There is more than history and culture to see in the dynamic and enthralling country of Laos. As the only landlocked area in Southeast Asia, Laos is blessed with incredible views and diverse terrains, and the tropical climate creates the perfect setting in which to enjoy mountain, cave and water adventures all year round.
As well as its mountains, Laos is known for its forest and its waterfalls and you can also try the delicious local food which has Thai and Indian influences. If you are looking for a real adventure in Southeast Asia then Laos makes it possible and still feels as if you are going off the beaten track, even in the main cities like Vientiane or Luang Prabang.
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The Rocket Festival (Boun Bang Fai) is a merit-making ceremony traditionally practiced by ethnic Lao people near the beginning of the wet season in numerous villages and municipalities, in the regions of Northeastern Thailand and Laos. Celebrations typically include preliminary music and dance performances, competitive processions of floats, dancers and musicians on the second day, and culminating on the third day in competitive firings of home-made rockets. Local participants and sponsors use the occasion to enhance their social prestige, as is customary in traditional Buddhist folk festivals throughout Southeast Asia.
The festival in Thailand also includes special programs and specific local patterns like Bung Fai (Parade dance) and a Beautiful Bung Fai float such as Yasothon the third weekend of May, and continues Suwannaphum District, Roi Et on the first weekend of June, Phanom Phrai District Roi Et during the full moon of the seventh month in Lunar year's calendar each year. The Bung Fai festival is not only found in Isan or Northeasthern Thailand and North Thailand and Laos, but also in Amphoe Sukhirin, Narathiwat.
A report from Andy Jarosz from BBC Travel about his day trekking to the remote 100 waterfalls in Nong Khiaw 10 years ago (in 2012). The experience that you cannot miss when visiting the area. Check out the details as below so that you have some ideas of what to expect.
In the last four years, the rural village of Nong Khiaw has seen a steady stream of adventure travellers who want to experience the 10km trek before it disappears.
Strictly speaking, the name of the 100 Waterfalls Trek in northern Laos is misleading, since it is impossible to say how many waterfalls tumble through the thick jungle along the steady 10km ascent, with each one tumbling immediately into the next.
Laos has announced a full reopening to tourism today that allows vaccinated arrivals to enter the country without any testing requirements.
Government Spokesperson and Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Madame Thippakone Chanthavongsa, spoke during an announcement broadcast live across social media.
She said that as the number of Covid-19 cases had significantly decreased, and in order to ensure economic recovery, the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control and the government of Laos had coordinated with a number of sectors to determine new entry measures in line with the global situation.
After canvassing public opinion and consulting with experts, the Taskforce has set out the following measures for entry to Laos, effective from 9 May onward:
All international checkpoints will be open for entry and exit by Lao citizens, foreign residents, tourists, and other types of visitors.
Citizens of countries that have bilateral or unilateral visa waiver agreements with Laos may now enter Laos without the need for a visa.
Citizens of countries that do not have a visa waiver agreement with Laos may now apply for a visa at a Lao embassy or consulate abroad or via the e-Visa online system. Visa on arrivals will also be reinstated at certain international checkpoints.
Fully vaccinated foreigners or Lao citizens carrying a vaccination certificate may enter Laos without any screening or testing for Covid-19 when arriving by land, air, or water.
Non-vaccinated citizens of Laos, foreign citizens, or residents aged 12 years and over must take a Rapid Antigen Test (ATK) at least 48 hours prior to departure and present the results upon arrival.
Foreign arrivals in Laos that become infected with Covid-19 must bear responsibility for any and all medical costs involved in treatment.
Private vehicles may now enter and exit the territory of Laos via checkpoints as prior to the pandemic. Guidelines regarding this measure will be drafted and publicized by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
Madame Thippakone said that ministries and tourism departments, as well as tourism businesses, must now be fully prepared to welcome foreign tourists.
At the same time, she announced the reopening of entertainment venues and karaoke bars, however, such venues must ensure they fully comply with Covid-19 prevention measures.
Laos is preparing to commence a new phase of reopening to tourism that will require Covid-19 tests prior to departure and on arrival.
Dr. Sisavath Soutthanilaxay said during an announcement by the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control yesterday that the country is now actively preparing for a full reopening.
Under new entry regulations, which will be officially announced at a future press conference, arrivals in Laos will be required to undergo two Covid-19 tests.
According to Dr. Sisavath, tourists will be required to take an RT-PCR test 72 hours before departure, as well as an RDT (Rapid Diagnostic Test) on arrival.
“The wait time for results will depend upon the number of travelers arriving,” said Dr. Sisavath.
Those who have been infected with Covid-19 and recovered will not need to take an RT-PCR test, however, an official medical certificate will be required.
Arrivals with a negative RDT test result may enter the country freely, while those who test positive will need to quarantine at a designated quarantine hotel.
Those with serious symptoms will be hospitalized.
The news comes after Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh agreed to a full reopening of the country to tourism on Tuesday.
The PM said that he agreed “in principle” to the reopening and that relevant sectors should “draw upon lessons from neighboring countries” when drafting new regulations.
The government of Laos has officially set 13 April 2022 the first public holiday date of Lao New Year (Pi Mai).
A notice issued by Prime Minister’s Office confirms the holiday date and prohibits government offices and departments from holding Lao New Year parties in a bid to promote austerity and set an example for the wider population.
The notice states that the National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control and relevant provincial taskforces should issue coronavirus prevention measures related to celebrations in each locality.
While the country’s biggest festival was canceled in 2020, scaled-back Lao New Year celebrations were held in 2021, allowing residents to participate in the celebration with their families, at their workplaces, and at temples in accordance with Lao traditions.