scooter, zip-lining and finally quite popular trekking offered by Tiger Trails called “100 Waterfalls” you can read about on TripAdvisor.

Where to sleep in Nong Khiaw?

I slept in Nong Khiaw Riverview where, after bargaining, I managed to get a private back room for KIP 50,000 a night. I was told Delilahs has a good dorm for 35,000 KIP. During the high season, prices are probably higher, in any case, there are several guesthouses and finding a good option shouldn’t be a problem, also because the city is really compact.

How to reach Nong Khiaw?

From LuangPrabang it’s about 3 hours, 40,000 KIP, from LuangNamtha it’s about six hours, 100,000 KIP. Technically there are also night buses to Vientiane and Phonsavan. I walked from Nong Khiaw station to the centre but, if you want, a tuk-tuk costs only 5,000 KIP.

Muang Ngoy

This tiny village nestled in the mountains is located on the banks of the river north of Nong Khiaw and can only be reached by boat. Until 2013 it did not even have electricity all day, today it has become in a sense a popular destination but still remains a quiet place where you can unplug.

What to do in Muang Ngoy

You could easily spend your days lounging in a hammock overlooking the river but, if you want to stay active, here are some suggestions. In any case, if like me you love buffet breakfasts, don’t miss the one offered by the Riverside Guesthouse Restaurant, 35,000 KIP and endless food!

Phanom viewpoint

This viewpoint is located here, a stone’s throw from the village, and offers excellent views of the village below and the river, the trail starts at this point, the entrance costs 10,000 KIP, it takes between 20 and 40 minutes to climb, according to your pace.

If you want there is another viewpoint, slightly lower, whose access is located at this point, the view is similar to that of the other viewpoint but the path is shorter and there are also two caves that you can explore, here too the entrance costs 10,000 KIP.

Pha Boom Viewpoint

This viewpoint is located on the opposite side of the village, I didn’t go up there as in mid-March the weather is not ideal (there is practically always haze on the horizon) but judging by the photos taken at other times of the year I think it is absolutely worth it. The path begins at this point and from what is written the entrance which costs 20,000 KIP to pay at the Gecko Restaurant.

According to the reviews, the path is quite tough especially in the last stretch, 4-5 hours there and back.

Houay Bo, Houay Sen and Ban Na

Houay Bo, Houay Sen and Ban Na are three villages that can be reached on foot from Muang Ngoy, it’s a nice way to spend the day walking through the rice fields and observing the rural life. All three villages have guesthouses to spend the night. I have visited Ban Na and Houay Bo, nothing exceptional especially in the late dry season when the rice fields are completely dry but if you like to take a walk and stop for lunch or just a tea while observing the authentic village life, it’s definitely a nice way to spend the day.

Northern Laos

If you choose to visit Laos, travelling through a large part of its territory to better enjoy all the splendid variety that characterizes the surrounding nature and the local cultural and traditional substance, it may be useful, first of all, to draw up a draft itinerary that allows us to better group the most fascinating stages proceeding from north to south or vice versa.

As for the northern area of  Laos, to know what to see among the thousand beauties offered by this wonder of creation we can consider that it is the portion of the territory that includes the two most fascinating cities, Vientiane and LuangPrabang, but also other locations ( especially mountainous) much less known but no less attractive.

North of LuangPrabang, for example, is NongKiaw, a small town on the banks of the Nam Ou River, perfect for trekking and climbing enthusiasts. Right here, in fact, the limestone walls that delimit the area are an ideal point of arrival for paths through splendid natural paths that lead to real panoramic terraces that literally break your breath at the sight of the majestic landscape below.

But also the border with China reserves enchanting places to see absolutely to make a trip to Laos even more complete. LuangNamtha, above all, is a perfect landing point because it is the main destination for walking to the nearby Nam Ha National Protected Area. Once you arrive here it will be impossible not to be literally speechless in the presence of ancient rural villages where it is possible to stay overnight being gladly hosted at home by some local families. But the surrounding rice fields are also splendid, which can also be easily crossed by bicycle (there are several rentals in the area). Not to mention tribal villages such as Ban Nam Chang (inhabited by the exponents of the Lao Houay ethnic group) or Ban Jaluensouk (residence of the Khmu ethnic group), real corners of unspoiled paradise permeated by lush vegetation and sumptuous mountain ranges perfectly visible on the horizon in all their splendour.

