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How Laos Won My Heart in 2016

How Laos Won My Heart in 2016 | Always A Foreigner

Caren and Cazzie

Hi, We're Caren and Cazzie and we're Always A Foreigner. Welcome to our travel blog! We hope you find it useful. We love waterfalls, street eats, and anything to do with travel and adventure. We met while volunteering in India, and since then have made it our goal to travel to as many places as we can. Join us on our journey!

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How Laos Won My Heart in 2016

 

how laos won my heart

In the year of 2016, Laos was my all-time favorite place visited. Without question, my heart was stolen by this wonderful little country sandwiched between China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The reasons are endless, but Laos won my affection and captured my love. It’s one of the places that we’re both dying to spend more time in, and hoping to make it back as soon as we possibly can. Located in Southeast Asia, it sometimes gets passed by for being landlocked, but it is definitely worth a visit! Laos only opened their doors to tourism recently, which made the culture and people some of the most genuine we’ve encountered.

 

The Streets of Luang Prabang

 

I could spend hours just wandering the streets of Luang Prabang in Laos…and I did just that while I was there! Once the capital of the Laos kingdom, it fell under French control for the 19th and 20th centuries. Luang Prabang is the perfect mix of traditional Laos architecture and culture, mixed with French influence. The cobblestone streets and French colonial building facades lead into jungle monasteries and countless Wats. Hike up Mount Phou si  to find two beautiful Wats overlooking the city.

 

Night Market in Luang Prabang

Sabadee shoppers! If you want to shop until you drop, here is your place. Friendly local artisans gather here at this low-key marketplace to sell their items. Some are touristy souvenirs, but some are handcrafted beautiful pieces of art. Half the fun of the market is everyone calling out to you, but it has a much less commercialized feel to it than other night markets.

Sandwiches in Luang Prabang

The perfect sandwich is hard to beat, and until Laos I had not had a good sandwich while traveling. And this wasn’t for lack of trying! Right in the main square of Luang Prabang each day, there are many different crepe, smoothie, and sandwich stands that pop up. If you are craving a sandwich while on the road, definitely try these out. The oreo-banana smoothie is a must try too!

 

Kuang Si Waterfalls

 

Spend the whole day here if you can because you won’t be able to get enough. This was one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen. The turquoise blue waters will steal your breath away, and the cascade at the top is amazing. Definitely bring a towel and swimsuit, as swimming is permitted. Check out this post for more details.

Nong Khiaw

Not the easiest destination to get to, but one of the most peaceful. We made the 4-hour very bumpy bus ride to Nong Khiaw in hopes of limestone karsts and I would say we found them! Looking like the jaw of a giant stone animal, the karsts tower over the sleepy river below. They truly create a magnificent scene. We stayed on the river with the karsts jutting into the air around us. The sunset was magical. Hike up a karst at the entrance that originates off the main road. Don’t step off the path though as this was an area of heavy bombing throughout the Vietnam War.Laos

Laos Culture

Most likely due to the fact that Lao only recently opened its borders to tourism, the people here are some of the friendliest and most authentic that you will meet. Nong Khaiw especially had wonderful people that were full of smiles. Head over to the Karaoke restaurant (that may or may not have karaoke) for a meal from a great local man. He’s the one man show that does it all. As many places in Southeast Asia that we encountered, the restaurant is attached to his home and he cooks, takes your order, makes your drinks, and lounges watching TV all in the same place. Time moves slower in Laos, and we waited a decent amount for our food. It was delicious and traditional when it did come though, so it was all made worth it.

 

Lao-Lao Whiskey

Hold onto your hats folks, because this is some strong stuff! This is a locally made rice whiskey that is generally made by different villages for a form of revenue. It’s dirt cheap, and you can mix it with almost anything. Lemonade is my favorite, as the heat in Laos means you’ll always be looking for something refreshing.

 

 

 

 

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  • Almost the weekend! ☀️😍 What's everyone's plans? You can find us nestled somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains....hoping the cooler temperatures has made the leaves a little more colorful.
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  • Lazy days don't need to be spent inside ☀️
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We recently received our @soloeyewear sunglasses and absolutely love them! This is a stellar company that uses recycled plastic or sustainability sourced bamboo to make their sunglasses, and are also committed to restoring vision around the world through their profits. They've restored vision to 15,000+ people in need already! If you're in need of new sunglasses, I highly recommend looking at Solo Eyewear...I'm glad we did 😊
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  • We were in full leaf chasing mode this weekend, and I had all my spots planned where I wanted to go. I was pretty bummed because a road closure on the Blue Ridge Parkway on Saturday forced us to head to lower elevations where the leaves weren't as vibrant. We found an awesome campsite though, completely secluded in the woods by ourselves. We spent the day slack lining, laying in the hammock, and trying and surprisingly succeeding to light a fire with damp wood. As we packed up in the morning aiming to head back up to my original planned spots...we realized we would run out of gas 😑😑😑 Long story short, we had to head back from where we came from and to be honest, I was really upset. We came around the curve though and were greeted with these blankets of clouds over the mountains, and I instantly forgot I was ever upset at all. Sometimes, things really do turn out just fine. .
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  • When I first met Cazzie, it was in the middle of a crowded and hot room outside of Delhi, India. If you told me five years ago I was going to meet my future husband in India of all places, I would have most likely laughed and called you crazy. And yet here we are....chasing waterfalls, traveling across the world, and craziest of all, planning a wedding. I wish we could just gather up our closest loved ones, hike up a mountain, promise forever and toast the night away. Because what else do we really need? . .
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  • Cazzie always used to brag about North Carolina...always telling me it was the best state with beaches, mountains, and everything in between. I never really believed him. When I thought of North Carolina, I didn't know about the parkway, or Appalachia, or horses running wild near the ocean...I didn't know about pimento cheese, or grits, or North Carolina BBQ sauce. Now I do though. And I can't say it's the best state because I haven't been to all 50, but I can say it's pretty up there. Especially in the changing season. @visitnc .
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  • Foggy days spent exploring 🍂. .
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This last weekend we spent our time in the picturesque high country town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina. We chose to hike Grandfather Mountain on Saturday, only to find the further we hiked, the more foggy and ominous the weather became. About a 1/2 mile from the top, we realized that we had hiked smack dab into the middle of a cloud. But even with the dampness, we wouldn't have spent our day any other way. .
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