Bun Nam is a water festival that takes place in Laos during October. Boat races and thousands of small market stalls and stages open up along the riverbanks. Landlocked and mountainous with the Mekong River flowing through it, Laos is mostly covered with untouched tropical forest and until recent years known to only the most inquisitive traveller. In Vientiane see the iconic architecture of Pha That Luang, the national symbol, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site and ancient royal capital Luang Prabang filled with monasteries and saffron-robed monks.
Alternatively, venture further west to Thailand where you can soak up the culture of the Golden Triangle. The north of Thailand is the cultural heart of the country. Intrepid explorers can head off on a hill-tribe trek in Mae Sariang and history lovers can travel back in time at Sukhothai Historical Park. Nestled into the foothills of northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is a sanctuary. The pace of life is laid-back and the landscape is picturesque.
In October the Keo Pagoda Festival takes place. The Keo Pagoda festival is held for three days, from 13th to 15th of the 9th lunar month to worship Buddhist Duong Khong Lo. On the 13th, there is a procession for the anniversary of Buddhist Duong Khong Lo, a boat race and a competition of literary recitation. In the night, there is a trumpet and drum competition. On the 14th, Khong Lo's birthday is celebrated, followed by a procession with a red and white horse pulling a carriage. The carriage is accompanied by 8 flag bearers and 42 men carrying classical Vietnamese weapons. On the 15th, games such as duck catching, rice cooking competition and firecracker hurling contests are held. From the historical Old Quarter in Hanoi to the towering limestone cliffs and traditional Vietnamese floating villages of Halong Bay there is a lot to see.
Landlocked and mountainous with the marvellous Mekong River flowing through it, Laos is mostly covered with untouched tropical forest and until recent years unknown to all but the most inquisitive traveller. Visit its capital Vientiane to see the iconic architecture of Pha That Luang, the national symbol, and then journey to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the ancient royal capital of Luang Prabang which is filled with monasteries and saffron-robed monks.
With beautiful island beaches, lush landscapes, national parks, hill tribe villages, exotic cuisine and a rich Buddhist culture, Thailand is a perfect all round destination. It offers much more than sea and sun. Bangkok offers world class shopping and sightseeing where you can shop until you drop, explore the floating market by boat, barter in local markets, visit the museums, palaces and temples and watch a Muay Thai boxing match. In the north you can elephant trek, explore the lush landscapes, go trekking, river raft, explore the night market bazaar and sample authentic cuisine in the local restaurants. The islands and southern Thailand offer fantastic island hopping, white sand beaches, snorkelling, diving, kayaking and rock climbing. An ideal place to relax after a tour or sightseeing in the cities.
A country steeped in drama and excitement from its craggy coastline to lush interior, a country that has survived wars, invasions and colonisation with grace, grit and good humour; a country which embraces the future and yet never forgets its past. It is a nation of colours, from the vivid green of the rice terraces to the white sand of the beaches and the deep turquoise of the sea which edges it. It has much to flaunt from temples and pagodas to scenery.