But the unspoiled nature of northern Laos is also clearly expressed in the heart of the Tham Chang and ThamPhoukham caves located in VangVieng, a tiny town on the banks of the Nam Song River. These wonderful natural caves are a perfect paradise for speleologists as well as an ideal testimony of what were once the homes of ancient local populations, who found refuge here during the Chinese raids of the 19th century. Above all, the cave of ThamPhoukham is definitely not to be missed due to the wonderful lagoon at its foot, a splendid natural cave that invites you to continue towards the cavity that was once a place of worship and which still preserves intact a statue of the Buddha lying entirely built in gold.

Vientiane

In the north of Laos, however, there are also the main cities of the territory as well as essential destinations for our trip. The reason for paying due attention to these latitudes is easy to say: if you want to know what to see in Laos beyond the natural wonders described above, it is precisely from here that you have to start to enjoy all the charm of local culture and tradition. A first step, then, can only be Vientiane, it happensVientiane is a place literally submerged by monuments that fit perfectly with the surrounding landscape to transform everything into a truly timeless place beyond any attempt of imagination. Vientiane, in fact, has a substantially small urban centre, consisting mainly of a few streets along which there are shops, restaurants and various clubs that are almost never crowded because all the main attractions of the place are located in the outermost areas of the city.

One of the main historical and cultural wonders of Vientiane is undoubtedly the Pha That Luang (Great Golden Stupa), a true symbol of the capital as well as of Laos as an impressive and ancient Buddhist religious structure almost 50 meters high and entirely covered with gold. However, the other temples in the area are also marvellous: among all, Wat That LuangNeua stands out for the marvellous staircase that leads to the interiors literally covered with dazzling and colourful decorations; but also Wat That Luang Thai is not far behind: much smaller than Wat That LuangNeua but characteristic due to its white-gold colour that literally hypnotizes the gaze of visitors.

Next to Pha That Luang, moreover, is the gigantic statue of the Sleeping Buddha, built entirely of gold and a fundamental place of prayer for the local monks, but equally fascinating is the ancient Haw PhraKaew temple, wonderfully surrounded by splendid colourful gardens it is also home to a characteristic museum of religious art. The oldest temple in Vientiane, on the other hand, is that of Wat Si Saket, which houses 2000 statues of the Buddha in ceramic and silver.

But to savour all the wonderful taste of local daily life you cannot miss a passage between the main popular markets of the city. The Talat Sao Morning Market, for example, is the ideal place to really find everything from fabrics, handcrafted fabrics and jewellery. At the Khua Din Market, however, you can also find precious spices and local foods, typical fruits and medicinal herbs.

LuangPrabang

LuangPrabang, on the other hand, is the city most frequented by tourists from all over the world as it is the most westernized location in Laos due to a greater presence of clubs of all kinds that attract mainly European and American visitors. The main street (Sisavangvong), specifically, is the main point where hotels, hostels, traditional shops and restaurants that offer typical dishes of the local cuisine are grouped.

Located in the arms of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, LuangPrabang is easily visited on foot or by bicycle as it is not particularly extensive. The wonder of Mount Phou Si, easily reachable from the main streets of the city and an unmissable destination as a hilly area substantially submerged by trees and uncontaminated vegetation, contributes even more to the desire to be literally enchanted by the charm of the city, top it is possible to stop and enjoy the wonderful landscape below, surrounded by the splendor of the two side rivers.

But LuangPrabang is also unmissable because it is home to stupendous monuments, among which the former royal palace, Haw Kham stands out in particular, now transformed into a fascinating museum of local history and tradition, in which the beautiful statue of Buddha Pra Bang, originally from the 11th century.

Wat Xieng Thong (the temple of the golden city) is instead one of the best-known monasteries in all of Laos and one of its most attractive features is undoubtedly the beautiful staircase that proceeds from its structure to plunge into the waters of the Mekong River.

From a purely naturalistic point of view, however, in LuangPrabang the caves of Pak Ow are definitely not to be missed, an immense hilly expanse dense of limestone rocks which, inside them, jealously guard many statues depicting the Buddha in the presence of splendid natural waterfalls.

Southern Laos

Too often underestimated by tourists from all over the world, even the southern area of  Laos is no exception for a journey of ancient splendour and literally uncontaminated natural landscapes.

