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Southeast Asia Travel News

The Southeast Asia Travel Specialists Since 1999

Probably the most frequently asked question in respect to this part of Southeast Asia is ‘when’s the best time to visit Laos’. In our opinion, there’s no simple answer so read on for a brief overview of Laos weather and a few of the pros and cons of travel at different times of the year. The landlocked, mountainous Southeast Asian…

A new online, Lao E-Visa system is now in place and valid for entry at the following immigration points: Wattay International Airport Vientiane, Luang Prabang International Airport, Pakse International Airport and land crossings at the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge Vientiane and the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge II Savannakhet. (Note it is not available at the Friendship Bridge IV which connects Thailand’s Chiang…

March, being the dry season, might not be the ideal time of year for Lao waterfalls but come May and June when the rains start they’ll be filling out, flowing fast and back to their lushest best so here’s a small selection of waterfall photos taken at sites included on our Mekong Adventure, Lao tour itinerary, beginning with the famous…

Hill-tribes in Southeast Asia. You’ll have me across the term ‘hill-tribe’ in many of our Southeast Asia tour pages, or indeed those of most other operators running tours in the region, or for that matter in most of the relevant guidebooks you’ll find, and refers to the minority ethnic groups inhabiting the mountainous areas of northern Thailand,  Laos, Vietnam, Burma…

A brief country-by-country rundown of Southeast Asia’s various UNESCO Sites beginning, for no particular reason, with the list of Laos World Heritage sites. Well, it is an easy one to start with since the small, land-locked and sparsely populated nation has the grand total of 2 sites. Having said that a scan through the UNESCO list, (which does seem somewhat…

Well, mostly a Laos recommended reading list since we can’t find many movies set in Laos, half-decent or otherwise, and haven’t come across too many good documentaries either. There are numerous books on Lao history, the majority of which fall into either the 19th-century French explorers’ accounts or the Vietnam/Indochina war period categories. Studies of early history in Southeast Asia…

Now you will usually see adjectives such as mysterious or enigmatic preceding the name the Plain of Jars, Laos, with the reason being – since a stone jar in itself is not so mysterious –  that archaeologists can’t agree on their date or even their actual purpose so….enigmatic! The stone jars – up to 2m tall and carved out of…

The term Tai describes the broad ethnic group (the Tai-Kadai linguistic family) which includes the Thai (Siamese), Lao, Shan, Northern Thai, Thai Lu, Red Tai, White Tai etc who occupy a wide band of Asia from the Assam region of India, through southern China, Burma’s Shan States, Laos, Northern Vietnam and of course Thailand itself. We touched on the migration…

Continuing westwards from the Flower Hmong of Ha Giang and Black Hmong of Lao Cai we reach Lai Chau Province and its colourful Red Hmong sub-group. Their villages are quite widely spread across the northern and central parts of the province, being replaced to the south and west by Tai and Lao sub groups.  Occasional White Hmong villages can be…

The Black Hmong sub group of Northern Vietnam are particularly well known due to Sapa’s place on the well-trodden tourist trail. Although the town itself is actually inhabited by Vietnamese traders and cafe and hotel staff Sapa is totally swamped on most days by Hmong from the surrounding villages. You’ll also come across the distinctively dressed Red Dzao, the more…

Below, a photo fo a  Flower Hmong girl taken at Bac Ha’s Sunday Market. Don’t intend to be patronising – these guys have as much right to a cellphone as anyone – but it does look incongruous next to their centuries-old traditional costumes! The ‘Flower Hmong’ or ‘Variegated Hmong’ is one of the numerous sub groups of the Hmong ethnic…