I visited Laos during my nearly year-long RTW (round-the-world) travels in 1996/1997. I spent about four weeks in the country around March. I had planned to spend a week in Laos, but when I was in nearby Thailand, the word going around the travelers circuit was that Laos had recently opened up wide and was the place to be. For a long time, Laos had been highly restricted with travel only allowed to a few of the bigger cities. This was a case of being in the right place in the right time, and I changed my plans and spent four weeks there instead of one. I dropped Sri Lanka from my plans as it was in the middle of a civil war and was mostly closed.

The trip started in the capital city of Vientiane, and some of the temples there.

Then I headed east to the region near Vietnam that was called the Ho Chi Minh Trail during what folks in these parts call the American War.

A fish weir.

This planter is the shell or casing from an American bomb from those years.

And a closeup of it.

A short ride on the Mekong.

Khmer Ruins in the south.

The city of Luang Prabang has the most celebrated temples and buildings in Laos.

25 km up the Mekong by boat from Luang Prabang are the Pak Ou Caves. They are tall, but not deep.

Scenery along the Mekong.

A temple in a small town tells the life story of Buddha.

Market day in Muang Sing, a "hill tribe" town in the far north, near China.

The border with China. They let you cross a little ways.

I rented a cheap bike and road around the valley that Muang Sing is in.

Among the things to see in the area are opium poppy fields.

Ripe for harvest.

A traditional village.

The road to the northern crossing into Thailand.

Looking across the Mekong into Thailand.

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