Particularly different from northern Laos in terms of natural conformation, climate and general atmosphere, the southern territories certainly deserve to be included as additional destinations for a trip that allows you not to give up the most intact charm of the daily life of the native populations who still live here among villages and city features even denser with places of worship and remote corners not to be missed to do full of emotional experiences.

Pakse

Pakse, for example, is a city that, among the many wonders of Laos, really has nothing to envy to any other place of local interest.

A real gateway to southern Laos, Pakse is practically an unmissable stop for anyone who wants to realize the wonders that populate the southern part of the country. Located in the territory where the Mekong and Xe Don rivers converge, almost on the border with Thailand, Pakse comes from a colonial past which, despite having resulted in a contemporaneity in step with the times, still maintains its historical and traditional charm intact. This is demonstrated, for example, by places such as the Big Buddha which, despite being of recent construction (dates back to 2011), assumes the shape of a complex of buildings that allows you to enjoy one of the most fascinating possible views of the entire city, managing to extend our gaze to the territories where the two rivers stand out in all their splendour.

But the temples are also splendid. Above all Wat Phabad, the oldest of the temples of this slice of the territory is the protagonist of a belief that would even host a real footprint of the Buddha, but also Wat Luang is not far behind thanks to the number of tourists that every year draws to itself from all over the world.

Champasak

Still in southern Laos, another stop to be included in our itinerary could easily be Champasak. It is easy to understand the reason for such a choice: Champasak is the main territory of Laos par excellence where the production of rice is carried out. This is because the surrounding nature is so well cared for and luxuriant that it allows perfect cultivation.

Champasak, specifically, is a real province of south-western Laos (of which Pakse is the capital) which reserves for visitors endless expanses of green in whose embrace infinite and wonderful natural landscapes unfold.

This is clearly demonstrated, for example, by the unmissable KhonePhapheng waterfall, today considered the largest and most evocative waterfall in the entire Asian continent. Rated as a kind of Niagara of Asia, KhonePhapheng reaches 12 kilometres in length and is surrounded by stunning jagged cliffs that further enhance its splendour.

Still in the province of Champasak, however, there are also archaeological areas of unequivocal charm and charm. Among all, in particular, Wat Phu stands out, the oldest temple in Laos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dating back to the 5th century as a centre of Hindu worship. The visible remains of Wat Phu allow you to admire what was once an imposing religious architectural complex that is still considered today as the cradle of local history and culture, to the point of representing a fundamental pilgrimage destination.

Savannakhet

And to top off a trip to Laos by choosing what to see also in the southern areas, the last stop can only be Savannakhet.

Often considered simply as a point of passage between the main stages of a journey to the heart of the country, Savannakhet actually reserves a whole range of indisputable natural beauties.

More than half of its territory, in fact, is entirely covered with forests that allow trekking lovers to truly find bread for their teeth. Particularly striking are the protected areas of Phou XangHae and Dong Phou Vieng, a real home also for splendid elephants, deer and Intelli.

Savannakhet, however, is also a splendid town made up of characteristic squares (especially the beautiful Talent Yaa), Catholic churches (the one of Santa Teresa is not to be missed) and museums (among which the one dedicated to dinosaurs stands out), where the colonial past coexists peacefully with a present made up of commercial activities in symbiosis with neighbouring Thailand.

When to go to Laos

Once you have selected what to see during a trip to Laos, you have to understand when it is convenient to leave to be sure to go and guarantee yourself a great holiday, that is, made up of splendid itineraries to follow, however, helped by the best possible climatic conditions.

In general, the best time to go to Laos is from November to February. These months, in fact, correspond to the dry season, a climatic condition that allows temperatures to be found generally never above 25  C on average, with peaks of 30  C almost exclusively found in February.

If you can tolerate higher temperatures (we are talking about an average that can easily touch 40  C), the months of March and April can also be useful, even if it is a period in which it is easier to find yourself in the presence of sudden afternoon thunderstorms.

From May onwards, however, temperatures begin to decrease but the rains are much more frequent, with particular intensity especially in the months of August and September.

