Laos last week completely reopened its borders to foreigners, paving the way for the travellers to return to this small, extraordinary South-East Asian nation.
This is a country that has long been the ideal destination for those wanting something a little different to the traditional South-East Asian experience. Gorgeous waterways wind their way through dense forests like arteries throughout, with rope swings and bars abundant on the water’s edge. Long gone are the booze and narcotic filled tubing days of the early 2010s, but a slightly toned-down tubing experience is definitely still possible, and worth it.
Adventure isn’t hard to find here. Trekking through paddy fields and jungles, zip-lining from tree to tree. It’s also a place at the intersection of a heap other Asian countries, meaning not only is it easy to go and visit those places, but there’s a patchwork of different people and cultures you’re unlikely to come across anywhere else.
As well as being a bit different to other countries in terms of experience, Laos does things a little differently in terms of food as well. Although there are some influences owed to a 60-year French occupation, Lao cuisine is much more similar to Thai, although with a greater love for sticky rice.
Saengthong Douangdara of Saeng’s Kitchen is a celebrity Lao chef who describes Lao cuisine as “aggressive…really spicy, really funky and really delicious.” Just another
Laab is the national dish of Laos, and there’s a heap of different variations of it – see below as Saeng runs us through how to make Laab Diib. We can definitely see ourselves smashing a bowl of this in a little street-side stall in Luang Prabang some time soon…