Source: Vientiane Time
UK’s travel magazine Wanderlust has ranked Laos and the Mekong River sixth in the 20 best places it advises people to visit this January.
Laos was listed behind Norway, Malé, Los Angeles, Slovenia and Barbados, which all got special mention at www.wanderlust.co.uk.
The ranking should be a huge fillip to Laos’ tourism industry after the government reopened the country to foreign visitors in May this year following two years of closure during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The website says January tends to be the time when people plan and book trips and there are serious pros to travelling during the first month of the year.
In Laos, November to March is the dry season when the weather tends to be cooler and there is almost no rain. This makes it a good time to travel around the country and experience its stunning landscapes and cultural traditions.
The website recommended visitors to explore the charms of Vientiane and wander the streets of Luang Prabang, where there are over 33 temples to see, an extensive night market to browse, and Mount Phou Si to climb.
There are also river cruises on the Mekong to the south, but normally the temperature in the south is a bit higher than in the north, except for Pakxong district in Champassak province where the weather is usually cooler and there is more rainfall.
Tourism operators have been gearing up for the return of visitors in large numbers.
The Director of My Dream Butique Resort and Spain Luang Prabang province, Mr Somneuk Bounsa said more and more people are now coming to Luang Prabang since the full reopening of Laos to foreign visitors.
“The Luang Prabang Hotel and Restaurant Association is working to improve services while some businesses are offering special promotions to attract more visitors,” he added.
Most visitors to Laos come from neighbouring Thailand but it is hoped that the publicity gained through Wanderlust’s website will inspire more people from further afield to experience Laos’ attractions.
Laos has much to offer visitors, with a large number of ethnic groups and colourful traditions, as well as being rich in scenic beauty and historical associations.
As of 2018, there were 670 hotels, 2,432 guesthouses and resorts, 2,646 restaurants and 305 entertainment venues, according to the Tourism Development Department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
There are numerous officially-designated tourist attractions including 1,318 nature-based sites, 596 places of cultural interest, and 294 places of historical significance.