What to buy as a souvenir

If we want to return from our trip to Laos with some nice souvenirs to keep the memory of the experience or to reserve for relatives and friends, at least one of these ideas could be for us:

Sinh: a coloured sarong with a cylindrical shape and rich in particularly fascinating embroideries; it is generally used by women together with silk blouses also for visiting temples;

traditional fabrics: in Laos, there are all kinds and for every taste, woven and hand-dyed according to the ancient local tradition dating back to the 14th century;

woven baskets: those made of bamboo are perhaps the most characteristic because they are used daily by the local population for the conservation of rice; there are infinite varieties of them at very low costs;

objects depicting Buddha: shops and markets offer many, generally almost all handmade and made with precious metals, mainly gold or silver.

Guide Laos

The fact that the city of LuangPrabang, a symbolic city of Laos, is protected by UNESCO, speaks volumes about how beautiful and characteristic this land is. Contrary to what one might think, it is not only the land of pagodas and stupas but also of breathtaking and boundless views that always leave tourists speechless. Which are still few, in fact, which makes this area of  Southeast Asia even more fascinating, because it is wild and unspoiled. The beauty of Laos is a peaceful country, where life flows slowly. The cars proceed almost at a walking pace, producing very little noise pollution, the people are kind and patient and religion is not an obsession, but a deeply rooted belief. And in a time when globalisation and its often negative effects are going crazy, what more could you want?

Passport and visa for Laos

Those who are about to leave for Laos must bring both a visa and a valid passport with them. There is no Laotian embassy in Italy. The closest one is in Paris. The tourist visa, however, can be requested at LuangPrabang or Vientiane airport: it costs 35 dollars and, to obtain it, two copies of the completed visa approval and two passport photos must be presented. But as these rules are often subject to changes, it is good to always check this information before leaving.

Laos: what to see

Not to be missed, among the many wonders that Laos has to offer its visitors, there is certainly the capital Vientiane. LuangPrabang is no less, where nature and the Buddhist spirit are the masters. The temples that characterize the area have made the fortune of this splendid city, particularly appreciated by fans of archaeology and ancient history. Anyone who has the opportunity to stay in Laos for a long time, in any case, would do well to plan a visit to the rest of this beautiful country as well. It is worth going to the north-eastern area, for example, to admire the Plain of Jars, or to the north-western one, where the melting pot and the mix of ethnic groups have given birth to wonderfully unique cities and atmospheres. A trip to the Mekong River, on whose banks have developed small villages and temples and historic buildings, is certainly worth planning.

Laos: when to go

There is no time that is better than others to visit Laos. Any period of the year, in principle, is perfect. From May to October, however, frequent rains can occur, which do not ruin the holiday but could still cause some unexpected events, especially if you have planned excursions to inaccessible areas. In the months of November and December, however, Laos is at its peak. It no longer rains, the rivers are full of water and nature grows luxuriant and uncontaminated. Even the dry season offers unmissable landscapes because the river recedes slightly and makes room for endless vegetable gardens and meadows.

How long to stay

The holiday in Laos cannot last less than four days, which will still be sufficient only and exclusively to stop in LouangPrabang and Vientiane. Having 10 or 15 days, however, you could plan a visit to Vietnam and Cambodia and tour the country far and wide.

To pack

Wear sober and discreet clothes that respect, above all, the philosophy of the Asian populations, much more traditionalist than the European ones. Therefore, avoid skimpy and too short dresses. Prefer items that cover arms, shoulders, chest and legs. If you go to Laos in the dry season, pack a windbreaker, a sweater and a pair of comfortable shoes. Also remember to bring a hat, sunglasses, medicines and passport photos in case there are special bureaucratic needs.

How to get there: flights to Laos

Laos is not directly connected to Italian airports. The quickest way to reach it is to make a stopover in Bangkok and then leave for Vientiane, where a well-equipped airport is located. From China, Cambodia and Vietnam, this Southeast Asian country is easily accessible. Those arriving by land should not have particular problems, because the border crossings between neighbouring countries are always more or less free.

Entrance-boarding fees

When entering Laos, you have to pay thirty dollars as airport taxes, while you only pay ten dollars at the exit. Make sure you have them in cash, local currency, or dollars. To be safe, always carry a few extra dollars with you.

Getting around and transport

Internal flights between the main cities of Laos are operated by Lao Aviation, the country’s national airline, which fly to Vientiane, Louangphrabang, Pakse and Savannakhet. The aircraft in use are not the best, so much so that there are no guarantees on safety in the event of adverse weather conditions. Often, before reaching their destination, they stop at another airport.

