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The Land of the Millions Elephant

Dec 22, 2007
Laos is a land of rivers, forests, mountains, and mists. It is slightly larger than Britain, elongated between Cambodia and China and also bordering Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Vientiane the capital city of Laos. Laos remains one of the poorest of all nations in the world. Laos was called the land of the million elephant.

The main food of Laos is sticky rice and spicy chopped meat but occasional influences of Chinese and French dishes intervene to make the cuisine often a delicious one.

One peculiar feature of Laos cuisine is that most dishes are served with a particular chilly-sauce only and include delicious side dishes like fish, chicken and beef, sometimes called waterfall beef.

The Lao capital, Vientiane, offers the most nightlife. The more busy night time places centre around the Nam Phu area. The Laotian government has set an unofficial curfew time of about 11 pm there for most clubs and bars close at about this time. Large areas of Vientiane look like a quiet 1920 suburb of Paris after a tornado or an epidemic.

Luang Phabang is probably the most interesting city in Laos. It was former the royal capital, this city is located in the upper middle of the country, by the shore of the Mekong River. Here you will find many temples and Buddhist monks.

Wat Si Sa Ket is the oldest surviving temple in Vientiane. It has a Siamese design. It features over 6,800 Buddha images which are all ritually cleansed at the time of the Lao new year. The temple was built in 1818.

Every year, Luang Prabang attracts thousands of tourists, both local and foreigners, especially during its yearly celebration called Pimai Lao or Laos New Year which is in mid April.

Pha That Luang known as the Great Stupa in Laos is a Buddhist temple in Vientiane. It was built in the 16th century on the ruins of an earlier 13th century Khmer temple, which the Lao believe was in turn built on a 3rd century Indian temple built by Buddhist missionaries from the Mauryan Empire who were sent by the Emperor Ashoka. Relics of The Buddha are said to be contained here. Pha That Luang was destroyed by the Thai invasion in the 19th century, then later restored to its original design. The architecture of the temple includes many references to Lao culture and identity, and so has become a symbol of Lao nationalism.
About the Author
Douglas Scott writes for The Car Hire Specialist. and is a free lance writer for The Laos Rental Site
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