Explore the hidden network of rivers and waterfalls. Trek through two of South East Asia’s last great, protected forests, Dong Ampham and Xe Pian. Much of this great natural land is untouched and pristine, home to hundreds of rare species of birds and animals.
Visit the Ho Chi Minh Trail and see the remnants of a Russian surface-to-air missile and cluster bombs. Visit remote ethnic villages, survivors of the massive American bombing during the war. A proliferation of unexploded ordnance (UXO) still remains so travel with local guides is essential.
Spend time with the local ethnic tribes including the Talieng, Ta Oy, Alak and Lavae peoples. Visit their villages to see traditional ways of life that have existed, unchanged, for hundreds of years. Witness the creation of their unique and diverse artefacts, such as the Talieng peoples’ weaving, bamboo baskets, bows and arrows and jewellery, and the ancient art of pottery making. Explore the animism and shamanism rituals of the Ta Oy, the woodworking of the Lavae, and the exquisite sihn (traditional Lao skirt) weaving of the matriarchal Alak peoples.
Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)
In the east of Laos along the border with Vietnam, significant numbers of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) – bombs, artillery and mortar shells that did not explode – remain in Laos forty years after the end of the last Indochina war and continue to pose a threat to peoples’ lives and livelihoods. Areas frequently visited by tourists have been cleared of UXO, but it is always a good idea to be careful when in rural areas or when trekking and always trek with a local guide.
Stay on streets or paths, do not pick up, kick or in any other way move metal or shiny items you see lying on a path or in the forest, and if you are suspicious that it might be a UXO, inform a local official, to help prevent accidents or deaths. It is best to check locally on the UXO situation in the area you are visiting.