Public transport

In Laos, there is no railway network, which is why the most used means of transport is the bus. Unfortunately, however, connections are not widespread and timetables are often approximate. In addition, they are always overloaded with goods and locals. Which is not really a flaw, if you consider that getting to know the local populations is always an interesting experience.

Vehicles for hire

The most convenient solution, on the transport front, is to rent a car with a driver once you arrive on site. In Vientiane, you can choose between off-road vehicles, pickups and cars, but it is always better to contact companies first: Asia Vehicle Rental, at 21-21-217493 and Khounta Rental at 21-513127. In the main cities, alternatively, you will also find mopeds and bicycles to rent directly in the hotels. Finally, you could contact a local agency: there is Asco Laos, for example (856-21213570) which organizes trips within the area of competence. It is run by Italian people, reliable and helpful, who offer impeccable service and plan the trip in all its details.

Other means

The most suitable way for short trips is the tuk-tuk, which is also fun. These are motorbikes, bicycles or three-wheelers that have been adopted by the locals for the transport of passengers. They are cheaper and more practical than buses, which are not recommended for sightseeing. Watch out for taxis: agree on the price before the driver gets into gear, to avoid running into unpleasant surprises. As for the road network, it should be noted that not all roads in Laos are perfectly paved. However, efforts are being made to remedy slowly. Nonetheless, there are trucks and buses that let tourists aboard wherever they are, in exchange for truly derisory figures based on the length of the route. With a little luck, you might even experience the thrill of getting onboard a typical songthaew, a van equipped with plastic benches and chairs with a nylon cover that protects from the wind. It is not the best of comfort, of course, but you can make excellent friends on board.

Hotel in Laos: where to sleep

In remote and rural areas, where tourists hardly ever go there, accommodation facilities are scarce. There are various hotels, guesthouses and pensions, however, in the main cities, with price ranges for all budgets. Usually, you spend the night spending between 20 and 80 dollars at most, but there are also low-cost solutions that allow you to stay for 3 or 6 dollars in a room without a bathroom. Ten if you want the toilets all to yourself.

Laos cuisine

Laos cuisine, for better or worse, follows the Asian tradition. And therefore, plenty of rice, accompanied with vegetables, fish and meat of all kinds. Unlike the Thai one, it is not spicy, but it is still very tasty and spicy. Here and there it is possible to find some restaurateurs who follow the French tradition, offering diners pates, croissants and even warm freshly baked baguettes. Lunch and dinner are cheap: the price of a complete meal can vary, depending on the place, from 2 to 15 dollars. Try the dishes served from the stalls that are located along the busiest streets of the cities.

Behaviours

As already mentioned, those who go to Laos must strictly respect the oriental culture. No skimpy clothes, just garments that don’t leave nakedness or male and female body parts on display. In places of worship, in particular, Laotians are very strict. Always remember to take off your shoes whenever you are about to enter a pagoda, where you will never have to turn the soles of your feet towards the effigy that depicts Buddha. In general, on the streets, never be loud. You will immediately notice that the locals whisper and never make a fuss out of respect for others. In art places, resist the temptation to touch the works you are viewing firsthand. The same goes for the magnificent flowers you will come across in every corner of the territory: woe to tear them, they could reproach you. And finally, avoid affectionate attitudes. In Laos, it is not good practice for a couple to hold hands or kiss in public.

Festivals and traditions

In this country, there is always a good reason to celebrate. The popular recurrences, however, are New Year’s Eve, Labor Day, Women’s Day and Nation Day, which commemorates the victory of the Communist Party in 1975. The new year, in Laos, is greeted in April: the party lasts for three days and the final ceremony, in which everyone participates wearing traditional clothes, is seasoned with dances and songs of the popular tradition. All other recurrences are religious and occur concomitantly with the main events that characterized the life of Buddha. It is, for example, the water festival, which marks the end of the monks’ retreat, which lasted over ninety days, during which many colourful boats with candles, flowers and incense are paraded on the Mekong. In November, again, the monks gather in the monastery of That Luang, where the faithful, in turn, flock to bring offerings to the temple, march in procession and finally participate in a great fireworks display.

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